Ever since seeing the 1985 film “Back to the Future” when I was young, I’ve had a deep love for cars. Watching that stainless steel, gull-winged ‘80s icon blast Marty McFly back in time was thrilling for my 5-year-old self. It still is. I loved the design, the speed, the sound, the way the manual transmission shifted, all of it.

Like so many other young kids, I too had Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari 360 Modena book fair posters plastered on my bedroom walls. From the time I had my Car and Driver subscription when I was 12, I would pore over the pages, reading and rereading the articles. 

More than 20 years and as many cars later (yes, that’s true!), it’s safe to say my car passion burns as hot as it ever has.

I had the great pleasure of attending one of the biggest supercar owner events in the state: Need 2 Drive Utah 2021 Summer Splash. My childhood dreams lay before my eyes, and thanks to the generosity and meticulous planning of Ismael Utrilla (aka @porschedriver801) and Need 2 Drive Utah, I had the time of my life (cue the theme song from another classic ‘80s movie)!  

An Event Like No Other

While I dream of someday owning an Acura NSX, I experienced a bit of “imposter syndrome” showing up to this “by invitation only/supercars only” event in my fun (but definitely not exotic) Subaru BRZ (see similar BRZ listings here). That anxiousness was short-lived, however. We could not have been treated better, by Ish Utrilla, Cory Chapman, Johnny Lange, Tom and Amy Buckley (Lamborghini of Salt Lake City owners), and others. We felt like a part of their family. 

To attempt to describe the treasure trove of supercars at the Need 2 Drive Utah event is an overwhelming task. Was that a 2005 Ford GT? Why, yes, it was. Is that a Porsche 911 GT3? A Lamborghini Aventador SVJ? A Diablo? Are those Huracáns and Gallarados and Murciélagos .. (oh my!)? Yes indeed. And don’t miss the McLarens, Vipers, Corvettes and other exotics. 

Parked before us was a striking tribute to some of the best performing cars in the world. Here they were, at a single house, in our (relatively) small state of Utah.

Some Favorites

Taking it all in, there were more than a few times my wife and I found ourselves standing, sometimes for several minutes at a time, in quiet observation of a car’s design. Some of our favorites were:

  • Best all-around: Porsche 911 GT3. I’m a sucker for Porsches. Since bombing around the Nürburgring in 2012, I still can’t get their flat-six scream out of my head. Engineering marvels, these sumptuously sculpted GT3s are some of the most capable and beautiful cars I’ve seen in action. Click here for all Porsche 911 listings on KSL Cars. 

  • Most exotic: Lamborghini Murciélago Roadster. Producing nearly double the number of Diablos, Lamborghini has the Murciélago and its crazy V12 with gated six-speed manual transmission to thank, in part, for its exponential worldwide sales growth since 2010. This Roadster, finished in red over a tan interior, was particularly striking. View all Lamborghini listings on KSL Cars. 

  • Best daily driver: BMW M4. As I stated earlier, I love vehicles capable of competing with the “big boys,” without being one of the “big boys.” This one, finished in Yas Marina Blue Metallic, is something I would drive every day. Oh, and it’s for sale! Click here for the KSL Cars listing. 

  • Nicest surprise: Lotus Evora. You don’t see too many Lotuses, so when you see an Evora, it’s an especially big day. Small, light and analog, the Lotus Evora represents the last of a dying breed. As a bonus, it has a tiny backseat, which makes it about as practical as my BRZ (which isn’t saying much). Browse all Lotus listings on KSL Cars.
  • Best classic: Ford GT. If you’ve seen “Ford v Ferrari” you’ll recognize this car instantly. While not the original GT40 seen in the movie, Ford produced a fairly close re-creation of the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans winner from 2005-2006. With a burly V10 in the back, a manual transmission and almost no safety features, the first-generation Ford GT is already a modern classic. 
  • Most underrated: Lexus LC 500. I know what you’re thinking. And yes, I will contend that one of the most beautiful and enjoyable cars on the road today is the Lexus LC 500. Striking in its appearance, this thing means business as soon as you start it up. I asked its owner, Johnny Lange, “Is this the stock exhaust?” He responded, “It sure is.” Amazing. With a leather-wrapped interior, a powerful and exotic-sounding V8, and driving dynamics that will please country club cruisers and track hounds alike, the LC 500 is an awesome, yet underrated car. Click here for all Lexus LC 500 listings. 
  • Punching above its weight: C8 Corvette. If you haven’t seen one of the new Corvettes in person yet, you’re in for a treat. With the C8 generation, the engine has now moved to the mid-section, and the manual transmission is gone. While some might cry “blasphemy!” Chevrolet has created one of the best performing, most striking Corvettes ever produced. I thought it looked as good as many of the cars there that were twice or three times as much money. I loved it.

The Best Part

Better than the cars were the people we met. Brought together by a shared passion, everyone is a part of the family — all there to build and encourage each other. 

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of the members of the Utah car enthusiast community. Tom Buckley, Ismael Utrilla, Cory Chapman, Nick “The Burlacher,” James “The Stradman,” Johnny Lange, Trevor Hoyt, Tyrell Johnson, and others have all left a lasting impression on me. They are all kind and humble people. Passionate about cars, living good lives, and making a difference, I value their friendship and examples.

I echo Ismael’s sentiments regarding the Utah car community when he said the following in an article previously published by KSL.com: “At the end of the day, the cars are great, but it's the people along the way that makes it special. I am grateful to them, not only for opening their houses and garages to me but for their friendship." I couldn’t agree more. 

While not a supercar owner (yet), I felt inspired, humbled and motivated to be better and do better by attending the Need 2 Drive Utah event. 

It All Started With a Dream

One of my favorite things to do as a freelance writer for KSL Cars is to interview other enthusiasts about their history with cars, and many say something similar: that their supercar ownership started with a dream while they were young. Ishmael and the Need 2 Drive Utah group know this and are all about igniting and supporting those dreams, no matter the age. 

Cars have influenced my life in many ways, and I am grateful for what the experiences they and the car community offer. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. 

Many thanks to Need 2 Drive Utah for continuing to inspire this kid’s, and many others, dreams. 

About the author: Having owned everything from a DeLorean to an E46 M3 to a Toyota Land Cruiser, Jason Bell is a lifelong car enthusiast who loves sharing his passions as a teacher, writer, speaker and social media manager. Contact him at cinnanekbell@gmail.com for comments, questions or just to say “hi.”