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Gumball 3000 Stops Through Reno: When Did I Get Old?

Bradley Brownell May 28, 2015 Car Shows 26 Comments


Yeah, I’m one of those #millenials that people talk about all day on the news or whatever. I grew up watching Seinfeld and FRIENDS, I listened to what my parents listened to (mostly Billy Joel), and I went to college to get a degree that’s mostly meaningless. I’m still young, so I should be out partying and raising hell with my friends, right? So why the heck did I find the Gumball 3000 event in Reno, NV last night to be tedious as heck and completely pointless? Oh well, let’s get into it. Click the jump for more ranting and raving.

So I like to think of myself as relatively ‘plugged in’ to the car community. So why did I not find out that the Gumball 3000 was coming through my home town until only a handful of hours before they came through? Who knows. Anyway, I made up an excuse to cut out of work 15 minutes early so I could have a good vantage point for their arrival. Do I particularly care about stuff like this? Not really, but I was promised a trio of Porsche 918 Spyders, a McLaren P1, and of course Jon Olssen’s weird Audi RS6 Avant DTM, so I guessed it would be worth stopping down for. If I didn’t know anything about it, how many people could there possibly be showing up to see them? In the words of Bilbo Baggins, “I have never been so wrong in all my life”.

I drove downtown and parked by the river, dutifully paying two bucks for two hours, figuring that would be plenty of time, and walked down to the infamous Reno Arch a few blocks away. I rounded the corner, and there were already a couple thousand people waiting. Oh boy. I found a spot that was unobstructed to take a few cell phone snaps for you folks to enjoy. This spot happened to be next to a gaggle of flat-biller morons, and I’ve compiled a list of fascinating *overheard* quotes at the bottom of this post for you to also enjoy.

So at about 5PM, I was cuddled up with the crowd waiting for the ‘awesome’ to arrive. All of the websites and news outlets had mentioned a 5PM arrival, so I thought I’d be in and out with a few snaps and home in time for supper. While we waited, apparently all of Reno decided it was a good idea to drive up and down the street showing off their hoopties, donks, buzz boxes, tuners, and hot rods. One particular egomaniac pulled up to the curb in his small-block 1972 Camaro (Camero), got out, popped the hood, and stood back waiting for the compliments to shower over him. What a town I live in.



The police finally cleared the main drag and blocked it off at about 6. The first of the Gumballers rolled into the newly blocked street at about quarter to seven. I was ready to get gone, for sure. Once they all got pulled in and stopped, some people got out of their rides, and others stayed in. They were only around for about 20 minutes before heading for San Francisco, so that’s understandable. At that point, the crowd lining the streets converged on the line of cars and mobbed around trying to get autographs and handshakes and #Selfies.

I didn’t really recognize any of the people, except Deadmau5, Tommy Lee, and David Hasselhoff, so I’ll mostly focus on the cars.

1. Deadmau5’s McLaren P1


Joel Zimmerman’s McLaren was the first car on the scene. I’d never seen a P1 in the flesh, so it was kinda neat. Joel and his passenger, Tommy Lee, sure make for a motley crew.


Deadmau5 of “Purrari” fame around these parts has never been one to shy away from a good joke, and I really enjoyed his stupidly meme-licious vanity license plate.11350438_10100267604876589_5036722727906480428_n

The guy was absolutely MOBBED by the crowd. I’d honestly never heard any of his music, so I thought I would listen to a song or two while writing this article. Nope, never doing that again…

2.  Deadmau5’s McLaren 650S


A nice young woman was driving this car. I have no idea who she is. Don’t particularly care, if I’m honest. I guess if you’re going to be in Reno (with a final destination of Las Vegas) with a pair of McLarens, a hearts livery on one and a spades livery on the other might not be a terrible idea.

3. Someone’s Porsche 918 Spyder

Excuse me, Gumball, I believe I was promised a “trio” of 918 Spyders, not just one. What the heck?


Regardless, I’d not yet seen a 918 Spyder in real life, so it was pretty neat to get that opportunity. It’s a little smaller than I expected, and it’s got some oddness to its proportions, but damn if it wasn’t a beauty.


