The streets leading up to San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel were brimming with thousands of people on Saturday morning, as fans of exotic cars gathered to watch the flag off of the 10th Annual Gumball 3000 Rally.
They were certainly not disappointed, as over 120 cars ranging from Ferraris to Corvettes and even a 1965 Ford F 250 pickup truck, stood ready to leave for first leg of the 3,000 mile, eight-day journey that will span across two continents.
While some cars were adorned with the normal rally sponsorships, others were specially 'dressed' up for the occassion. These included a Ford Pickup wrapped in sparkling bronze candy paint and lowered all the way to the ground and a Corvette Z06 that was painted to resemble a San Francisco Yellow Cab. It looked so authentic that the bellman at the Fairmont tried to flag it down for guests. Also present, was the KIIT car, which was the star of a Television show in the 1980's called Knight Rider. It was being driven by non other than Hollywood star David Hasselhoff, who also starred in the show. For those of you too young to know him in the 1980's - he is one of judges in 'America's Got Talent'
Unlike most other car rallies, the route of the Gumball 3000 Rally changes every year. This year's route spans the West Coast and includes Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas. About half of the cars and drivers will end their rally here, while the rest will fly to Pyongyang (North Korea) along with their cars. Once there, they will resume driving going through Shanghai and to their final destination - the Beijing Olympics.
The first Gumball 3000 Rally held in 1999, was organized by British creator Maxmillian Cooper, as a party for 50 of his closest friends. Ten years later, the event has become extremely popular amongst both the participants and car buffs all over the world. While the rally is open to anybody, with an entrance fee of 120,000 USD, it is not for the faint of heart or wallet! However, there is no charge to drool over and admire the cars and their famous drivers - which include Hollywood stars, famous athletes, musicians and successful businessmen.
Sources: SFGate.com CarZi.com