- Laura Eurich
- The Dodge Dart with LEDs and a dramatic new wrap.
These days, his 1999 Honda dons the Red Bull logo. But in the last few years it’s had at least three distinct looks with different colors and striking graphics. Though the car sits race-ready, he drives it regularly and has a car seat set up to tote his 4-year-old son around in it.
People know Esplana for his car, and for the car meets he helps coordinate through the Facebook group 719 Street Scene. The meets happen on Fridays and Saturdays at varying locations around the Springs — Esplana posts the location the afternoon of the meet, usually around 6 p.m., and by 9 p.m., the cars are gathering.
The meets typically happen in empty parking lots, though 719 Street Scene hosts parking garage meets a couple times a year too. Esplana says those meets are intense and it can take the cars a few hours to get into, and out of, the garages. A few months back, I was driving on Nevada Avenue when I suddenly felt like I was on the set for the next Fast and Furious film. Fancy cars were coming from all directions, descending on the city garage at the corner of Nevada and Colorado avenues. It wasn’t until I talked to Esplana that I realized I’d happened upon one of the garage meets.
The cars that come to these gatherings don’t have to be ready for their close-up. Esplana says all cars are welcome. Though as I pulled up to the parking lot at Monterey Road and Circle Drive on a recent Friday night, I parked my mom wheels as far away from the heart of the action as possible. (Later when I left, cars had lined up next to mine — and my 10-year-old, desert sage Lexus RX350 looked a bit cooler than it ever had before.)
Walking up and down the rows, plenty of the cars are easy to identify as pet projects. The paint jobs, the lights and the wheels all reflect the hours and dollars invested in enhancements. But many of the cars there could be parked next to you at the grocery store and you’d have no idea how badass they really are.
As the cars fill the lot, they organize by club, shop or by model. The vehicles’ owners were friendly and happy to answer questions — even though most of my questions were more statements like “that’s so cool.”
My favorite car that night was a Dodge Dart (words that I never thought I would say) that two weeks prior was Barbie pink, but this night was just out of the shop and wrapped in an iridescent black. The colors were mesmerizing and accented by LED lights underneath. The car’s owner said she has had it since she was in high school (which wasn’t that long ago) and showed me how she controls the lights from an app on her phone.
A few cars over I was surprised to see a Mustang covered in mud. Couldn’t he clean his car before showing up? Except the mud was a badge of honor — it came from off-roading up at Rainbow Falls in Teller County.
Esplana arrives at the meets early and leaves late. He wants the group to be welcomed back to these lots (he networks to make sure they are allowed as guests before he announces a meet), so he sticks around and picks up trash. Esplana says the rules are: “No booze, no weed, no revving, no burnouts.” And with each announcement of a meet, he reminds people to respect the spot.
Though it’s been a few decades since he was in high school, he says this is like being back there, when you see your friends regularly. Thanks to the meets, he also meets new people every weekend.
“The camaraderie we have is great,” he says. “It’s a reunion we have every weekend.”