4. David Hasselhoff’s Dodge Challenger?

If you’re going to go on one of these events, why do you bring just a Challenger? No offense to Dodge, but c’mon! This wasn’t even a Hellcat.


The Hoff was one of those guys that didn’t get out of his car. I’m guessing he thought himself too much of a superstar and would get mobbed by the plebeians. In a town like Reno, though, that might be true.

5. Everything else.


Meh. 11377273_10100267604342659_5722244311673120609_n

Another G wagen being used for non-G-wagen activities. Ugh.


Couldn’t even be bothered to trade in the MP4-12C for a 650S before this thing? Guh, what kind of wealthy person are you? Don’t you know you live in a disposable society?


Generally I like the looks of a Bentley Continental. Never been a fan of the drophead, however. The lines just don’t work.11224861_10100267605151039_3784444499775887687_n

The SLR McLaren seems to get cooler with every passing year. I hated them when they were new, but now I find myself more drawn to them.


RC-F? Yeah, okay, I guess.11109556_10100267604432479_2763796706912558334_n

I think the GT-R was being driven by some kind of extreme sports man. I’m not sure which one. Tony Hawk was supposed to be in the entourage, but I didn’t see him. I don’t think this was him.





6. Jon Olsson’s Audi RS6 Avant DTM

IT WASN’T THERE. This car was one of the primary reasons I went to this dumb thing. Why wasn’t it there? Anybody know?


Ugh. So damn sexy.

In conclusion, if I were a mega wealthy person, I certainly would not be on this trip. It sounds exhausting. Who likes going to clubs and spending all of their money?

So, now that you’ve stuck around this long, here’s those overheard quotes I mentioned from the flatbiller morons. I was really conflicted on correcting them, or engaging them in accurate discussion to fix their misconceptions, because it was obvious that they were genuinely enthusiastic about cars, but they were being inconsiderate dillweeds smoking like chimneys upwind of dozens of people, spitting all over the sidewalk, and cussing like sailors with relatively young children nearby. I guess I’ll let them continue to stir in their own ignorant circle.

Overheard: “That’s why I want a Ess Too Kay so bad. I wanna get into time attack. Straight line is all about money, but circuit stuff is all about driver, bro.”

Overheard: “Mercedes makes this 6 wheel Sprinter that’s like a million dollars, and it can drive over like everything, bro.”

Overheard: “The new ZR1 has 707 horsepower. I think the new Z06 is coming out next year with like 800 or something.”

Overheard: “Bro you never herda roadkill? They had all three Hellcats, a charger, a challenger, and a viper. And they drifted them.” (This one had me SO CLOSE to wanting to correct them.)

Overheard: “Is DEADMAU5 coming through here with his head on… IN A DROP TOP MCLAREN?”

Overheard: “Bro, legit, CTS-V wagon the fastest car I ever drove. For real. Like 300 horsepower, like 180 miles an hour.”

All photos (except Jon Olsson’s RS6) ©2015 Hooniverse/Bradley C. Brownell, All Rights Reserved.

  • The Rusty Hub
    • The Rusty Hub

      “Bro, my friend’s dad just got a BRO-One for, like, autocross. He hit like 120 mph on the launch or something crazy.” #BRO1Facts

  • So, quite a high douchebag quota, then?

    • Bradley Brownell

      I’m not sure if that’s the fault of the event or of Reno.

      Could be both.

      • I blame whoever let them run vehicles that cost more than $500.

  • engineerd

    In that group, the Challenger is entirely too proletarian.

    • Bradley Brownell

      So I’m not the only one…

      There was also a Charger…

      • Jeff Glucker

        A few journalists were invited to drive the classic Camaros, which seems kind of cool since they started with them in Europe… but yeah, still… Gumball.

        I think the one of these to actually attend is Rally America (is that what it’s called?). They raise money for charity and I’ve yet to hear a bad thing about it.

        Also, One Lap seems like it could be fun, thanks to the track bits.

        • Bradley Brownell

          Rally North America is what you’re thinking of.

          Rally America is like a club-racing level national series version of WRC.

          One Lap would be rad as hell. I get the feeling there is a lot less douchebaggery there.

