The Best Cars & Coffee Ever?
The Original

Five or six years ago, if you were to mention the name ‘Cars & Coffee’ most people would assume you were talking about the weekly Saturday morning gathering in Irvine, California. Today there are similar morning car meets held not just in cities across the United States, but even in places like Tokyo.

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If you look at the concept behind early morning weekend car meets, it’s not hard to see why they’ve become so popular. Not only do they allow automobile fans to gather in a casual environment, more importantly they bring a diversity of both cars and people that you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

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And while I think it’s fantastic that the idea of Cars & Coffee has expanded far beyond its Southern California roots, I’m not sure if it’s possible to beat the original.

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For about two hours every Saturday morning, the parking lot at the Mazda/Ford offices in Irvine becomes nothing less than one of the world’s greatest and most diverse car shows. Even though I’ve been lucky enough to attend C&C on a semi-regular basis over the years, the scope of this meet has never ceased to blow my mind.

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This is something I was reminded of this past Saturday when I dropped by during a busy weekend of Speedhunting in the Los Angeles area. My trip to LA also included the Nissan Jam car show, and a behind-the-scenes look at the Petersen Auto Museum which you can expect to see soon.

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In a way, Cars & Coffee is a like attending a live show from your favorite band. You know you’ll have a good time, but there’s always some mystery. You’re always anxious to see which songs will be on the setlist. Will they play your favorite song? Will they dig up a rarity from the past? Will you hear the debut of a new tune?

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Going to C&C is the same way. Will your favorite car show up this week? What sort of obscure vehicles will pop up? Will you get your first glimpse at a badass new machine?

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And just like there’s really no such thing as a bad concert from your favorite band, there’s no such thing as a bad Cars & Coffee event. The only thing that varies is the degree of greatness.

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But of all the times I visited C&C, I’m not sure if there’s been a single showing as good as the one that happened this past Saturday. It really was one for the ages.

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This edition of Cars & Coffee Irvine truly had everything. There was incredible variety, rare classic machinery, some of the greatest supercars ever and even an appearance by the year’s most talked-about concept car.

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The people that were at Saturday’s meet will surely be telling their grandchildren that they were at the legendary June 14, 2014, Cars & Coffee. Alright, maybe they won’t go far – but I’m sure you get the picture…

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Every week, there will usually be one or two ‘star’ cars that have crowds milling around them all morning. Last weekend’s event included a whole handful of these crowd-stopping dream machines.

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In the hypercar department, there was both a Ferrari Enzo and a McLaren P1 on hand – and needless to say both of them were surrounded by people for the entire duration of the event.

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Sitting just a few feet from those two was a car that could have been plucked directly from the green at Pebble Beach.

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This is the Alfa Romeo Superflow IV Pininfarina Coupe – a coach-built concept car, which did in fact win its class at Pebble Beach last year. Aside from prestigious Concours events, Cars & Coffee is surely one of the only places where you’ll have an opportunity to get up close with cars like this.

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If rare competition cars are your thing, then this rally-spec Lancia Delta Integrale in Group A trim should tick all the right boxes. There aren’t many of these suckers on American shores.

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I’m not sure which is rarer in the US – the aforementioned Lancia or this Alpine? Such is the magic of Cars & Coffee.

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But the great thing about Cars & Coffee is that it’s not just about the expensive and exclusive side of car culture. For every Ferrari or classic Porsche there was something like a fixed up Subaru BRZ or modified VW Golf to appease the masses.

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Japanese cars are always represented well at C&C, but last weekend’s event seemed to have an especially strong showing of both modern and classic JDM machinery.

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Here’s a rather mad looking R35 GT-R which is one of the latest stateside cars to wear Liberty Walk’s wide body conversion.

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And from the days when the GT-R was a strange forbidden machine to us Yanks, we’ve got this R33 sitting on a set of period Nismo wheels for that great ’90s look.

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Of course, Cars & Coffee wouldn’t be itself without also having some thumping domestic machinery – like this Trans Am-inspired Ford Falcon.

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Yes, I’d like nothing more than to hop into one of those low-back bucket seats and bang some gears. Who’s with me?

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How’s this for something different? It’s a Studebaker with a couple of big snails under the hood.

Art On Wheels
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Hey look! It’s not only a Harlequin edition Golf, but one that’s been built with a sort of street-going rally vibe. Talk about adding some color to the mix.

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If Jaguar E-Type street cars are beautiful, then lightweight race models like this example are positively stunning. Fat tires forever!

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Another competition-spec Jag in all of its stripped-down glory.

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This car was one of a few which were immortalized by a local artist that’s been coming to C&C every week and painting full color pictures of cars right there on the spot.

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It was fascinating to see not only his talent, but the quickness with which he worked.

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Here’s the completed picture of the Jag, which couldn’t have taken him more than 10 or 15 minutes to to finish. Wow.

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Sometimes it’s the simplest things that we enjoy the most. One of my favorite cars on Saturday was this modest little Alfa.

