By on April 15, 2014

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You don’t have to be interested in coffee to appreciate Cars and Coffee. You don’t even have to be that interested in cars. But if you haven’t attended one, you are missing one of the great grassroots events this grand land of ours has to offer. It is an unfettered melting pot of every gearhead facet of interest and a decidedly pleasant experience you can enjoy with the entire family.

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During my recent years out of the country this was the event I missed more than any other. I pined for it more than track days, autocross and LeMons. The beauty of Cars and Coffee is the variation of the enthusiasts that attend and the non-competitive nature of the event. It is just folks talking about their cars and other people’s cars. There are exotics, classics, off roaders, drifters and racers. You will see works in progress, back yard hot rods, billet fans, bikes and lowriders.

The original started in Irvine California as a group of folks with cool cars just started getting together back in 2005. That earliest gathering has grown to a regulated event with over 500 cars at each hosting.

But more importantly, it was the seed that has spread nationwide. Google Cars and Coffee, usually the local one will pop up on the first page, or search for Cars and Coffee and your hometown on Facebook. Sometimes, its Coffee and Cars.

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I discovered the Oklahoma City version in 2011. It was close to my house, at a Starbucks located at the end of a retail center. In my absence, it grew too large for that space and has relocated to an older mall a few miles away. No coffee, but sometimes an enterprising youth organization will show up with Krispy Kremes as a fundraiser.

The OKC Cars and Coffee is the first Sunday of every month from 8 AM until 10. This month it was the 6th and as luck would have it, it was the first nice Sunday of the year. It was pretty packed.

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The new rumor is that the mall will soon ask us to go somewhere else.

That’s a shame, because a food truck is missing a golden opportunity. A few breakfast burritos and coffee that doesn’t suck and you’ll carry out some serious cash. The previous location would have the line at Starbucks out the door. I am sure their manager is missing that level of business once a month.

Earlier this year, I got to take my 7-year old nephew. His favorite was of course a yellow “Bumblebee” Camaro. It’s not uncommon to folks with their dogs. As I said, it’s a family event.

This is a great event, the variations of the attendees is fantastic. The early event timing does wonders to keep out the idiots, and the atmosphere is friendly. It’s almost always free. So as the weather starts to thaw, look for your local coffee and cars, get up early one weekend, grab the family and just enjoy some cars.

Enjoying the coffee is optional.

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49 Comments on “Coffee and Cars, or Cars and Coffee...”


  • avatar

    Never been to one of these locally (Tampa) as I’ve heard rumors its populated by the DuPont Registry crowd. Anyone care to tell me I’m an idiot so i can persuade myself to go?

    Also, I don’t have a real cool car to show up in. It’ll either be my Uncle Buck ’76 LeSabre or whatever I’m driving as a demo.

    • 0 avatar
      cdnsfan27

      All kinds of folk at Reeves Motorsports on N Florida the first Saturday of evry month from 7-9 AM. See you there.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      The one at Ferrari in Palm Harbor is pretty cool too, not as big as Reeves but a much more reasonable 8:30am atart time. But any car event in Florida will have it’s share of rich poseurs, thats how the money works here. Can’t let that stop you.

      I haven’t been to Reeves or Dupont because they start at 7am and its like an hour drive for me, not likely to happen on Saturday morning. Why don’t they start at 9 or so?? In Florida the dew doesn’t even stop until then, at 7am you are in full on mist mode and your car gets filthy!

      Oh and a 76 LeSabre will likely get you more attention than anything brand new. Old school cool!

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I’ve heard of this, and thought of going….

    But honestly, I figured it’s going to be populated by a bunch of douche bags with new cars they’ve bought to show off. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong, I just find a lot of “car enthusiast” to be obnoxious. I use to belong to a classic car club before I moved out the area I grew up in. I was always the youngest by about 20 years. Most of those old guys were pretty cool; many built their cars themselves, but were pretty level headed. It was more about something to do, and not who had the coolest/fastest/loudest/most expensive vehicle.

    I’d get around the newer cars at certain shows,I don’t know, it’s a different attitude. Especially when you get to the people with the more expensive stuff that rolled off the show room floor.