  • So, Gumball 3000 is…what?
    As far as I can tell from not watching the event very closely, it seems to be like this: rich guys drive around at mostly legal speeds when the cops know where they are, in between scheduled public red-carpet cash-flaunting stops, but blast around like crazy causing tragic accidents when nobody’s looking.
    Is this anywhere close?

    • Bradley Brownell

      Yeah, mostly.

  • Jeff Glucker

    There are actually a handful of folks who don’t fit the stereotype that still run in these. They’re obscured by the glittering masses though, of course. They do it for the travel, they make some friends who share their passion, and they enjoy driving their cars around the world.

    Now… I only know one actual person who does this, and he’s a nice older gentleman. He used his Ferrari 458 during this particular Gumball. He’s run in the last few I believe, and he has some interesting stories. Still, he shies away from glitzy BS part. (even if it’s the majority of the group)

    • Bradley Brownell

      The crowd it attracts was pretty repugnant. If I were the gentlemanly type that did it for the travel, I’d probably just skip going to these types of ‘meetings with the unwashed masses’.

      If I hadn’t paid for the parking garage I probably would have left by 5:30 without seeing any cars…

  • I’m not sure that this looks like a fun event to do… While I’d love to hang out with David Hasselhoff and ask him all sorts of questions about TV shows he wasn’t in (yeah, I’m that guy), and it would be fun to tease “Deadmaufive”, the flat cappers would make it tedious.

    I raced at a LeMons event in Reno once, it’s a lovely part of the country once you get outside of Reno.

    • I eloped to Reno with a LeMons teammate once. So far, so good.

    • Bradley Brownell

      I live here, and I genuinely love it. Reno is a great city, but we’ve still got a pretty seedy underbelly…

    • Bradley Brownell

      Also, Fernley is a shithole.

      Also also, There’s beauty everywhere around here. I’m less than an hour from Tahoe. It’s awesome.

      • I used to be friends with an older couple who live in Minden and put on a Euro/Classic bike show for many years. So I spent a weekend somewhere around the Tahoe/Carson City/Minden area one weekend a year back in the ’90s. Really like the area.

  • The black 918 Spyder is owned by somebody who has a large Instagram presence (millennial jargon be damned) @itswhitenoise. They were recently at the Targa Trophy 4th Annual German Car Festival at HRE Wheels here in San Diego. They have done multiple cross country treks in the 918 as well as their Carrera GT.

    • bv911

      I think she’s from Speedhunters, too tired to actually Google it myself…!

  • JayP

    Some random Sunday 10 years or so ago I was called to work. Headed north on 35E I see a Ferrari coming up behind at about 130 per. I move over and 4 cars blast by like I’m tied to a stump. I slam the Mustang (2001 Bullitt) into 3rd and chase. I hit 120 in no time and I had to give way to a 911 Turbo to pass. I stuck with them cruising 130 to 121 which was my exit.

    That f’n rocked. I ran with Gumball.

    • Cameron Vanderhorst

      Props for owning an ’01 Bullitt. Simply the best-looking New Edge Mustang.

  • wunno sev

    for all i complain about post-Murcielago Lamborghini losing all its Lamborghinosity, that Ooh-Rah-Khan looks dope compared to all these other nerdmobiles. maybe Lamborghini still knows how to party.

    i’d still take a countach over anything they make now, though, fires be damned. when my countach is blowing ten-foot flames out of the engine bay, i’m going to be in the driver’s seat, denial fully set in, resolutely staring ahead and putting my foot down as far as it can go.

  • Sjalabais

    Here’s the coverage of the state broadcaster when the Gumball 3000 was in Oslo just five days ago:

    There’s really nothing here that I find attractive, weather included. Conspicious consumption made more conspicious? Blah.

  • Krautwursten

    The last I’ve heard about Gumball was that German police required them to cross the country on a set route in groups of eight with a police escort at no more than 130 kph (80 mph) even on unrestricted sections. If that’s true the whole thing has basically become a farce. I can have more fun than that on any day of the year just by getting on the Autobahn and putting my foot down.

  • Just Some A-hole

    You had me at, “flatbiller morons,” brah. Thanks! LOL