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De-bumpered, roll bar, RS Watanabes with sticky tires – this is perfection.

Enter The FT-1
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All that and I haven’t even got to the absolute standout vehicle of the meet. After making my way through the giant crowd around this mystery vehicle, I was amazed to find out that it was nothing other than Toyota’s FT-1 Concept.

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Cars & Coffee has become such an established meeting spot for car enthusiasts that manufacturers regularly bring out concepts and prototypes to judge the audience reaction.

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The crowd at C&C is completely different from the one you’ll find at big auto shows, so it’s clear that Toyota is really aiming for the hearts of enthusiasts with this one. They were even letting people sit in it.

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This was my first chance to see the FT-1 in person, and I have to say that it’s simply stunning.

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There seemed to be many others sharing in my excitement too, and long after most of the parking lot had emptied, the FT-1 was still surrounded with inquisitive spectators. Production for this car absolutely needs to happen.

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So there you have it. Just another Saturday morning in Orange County…

For those who were there, or even those who just went through the coverage, what do you think? Is this the best single day at Cars & Coffee ever? Don’t forget to check out the bonus images for more evidence for my argument.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike

More Cars & Coffee coverage on Speedhunters

Cutting Room Floor
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WHAT?! I've been to four or five, maybe six Irvine C&C and I haven't seen that good of a mix. And your claim, that has to be the best Cars and Coffee ever, and there's no Cars and Coffee that will ever come close to Irvine. We have a few different ones here in Michigan, and I honestly can't walk through them without comparing everything to this one. Although we do have one here that's like a scaled down version of this, but this one is king.

And on a side note, I think you're my favorite Speedhunter. Everyone here is awesome, but everything I really like, you always seem to cover or something comes up on your Instagram.


Mike, awesome pics! I was there as well. I just might agree with you on it being the best CnC ever. It literally had a little bit of everything. 

That Lancia Delta Integrale is what made this Speedhunter stop dead in his tracks. I've seen most of those cars before but never a Martini-livery clad Integrale.


That Alfa is perfect! Along with that 3.0 in the first pic.  Lots of greatness here; uber jealous


More of the 904!


OMG that Falcon!


Wow. I can't even begin to start with this, there's just so many awesome cars.


I think it's more than fair to call this one one of the best ever. It was an embarrassment of riches. It was all over far too soon!


That Lancia was wonderful. I heard and saw it go by as I was waiting to get into the "normal" car parking area.

Michael Atwell

The only thing more mind blowing than this event is that I haven't been to one yet... and I've been in Southern California since I've been born. The mix of cars is simply crazy!


It's time to get out to C&C again!  Every machine is awesome in their own right, but that Delta, Alpine, Alfa and Falcon...droooooooool.


Speedhunters_Bryn King L, forget Can Am, do the Cortina in the Falcon's Trans Am livery.


so many amazing cars, but for some reason my quick crush (take her on a one time ride through kingdom of the dinosaurs for a scam and jam) is that harlequin gulf.


You know it's a good meet when an enzo just makes the bonus images in the background!


We need C&C here aswell, the variety of different cars and styles must be quite stunning


What a cool way to spend a saturday morning.
we need this in the uk and manafactures to do the same


Oh my god that coachbuilt alfa :O


With toyota collaboration with bmw its just make sense for toyota to put 3 liter inline 6 from m3/m4 in ft1, perfect recipe for supta reborn


der Alfa ist ja echt spitze, vielleicht könnt ihr mal ein special über Youngtimer machen


Look pretty dang good. You r right that FT 1 has got to go into production.


I can't make out the name of the artist from his signature. Anyone know who he is or if he has a website? I would like to see more of his work.


@Dennis  Toyota, please don't do that to the Supra. If you want something from BMW, it's the gearbox you want. Like in the past, with the V160/V161 being the same GETRAG with the 8th Series. Look, another link between Toyota and BMW from the '90s.


This was a great experience. My car was parked righthe next to my buddy with the harlequin golf. Nothing but respect for him, all the amazing cars and the photographers who capture these times!


bring this to south florida :c


Anyone know what make those shutters are on the back of that BRZ in the second chapter?
Totally added to my wish list.


Where can i buy one of the artists drawings?


That Alfa superflow. Just wow.


Wish we had a Cars and Coffee here in Miami..looked like an incredible C & C, one for the ages, with variety for all car enthusiast.(Y)


Did some investigating. They're TRD Window Louvers.
$900 USD is pricey, but damn...

Pete the perfect pilot

The mazda rx7 is sweet. Mazda had to bring back another Rx as toyotas stolen a march with their new concept. So common Mazda, there's the furai as a start reference.....


