Cars & Coffee events take place in select cities all across the USA and are a great informal gathering of classic cars, free of charge. We took the opportunity to sample the exquisite blend of C8H18 and C8H10N4O2 and found the experience to be surprisingly similar to stepping into a wormhole to 1959.
Stepping into a Schwarzschild wormhole wouldn't be a pleasant experience as the forces involved would kill you instantly, so we'd like to propose the Sci-Fi version as seen in all manner of Star Trek and Stargate cinema. The first and obvious reason for the time warp feeling is the cars. All manner of classic steel can be seen in the Mazda parking lot near the 405/5 interchange in Irvine, CA, but last weekend was especially cool as the featured marque was Jaguar.
Even a new Jaguar looks 50 years old - but the owners are even older, which brings us to our next reason C&C is like the 1950s. In direct contrast to the much ballyhooed demise of the white male, this Cars and Coffee gathering was predominately a grey-haired pale-skinned dude event. It is probably related to the ass-crack of dawn timing fitting into the older folks' schedules better (not trying to be ageist - just stating some common observations) and a general state of the classic Jaguar owner demographics (again, no offense meant to any half-Korean 22 year old E-type owners.)
We did see some women, but they were nothing like the ladies who gather at Fast & Furious Tokyo drift meets, and they tended to be wives of the previously mentioned Jag owners, their mistresses were probably still asleep (no offense meant to the mistresses, but they probably need their beauty sleep).
Before you think that the Irvine Cars and Coffee is some kind of closet KKK meeting, we want to point out that the only 3Ks involved were the turbochargers on a fair number of Japanese imports whose owners vaguely fit the post-racial profile of the Fast and Furious. The cars they came in also fit the wormhole theory because they were mostly vintage '70s JDM stuff complete with shoshinsha stickers and right hand drive.
You can find newer cars if you want, but somehow the throbbing V8 from a 1971 Boss 351 (thanks to Jalopnik reader Birddog the correction from our original erroneous identification of this as a 72 Mach 1) draws a bigger crowd than the group of clean looking E36 M3s.
Many owners open their hoods so you can scope the vintage engines; this Ford 390 cubic inch V8 was located in the front of a 1968 Mustang fastback and was clean enough to eat off the top...if you are into that kind of thing.
The inline 6 inside the bonnet of this XK140MC fixed head coupe was similarly clean and it would have put out 210 horsepower in 1954. The owner had just gotten this car running that day for the first time in 8 years.
We like clean original interiors, and the inside of this Mercedes Benz 300SE W112 cabriolet looks like it was made from the skin of several George Hamilton impersonators.
The Cars & Coffee events start and end surprisingly early, officially from 7am to 9am. They happen each Saturday morning, rain or shine and any vacation to the SoCal area should include a stopover.
Update (3/1/2013 10 AM PST) This post was featured on Jalopnik.com via kinja! Thanks to Travis Okulski for sharing on the main page.
Know of another event that a gear head shouldn't miss? email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org