    But maybe I’m all wrong; I guess I won’t know until I go. Guess I should look it up, polish up the 79′ Chevy, and give it a try.

    EDIT: So I checked out the local website after I posted this. Looks like pictures of a bunch of Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghini’s, BMW’s, etc…… Yeah, I’ll probably pass. I mean, if that’s somebody thing then fine for them; but it’s not mine. I rather talk about tools than dealer waiting ship times.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      Actually having attended the original in CA … its a great bunch of folks … congenial for the most part … automotive celebrities like Freeman Thomas all over the place .. who are completely approachable [ especially with FT if you’re a classic Porsche fan/owner ] … and usually nary a Douche Bag / Capt. Attitude to be found . The Attitudinal exotic/classic car owners not ‘ lowering ‘ themselves to attend such events seeing as theres no ropes protecting their precious treasures . Their loss . Our gain .

      e.g. GO !

      • 0 avatar
        AMC_CJ

        “Cars & Coffee Richmond is the largest informal car show in Richmond, VA and was called the “Best Place to Show Off Your Ride” by Style Weekly (Richmond magazine). Spawning off of the many other Cars & Coffee’s held through out the world, C&CR started in July 2011. We started at the Starbucks on Huguenot Road by the University of Richmond, with only about 15 to 20 car enthusiasts. Today, C&CR continuously has on average 110 cars on show and has gathered 135+ cars from various classes of cars that include but not limited to some of the most exotic cars in the world like the McLaren MP4-12C, Porsche GT, Ferrari Scuderia, and Lamborghini’s flagship, the Aventador. We are starting to see more great classics but not as often as we would like. Cars & Coffee Richmond is open to all types of motor vehicles from motorcyles to trucks and even track cars. Thanks for the continued support! ”

        Seems like a bunch of expensive bought stuff…. but you know, it’s not that far from me at the moment and we’re moving across the area soon. They’d like to see more classics? Well, I guess I’ll bring mine and check it out.

        • 0 avatar
          Syke

          I’ll trumpet the “definitely worth going to”, and its not all expensive hypercars. At the last one, I showed up in my Solstice (license plate ‘Rndhead’) and my fiance’ Maggie was there in her mildly riced ’06 Kia Spectra. Always a decent turnout from the tuner crowd, a good smattering of vintage (and with the warmer weather more will be showing up), there’s a regular contingent of Holden GTO’s, Porsches in abundance, and not all 911’s.

          My real love is that, while they’re there, all the common stuff you see at every car show and cruise-in are usually outnumbered by the more interesting stuff.

          Biggest complaint I’ve got is that I work on Saturdays, and have to be out of there by 0830 to get the Honda shop ready to open.

          It’s every other Saturday, at the entrance to Innsbrook, Cox Road and West Broad Street. Next one is this Saturday morning.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          The Richmond C&C is the only VA C&C I haven’t been to that’s near the coast.

          I’ve done the Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Newport News, and Katie’s (NoVa C&C) with Katie’s being the biggest I’ve been to. The Newport News C&C is the smallest.

          I’m local to Newport News but I typically do the VA Beach C&C the most since that’s where me fellow Mustangers tend to go.

          In Newport News the local Hardees actually see’s a bigger turnout Saturday night but I suspect that’s because Hardees is populated by old school hot rodders more than not and I don’t think they entirely get the C&C scene which is a shame because the Newport News C&C would be great with the blend of cars it would bring.

          • 0 avatar
            AMC_CJ

            I’m from Newport News. I use to go to the Cruise-In at the Yorktown Harley Davidson dealership back in high school and college. The club I was in were the ones that put it on.

            Last few times I went down there it seems like the scene had kind of dried up. We caught a ride in my friend’s 70′ Nova SS clone and drove down to the show at Hardee’s, actually only a few miles from where I grew up.

            Back in the day I’ve seen over a 150 cars show up at the Yorktown show. When I moved to Richmond, I never really found anything like it. Richmond seemed to have a lot smaller shows scattered all about the area. The Chick-fil-a at Virginia Center Commons has a decent show Friday nights, and you get a free sandwich if you bring a old car to show. Was doing that last summer if I made it off work in time.

