Cars & Coffee: Two ingredients to start off your SoCal weekend just rightSun, 09 Jan 2011
Cars & Coffee is not yet on the FDA's list of the four basic food groups--but it really should be.
It started out as a word-of-mouth gathering of eclectic and cool cars at a spot called Crystal Cove just south of Newport Beach, Calif., but it quickly outgrew that home.
“Some of the guys got together, just a spontaneous gathering of, ‘Well, let's bring our cool cars,' ” said Pebble Beach judge, Ferrari collector and well-loved Ford PR guy John Clinard, one of, if not the main driver behind the event. “It grew and grew to where the Irvine Company that owned that property said, ‘You have to find another spot.' So in October of 2006 we invited everybody to migrate here [the current location, a parking lot adjacent to and then-home of Ford's Premier Automotive Group]. The first day we had over 300 cars. Today we had over 550 cars.”
The gathering is as strong as ever, as witnessed by our visit on Saturday. It was Ferrari day, more or less, and so there was a broad and beautiful mix of Ferraris you wouldn't see outside of Pebble Beach, an FCA meet or Maranello. Several cars on their way to the auction blocks in Scottsdale made appearances, including what was said to be the 24th Ferrari ever made, parked among Lussos, Dinos, Superamericas and even an F430.
As you walked further across the parking lot between the former PAG (now Taco Bell) building and Mazda HQ, there was a row of Porsche 911s and 356s, some GT40s, muscle cars and a couple rat rods. There was a Deutsch-Bonnet, a massive Lincoln Town Car, an Avanti, a Royal Bobcat Pontiac and a bunch of cool motorcycles.
“We tell people this is for cars you don't see the other six days of the week, quite simply,” Clinard said. “Unusual cars, old and new.”
“Cars and Coffee is a gathering of people in the area bringing in everything they have,” said retired CALTY frontman and Art Center prof Dave Hackett, who lives so close that he “has to come.”
“Just a range of everything from the exotics to the hot rods to the motorcycles. Everything comes here.”
“It's tremendous,” said designer Freeman Thomas, another great C&C enthusiast, who has brought concept cars from his various employers over the years. “It's incredible. You see the rat rods, you see the BMW guys, the Porsche guys, the Ford guys, and everybody just seems to survive together really well.”
“Like-minded people often get together here for a couple hours, and it's a great thing to do,” said Dan Gurney, another local.
Cars & Coffee takes place every Saturday between 7 and 9 a.m. on Gateway between Alton Parkway and Irvine Center Drive. Check out www.carsandcoffee.com. There you can read about other groups around the country with the same name and the same intent, which meet with varying degrees of regularity. If you're in Southern California on a weekend and you can get up that early, it's well worth the drive.
By Mark Vaughn