What would you do if you were around some of the greatest automobiles ever made?
There are many layers of automotive enthusiasm. At the top of the mountain are automobiles that are perceived as dream machines. These machines contain a complex combination of horsepower, technology, engineering, craftsmanship and elegance. They are the kind of automobiles that will draw attention, even when its owner would rather not want it.
Yet, these machines are very special – to its owners and anyone witnessing their approach. Seeing is believing, true. What about touching it, feeling it…and experiencing it?
For a fortunate few, the greatest automobiles in the world happen to belong to them. These are owners that care about fine machinery. Though there is pride in ownership of these great automobiles, there is also a lifestyle that goes along with it. When you are at the top of the automotive food chain, you live as you are expected to do to fulfill the rewards that come with exotic car ownership.
But, what if you never experienced an exotic car? What if you wanted to sit inside and simply feel it, even when it is not in motion? What does it feel like when it on the road.
To many, there are several experiences available to do exactly that. You could fly to a race track and take in an "exotic car experience" where for several hundreds of dollars, you could either pilot or be driven in one of these great machines around a track under controlled conditions. There is a professional driver and/or instructor on board to guide you through the experience – all part of the cost.
There is an alternative for less money. If you live in the Twin Cities, or are visiting the area, for $100 you can ride shotgun in one of these great machines.
It is a huge risk for an owner to be able to provide the driving to a person, but one of the co-founders of MN Exotics & Supercars, Justin Hillard, explains that "[w]e have some restrictions which can be found on our website and we do have a screening process for our own safety."
There is more that you need to know. Here is the rest of V&R's conversation with Hillard…
V&R: Explain to the audience what MN E&S is all about.
Hillard: MNE&S is a virtual place for owners of the implied caliber of vehicle to meet other owners, and get together periodically to drive, have dinner, and attend event. Swen and I got together, saw a gap in the car community, or carmunity as you so often refer, and decide to make a place to unify the owners, where everyone could enjoy themsleves.
V&R: The word "lifestyle" comes up pertaining to exotic/supercar ownership. What is your interpretation of the lifestyle for an owner of such a car?
Hillard: I think, generally speaking, that the public has a set idea of what that lifestyle should entail, and some of it is completely true. I guess the best way to describe the lifestyle that actually lived by most MNE&S members would be enjoy life in the ways that make you happy. We all understand that time is the most valuable commodity (you’ll never have more) and try to find the most enjoyment possible for each of our differing lifestyles. The one all encompassing trait for the members is the passion about the vehicles.
V&R: How do you demystify exotic/supercar ownership? What are the realities of ownership and responsibility to owning one of the fine machines?
Hillard: At the end of the day, its a vehicle, things will break, and expensive to fix, but the experience is like nothing else. Owning one, you have to pay attention to road conditions (traffic, construction, pothole, parking situation, ect), and sometimes you have to find creative ways to get to your destination. I think all of us feel a responsibility to our vehicles and to the public in the sense that we add our own personality to the car without destroying its appeal.
V&R: How did the Ride Along idea came about?
Hillard: The Ride Along idea came from people, outside of our friends and family, inquiring about riding in the vehicles.
V&R: What exactly happens in a Ride Along?
Hillard: We set and auction system up so individuals can bid on the open seat. Once the individual has won the auction for the specified date, we send them an email with a time and location for the event. At the event, we make introductions, and usually talk about vehicles prior to starting. The event usually consists of 15-30 vehicles all driving on a predetermined route and ending at differing locations. We then coordinate transportation for the individual back to the start location to pick up their vehicle.
V&R: Where do the proceeds of the Ride Alongs go to?
Hillard: We do have associated cost with running the Ride Alongs, but we pick a charity throughout the year and donate the proceeds.
To find out more about MN E&S and to bid on a future Ride Along here in the Twin Cities, log onto their website at MNE&S.com.