            If I don’t go into work Saturday I think I’ll dust off the 79′ and head out to the C&C.

    • 0 avatar
      scuzimi

      Wow, seems you are the douche bag here.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      So it kinda sounds like you are the one being snobby about it more than them. I have said it before and I will say it again, as an “enthusiast” I like all kinds of cars… new, old, perfectly restored, beat up drivers, race cars, drifters, even lowriders and donks. Well, ok I really don’t care for donks, but I can at least appreciate the owner’s enthusiasm :). Obviously there are going to be more new car owner enthusiasts than old car owners, and the coolness of a C&C is that everyone can get together and just talk cars without any BS pretense or requirements.

      • 0 avatar
        AMC_CJ

        Keep in mind, I graduated high school in 04′ right inthe middle of the F&F “River” fad. My love of old cars was greatly mocked, my old Chevy shunned, and crappy little Civics and Mitsubishi’s ruled the parking lot.

        Those “enthusiast” actually caused a lot of problems, in my area at least, for the rest of us car lovers and our shows, cruises, etc. So sorry if I’m a bit jaded.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Don’t feel bad, you got the last laugh. The FnF crowd has mostly moved up to big boy cars or given up on the fad altogether. Their rags have largely disappeared from the magazine racks too.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Nowadays I see just as many “riced” Jettas and Golfs as Civics and Nissans…

            My favorite is the Mark IV Jetta with chrome 90s Corvette C4 wheels. Because that makes sense.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            @ NoGoYo, no doubt suffering from the stupid “stanced” look. C4 directional Corvette wheels seem to be a favorite of this crowd, often shod with 215/45R17’s.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            This one has those idiotically too small tires that the stance crowd seems to love and that I hate, too.

            Anything that completely ruins a car is not cool to me. Hence why lowrider = good and donk = bad.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          haha wow really?? I would have guessed you were closer to 58 than 28. :) You are too young to be so jaded. But still, what do the ricers from the old F&F crowd have to do with high dollar bought stuff? At least most of those guys built their own. But I do see now why you were the youngest by 20+ yrs in the classic car clubs. He!! I am prob 20 yrs younger than most of those guys and I have 15 yrs on you.

          So go and check it out, even if your area has a high DB quota, chances are good you will find a group within the group that thinks a lot like you do. More and more people like the older cars these days. Like @Danio said, the F&F crowd has mostly grown out of it now. Even in the movies they mostly all drive cool old classic cars now.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      The nice thing about the C&C crowd is that it’s very self-regulating. The douche exotic guys stick to themselves, and typically only show up for 2-3 events before they realize no body wants to talk to them about their cars.

      I’ve seen literally everything – there was a guy with a nice custom Peterbuilt at the last one I went to – and if it looks like someone is a dick, you just don’t talk to them. Having said that, sometimes I wish there was a bit more of a barrier to entry – nice factory stock Mustang, glad you have the wallet and no creativity :P

      • 0 avatar
        hoff02

        ellomdian – I like the idea of the open atmosphere at the C&C, but wanted to at least point out about the jibe (which I do agree with in general!). I have a bone stock 2011 Mustang GT, but truly its not a lack of creativity holding it back. For me its my DD and aside from the CS package I went with from the factory – I’m really just hanging on to the warranty. In a few years, once I have another DD and can dote a little more, hopefully that will change. I guess what I’m getting at is that a guy with a bone stock ride doesn’t necessarily make him less of an enthusiast or even uncreative – it may just be the compromise of owning that car. I’ll have to check out my local C&C sometime!

        • 0 avatar
          ellomdian

          The jibe was more at the factory-hot-rod crowd than the DD guys – I tend to spew just as much bile at the lifted trucks with spotless, polished undercarriages.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    I wish we’d get these here in Denver . Brilliant concept , Great cars . The coffee usually aint half bad …and benefitting worthy charities to boot . A winner on all counts

  • avatar
    sproc

    I’ve been to similar informal events and they can really be a lot of fun, especially because they have very different vibes from organized car shows.

