The 2016 Gold Rush Rally Zooms Through Boston This Month

See how the other half lives.

gold rush rally 2016 boston

This Mercedes-Benz SLS is just one of Ben Chen’s supercars. / Photograph by Jason Thorgalsen

On May 13, the bleak concrete veldt of City Hall Plaza will bloom into a dazzling carbon-fiber garden featuring roughly 80 of today’s most exotic supercars, revving up for the start of the 2016 Gold Rush Rally. Lamborghinis and Ferraris are mere table stakes for this event, which will include such rarities as Bugatti Veyrons and even the fire-breathing $2.3 million Aston Martin Vulcan.

The next day, the golden horde will hit the road for Los Angeles, with stops in DC, Charlotte, Nashville, Colorado Springs, Salt Lake City, and Vegas. Participants—under names like Team Cock Block and Team Champagne Showers—pay  $19,000 per team to drive hundreds of miles each day.

Originally created for the forum members of the website Luxury4Play, Gold Rush is the brainchild of  L.A.-based gearhead Ben Chen, a Massachusetts native (and BU grad) who maintains ties to his hometown as part owner of local restaurants Cafeteria Boston and Committee, as well as downtown hot spot Bijou.

A rally regular since age 21, Chen’s automotive obsession started when he got his first BMW in high school. These days, he and his Gold Rush crew are driven to craft a rally experience unlike any other: “We know where the best roads are,” he says. “This year is the first time we’re going through Tail of the Dragon”—a stretch of Appalachian mountain road well known in the car community.

Even though a rally is not a race (event rules require observance of all speed limits), participants can still find ways to get into trouble—Chen himself earned some Internet notoriety for crashing his McLaren Spider in 2013. But Chen stresses that safety is top of mind for Gold Rush: Each car requires a two-person team (driver and copilot) “because of the stress,” he says. “And the fact that we do have parties every other night.”

As the first Gold Rush to include a New England stop, 2016’s eighth annual event already holds a special place in Chen’s heart: “This year means so much to me. Boston is my hometown,” Chen says. “All of my cars still have Massachusetts plates.”