UPDATE: This story has been updated to include images from the Gold Rush Rally on Friday.
Gold Rush Rally founder Ben Chen describes the event as a “rolling party with over 200 of your friends’’ and “summer camp for adults.’’
The Gold Rush Rally is now in its eighth year and Chen is excited to bring the “rolling party’’ he helped start to his college town of Boston.
The event is a week-long cross-country adventure for auto buffs and exotic car collectors. This year, the rally kicks off from Boston’s City Hall Plaza.
“For someone from Boston who grew up here, I wanted to bring [the Gold Rush Rally] to the community, and not just to the automotive community,’’ Chen told Boston.com in a phone call.
On Friday afternoon, around 80 exotic supercars will be parked on Boston’s City Hall Plaza.
The vehicular lineup includes rare supercars like Bugattis, McLarens, Aston Martins, Lamborghinis and Mercedes-Benzes. All told, about $40 million worth of cars will be parked at Boston City Hall on Friday.
Several cars will be painted like superheroes for the Taylor Lynn Foundation, a nonprofit that offers “microgrants’’ for children in need. Superhero-themed cars expected to be at the show include Captain America, Spider-Man, Superman, the Hulk and Deadpool.
Gold Rush Rally cars took over Boston City Hall on Friday.
After showing off in Boston, the rally will depart for Washington, D.C. After that, the itinerary takes the motorcade to Charlotte, North Carolina and wraps up on May 21 in Los Angeles with several stops in other major cities in between.
Participating in an event with such expensive machinery comes with a hefty price tag of $20,000 that includes stays at five-star hotels and access to events and exclusive parties during each night of the rally. But participants must pay for their own gas.
Chen went to high school in New Hampshire before attending Boston University. After his graduation from BU, he became an entrepreneur and played a role in founding Tidal New York footwear. He is also a part owner of Bijou Nightclub and the Seaport-based restaurant Committee.
This year he was determined to bring the starting point of the Gold Rush Rally to Boston’s City Hall in order to share the lifestyle event with the rest of the community.
“We wanted to make this is the best start we’ve ever had and to give back to Bostonians,’’ he said. “That’s why we were adamant and insistent on securing City Hall. It’s open to the public a whole day before we officially depart.’’
But while many of these cars are capable of reaching top speeds of over 200 mph, Chen points out that participants are expected to obey all local speed limits during the trip.
“It’s a rally, it’s not a race,’’ said Chen. “There’s no award for first place. It’s about the journey.’’
He has reason to be concerned about the safety of the rally participants and any surrounding bystanders. In 2013, he crashed a McLaren Spider when he was cut off by a large truck in Texas and lost control of the supercar.
Fortunately for him, he and his passenger emerged from the collision unharmed. No one else was involved in the crash. But he says the experience opened his eyes about staying safe during the rally.
“It made me become more aware of my surroundings and what could happen,’’ he said. “We have to learn to be respectful of roadways and other people sharing it with us.’’