Both of the


NicholasHur Simply epic! I too would have stopped in my tracks for it, even over the FT-1


Awesome Coverage Mike. That kid that shows up and works up the paintings has some mad talent. I bet he makes some dough too, I would pay for a print! My head would have been spinning! A Full GRP A Delta! A P-1! The FT-1! Good god what a saturday. Austin C&C at The Oasis is getting huge as well, Im willing to bet its comparable to car count as Irvine. Maybe a second sunday should be assigned to a speedhunter for some Austin coverage.  @Mike Garrett


Please tell us you at least took a look under the front of the FT-1 to get a glimpse of whatever engine might be in it


Acc No "real" engine in it right now. Just an electric motor to move it around off the truck and such.


CSAlltrac That would be awesome to check that out sometime.


todd_d My feelings exactly :)


Pete the perfect pilot Lots of rumors on that, but nothing official. Who knows?


ra64freddy! You'd think the weather and all the fancy folks in Miami there'd a big C&C there.


JakWhite Good question. Maybe you just have to come to C&C and find him haha?


@pkstrategy Thanks!


ChrisGrow Hopefully Toyota is looking at comments like yours.


@Nic Yep!


dovvv Stunning, isn't it?


turbom Yes, pretty amazing that all this is done by about 9:00am.


and1ne13 Pretty much haha.


@getwell The obscure stuff is always good!


Jun Imai The Z would fit right in!


Michael Atwell What's stopping you haha? Get up early this Saturday and do it.


evoCS Agreed. Sometimes I wish it could go the whole day.


Hotcakes The feeling is likewise.


KeithCharvonia So good!


evoCS The smell of race gas was fantastic!


EricSeanDelaney Haha, thanks man!


A lot of dope rides and rare stuff too. The R33 looks cool. Especially if its in California

Project 350ZTT

Oh my god! Ahhhhh I'm kicking myself in the nuts right now for not going this weekend!!!!! Like seriously how often do you see all that greatness in one place! I just want to ask that owner of the R33 stateside. I'm assuming back when motorex was importing the R33's legally.
And to sit in Toyotas new concept!
Anyone get a peek at what's under the hood???


No Mazda it. After all, this does take place at their HQ.


Love the R33 and the RX-7.

I'm still deciding which GTR I would import to Canada, I'm stuck between the R32, R33 or the R34 GTT, R34 GTR would be awesome but its very expensive D:


@Chris Agreed that one kind of slipped by.


Mike Garrett JakWhite  Wish it wasn't the otherside of the world =(


I spy a schrick manifold on that harlequin golf.


KKL  R30 without question. You'll have all the attention you'll ever need providing you can find an r30 for sale.


In the first photo the reflection of that BMW's rear driver's side window looks like a huge dent in the side of the car next to it. Ha.


What? Didn't see the FD and Miata?


Didn't even notice that haha


Good eye!


Great article! Interesting to see the cars but also the variety of people.


Is that red RX-7 a Spirit R?


Jeezus!!!! That's how you do C&C!  Here we didn't even get coffee (at same event as Dino covered a couple of times)!


Here's a story about the red FD3S RX-7 in the bonus images page:


All that metal and the Z32 still stacks up!


That Ford Falcon.


Mike Garrett i know the guy who did the work and alignment on that twin turbo studebaker that car is pushing somewhere between 1200-1500hp it was built for the power tour and that car is a regular at a family friends alignment shop called porters brake and alignment in redondo beach you guys should get a feature on that car


That Dino certainly looks like it's been taken out Gran Turismo or something


@Chris Yeah, that Porsche 904/Carrera GTS. Probably rarer than almost everything else.


oh mannn.... thant blue minty cellica GT... retro porn..


ra64freddy! There is one! They do it in Fort Lauderdale though! Btw..aren't you the same guy I sent FARA tickets to?


BVSEDJESUS They have C&C in Fort Lauderdale. Look up Lexus Boys or check out in the event section for local meets in that area. I wish I had more info for you but I moved out of the area to Seattle.


I'm still not a fan of the FT-1's face. Everything else about it I love, but the front end let's it down for me


anyone know what that dark car next to the bmw in the 1st pic is? looks like some kind of pininfarina roof but I'd love to see the rest of the car


Favorite car from this post and probably the entire show: the Alfa.


I believe his name is devin and he's there pretty much every week. He has amazing talent you shouldve seen the sketch of the mclaren p1 he did a few weeks ago.


You can get louvers for the BRZ?!?!?! This is amazing!


That is awesome. I will look into that!


If anyone ever gets in touch with the artist, Please have him leave his deviant art page or website here.
I love how he took liberties with the stance of that jag. lovely!


Cars & Coffee in Cali looks like a dream for automotive enthusiasts. I swear in that show, there's something everyone would like. From muscle cars to supercars to j-tin, japanese rarities and even grassroots style cars.


Vinracer1 Fantastic builds!


Can anyone tell me what model the Fez on the first bonus image is?


WillAnton  Not a Ferrari, Berkeley. No idea on the model.


Can anyone tell me what type that GORGEOUS classic #12 jag is, it doesn't seem to match either the d or the c types...I NEED TO KNOW!! Mike Garrett