    Sadly, it sounds like the OKC iteration will be a victim of its own success. Hope they find another location soon.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    There’s one of these in La Canada , Ca. at the UA Theatre by the intersection of the I-210 and 2 freeways , early Saturday mornings , all manner of oldies and a very few newer rides , as mentioned if you go early there won’t be douchebags , this one breaks up by noon .

    If you don’t go , don’t complain and you’ll be surprised at how many will enjoy seeing your unrestored 197? American Land Barge or crappy ’63 Nova with primer spots .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    7402

    I’m a big fan and a regular. People are right to complain that there is a dearth of car-guys among young folks, but it is Cars & Coffee that will save car enthusiasts.

    I don’t take my classic to “real” car shows because they make participants register and then if you win you get your name on the internet. Totally not worth it. Cars & Coffee is anonymous. There is NO judging, neither officially nor unofficially. You can see a banged-up ricer/drifter parked between a 1960’s muscle car and a 1930s Packard phaeton. There may be a lovingly cared-for vintage Ferrari putting the new ones to shame; a blown and slammed rat-rod between a Lotus 7 and a brand new Aventador. Where else will you see a perfectly restored Stanley Steamer next to a Porsche RS America that was tracked the previous weekend? When you stop to admire the paint on that ’66 GTO, the owner can tell you how much time he put into wet sanding each coat. Want to compare a Fisker Karma to a Tesla S? Your best bet is a Cars & Coffee where you will find them scattered among 1960s Mercedes-Benzes and tri-five Chevrolets.

    Many of these events are sponsored by a coffee-shop or restaurant. Typically they run from 7-9am so the parking lot can be cleared by the time the other stores open at 9-10am Saturday morning.

    If you haven’t been to a Cars & Coffee, go. And remember to support the coffee shop that is sponsoring it.

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    I go to the Irvine C&C. Been going since I owned a 2004 MINI Cooper. Now I own an 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth. There is a wide selection of cars to view. From VW’s transporters, hot rods to exotics. I’ve only once in awhile run across douche bags as another poster suggest, this without him ever gone to one?

    Lately the Irvine C&C has tried to make some changes and it’s a bit douche baggy, at least that how I see it. The last time I went (2013) a group of folks were trying to limit the parking to “nicer more exotic” cars. I was handed a pamphlet suggesting the “better cars” were being pushed out to the overflow parking. So…! Tell them to get their asses up like I do and show up by 6am. I have to drive 1 hour to get there.

    I talked with Ferrari owners and other exotic owners and they think this sucks also.

    As far as Mr Douche Bag goes… Never had a high end owner talk down to me but have had more than a few “American Steel” owners, generally Camero owners, make fun to my Fiat by calling it a Fleat ( flea + fiat ).

    I’m heading there on May 3rd with a new enthusiast and I’m hoping the new BS about “better cars” has vanished.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    My avatar is a picture of my Infiniti G37 at a Cars and Coffee in Williamsburg, VA in 2011. I’ve always had a great time at Cars and Coffee and I’ve always been pleased with the type of crowd that turns out.

    It’s especially a great event when guys who are down to earth bring out their exotics and classics. Believe it or not, not everyone who’s well off is a snob. Cars and Coffee proved that to me quite a few times. All in all, I love going and if I were still in the USA, I’d still be going.

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    I want to attend one of those, ideally the Irvine one, when I finally get to go to the US. For now, I’m trying to start the tradition here in Czech Republic – with a lot less cars, for the time being:

    http://www.autickar.cz/clanek/prvni-letosni-kafe-a-kary-za-nami-pristi-27-4-opet-pred-roadcafe/

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I like the cars but find all these car things to be Giant Gathering of the Well-off Douche-bags type of events. But I do know a guy who can buy millon dollar cars and he’s the most normal down to earth person who likes cars I’ve ever met. He’d sooner cut off his arm than show off a car.

    • 0 avatar
      scuzimi

      Maybe go to one then see if you are making douche bag comments about something you never have experienced or if you had fun as most do? As far as your friend who rather cut off whatever, that’s his right but too bad he can’t share his love for his cars and others.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Dan Neil roams around the Raleigh, NC event on occasion. It really isn’t snobby at all, and you do get to see some really interesting stuff, from Model Ts to GT-Rs. The problem, like with Oklahoma City, is eventually they become so popular that the mall owners get nervous about liability. Since there are almost no stores open at that time of day (other than the odd Starbucks) the revenue impact is close to zero. Then a few knuckleheads feel like peeling out as they leave the event and next thing you know, the mall owner bans Cars and Coffee. It’s already happened three time here, which is a shame.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    Supposedly there is a C&C in Boston, hosted at the Lars Anderson Automotive Museum, but the website is very out of date and the FB page isn’t much better. Anyone in the Boston area have info on this? Wanted to make it a point to attend a few this summer.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      All of the Larz Anderson events are excellent, and I strongly recommend becoming a member if you aren’t already. Amazon Local often has deals on memberships which make it a no-brainer. All lawn events are free with membership, most are $20 without. C&C is always free.

      I try to attend most of the outdoor shows during the summer, but it’s easy for me to do so. I haven’t been to a cars and coffee yet, but only because it’s very difficult to get me out of the house before 8A on Saturdays.

      Sidebar at left contains up-to-date links to lawn events and C&Cs: http://larzanderson.org/events/lawn-events/

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I really liked the Larz Anderson Museum when I was in Boston a few years ago. The Ralph Lauren Car Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston was better, but it was only there 3 months or so.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        The museum proper has an interesting rotation of exhibits, but it’s small. The outdoor events are the real draw and what make the membership such a value. Tutto Italiano, for example, is a massive event, with 60+ acres packed tight with gorgeous cars.

        If you live anywhere nearby and enjoy this sort of thing, it’s the best $30 you can spend.

    • 0 avatar
      Charles T

      There’s one this Saturday, and I’m going there in my 1973 Saab 96. The website is up to date now so you can use it to make your plans for the summer.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    That looks like Northpark Mall, which should happy to be getting any attention at all these days.

    And this is awesome. I have spotted that white Fairlady with the “NO GRIP” license plate out and about. I’ll have to attend the next one.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, its actually pretty cool and powered by an LS I believe

      • 0 avatar
        ktm

        I routinely go to the one in Irvine and bring my LS1 powered 240z. I also get attention.

        What’s nice about the Irvine show is OEM’s routinely show up with prototypes, one-offs, etc.

        Nissan brought their IDX concept cars one weekend, GM their fuel cell vehicle, Hennesy brought their ZL1 powered Camaro before their released it to the public…….

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    The “Nashville” version in Franklin has one every Saturday morning but the first Saturday of the month is Exotic Car Saturday.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I’ve been to the one in Houston and liked it. Just that I don’t like getting up that early in the morning to make the trip, which is far from my house. Guess I’m one of those idiots it’s trying to keep away.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    “The previous location would have the line at Starbucks out the door. I am sure their manager is missing that level of business once a month.”

    I’m not so sure. A once a month surge will irritate your regular customers who show up every day unless they’re the kind who are compensated by a serandipitous car show.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      8-10 on Saturday doesn’t seem to be prime Starbucks business time and locally at the Hardees I mentioned in a post above the local hot rod scene that gathers in the evening was such a boon to business they opted to pave the parking lot to accommodate the impromptu car show that occurs ever Saturday there.

      Conversely years ago when the local hot spot was in a place called Heritage Square and started around 8 pm and lasted until 12 or 1 in the morning it had the only McDonalds I knew of at the time that stayed open past 10 pm.

      Then Food Lion moved into Heritage Square, demanded as part of its agreement that the car show be shut down rather heavy handedly (police harassing people with the slightest provocation to ultimately the owners of the property hiring rent-a-cops to take video and file trespassing charges on people who showed up again). The McDonalds shut down shortly there after and only to have Food Lion leave a few years later.

  • avatar
    George B

    I like the variety at the Dallas area Cars and Coffee event. Exotics, hot rods, luxury cars, muscle cars, pickup trucks, low riders, Japanese tuner, military vehicles, an occasional Donk, and once a Lemons race car. Pretty sure every car was driven there because I don’t remember any trailers nearby. My girlfriend likes Cars and Coffee and the crowd has a high percentage of women for a car event. Lots of families with children too.

    http://dallas.carsandcoffee.info/


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