This Is Caffeine & Octane
Welcome to Caffeine & Octane

I’d like to talk East versus West for a second… When I announced I would be leaving sunny Los Angeles to move back home to Atlanta, I received a great deal of skepticism from my peers. It sounds crazy, right? As a motoring journalist, why would I leave California – the mecca of all things automotive – for Georgia? Well, as I mentioned in my introductory 2000 Miles of #JoyofMachine piece, I think there’s a little something special happening in the Southeast. This land is alive, and to be specific, I truly have faith in Atlanta. And with all said, after checking out Mike’s recent Cars & Coffee Irvine coverage, I found it hard to sit back without throwing a little friendly competition into the mix in an attempt to defend my new home.

This past weekend the stars finally aligned, allowing me to actually attend Atlanta’s rendition of a Sunday morning meet-up and attempt to provide a thorough taste of what just even a small sector of this glorious Southeastern region has to offer. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, Caffeine & Octane.


What is Caffeine & Octane, you ask? Some say it’s Atlanta’s greatest car show, others say it’s where everything happens.


What’s certain is that it’s a huge melting pot of automotive culture concentrating every make, model, club and crew into a single business complex’s parking lot, the first Sunday of every month.


I’ll admit that this is my first time attending Caffeine & Octane in well over two years, and though I generally knew what to expect, I feel there’s not a single event that could have prepared me for the variety that was before my eyes.


From immortalized classics and luscious exotics, to American Mopar muscle, Japanese dreams and even a a few oddballs. Just about everything was present and accounted for.


So without further ado, I’d like to invite you to take a stroll around Atlanta to witness just exactly what this great land has in store. There may not be palm trees, food trucks and import girls modeling on top of whatever their employer has a sticker on, but it sure as hell is worth the 6:00am wake up time.


We all know California has an amazing car scene and one that frequently puts others, such as Georgia, to shame. Although, there is one aspect about the Southeast that The Golden State simply can’t even begin to touch, and that’s the American muscle scene.


Initially entreating the undersized venue, I knew there would be a great deal of muscle, as I have seen in the past, but to the extent I was unsure. I mean, with shops and distributors like Summit Racing, YearOne and Goolsby Customs all in Atlanta’s backyard, the Southeast really is the muscle capital of the world.


You can raise your weapons, but believe it or not, the Southeast has California beat by a landslide in this genre, and Caffeine & Octane is the perfect host to prove this fact. Just check out this flawless 427 Z/28 Camaro — I’ll definitely be Spotlighting this in the near future.


Or this 57′ Chevy Bel Air, which has been restored to a meticulous standard.


…And also features a beastly LS drop-in housed in a bay so clean even a medic could justify it as a sterile operating room.


But still, I’m not even talking about the modified and restored end of things, as the American heritage runs stronger than ever throughout the Southeast. Take this Plymouth Road Runner for example. An unexpected, but very welcome sight to say the least!


Into classic Vettes? Have no fear, as Caffeine & Octane surely provided more than a few generations.


Or how about this El Camino. A true classic to this region for more reasons than I’m allowed to express…


The fact that the 454 under the hood has been bored 60 thou’ over only solidifies this rant. Goodness, what I would do for an El Camino!


Apart from its American muscle heritage, the other thing that makes this region so great is influence. For the younger generation – whether they’re into Japanese cars, Euros or classics – there will always be an undeniable presence of influence that is directly related. Like the 5.0 small block mounted in this….

Actually, you’re just going to have to wait to see what it’s attached to. I promise, it’ll either make you gauge your eyes out, or immediately host a garage sale in effort to raise funds for a similar project of your own. Trust me – it’ll be worth the wait.

Super Stars

With the American end of things out of the way, it’s time to touch on the fancy stuff. Ever since my dear friend Nate Hassler shot the press release images for the Toyota FT-1 Concept, I have been dying to see it in person. So I’ll reluctantly admit that its surprise appearance at Irvine’s Cars & Coffee definitely threw my panties in a bunch. It’s just not fair! But for what the Southeast lacks in concept car appearances and market studies, it definitely makes up for in its classics.


So here you are California, I’ll take your FT-1 Concept and raise you with an all-original 1961 Ferrari 250 GTE – one of the most luscious cars in attendance. Doesn’t compare?


Okay, how about the original devil in red – the Lamborghini Diablo. Dumber and Dumber, anyone?


It’s crazy to think how these classic supercars still have so much impact decades after their time. They really just don’t make them like they used to, aye?


And since we’re on the topic of supercars, there were certainly quite a few on the more recent spectrum of production in attendance too.


What’s that? Red isn’t your color? No sweat. I’ll take the Arancio Argos, you take the Verde Ithaca and we’ll call it a day… It must be nice, right?


Though on the more personal side of things, I probably wouldn’t take either. Yeah, supercars are cool, sexy and sure as hell powerful, but I suppose I’ve never really been one for the factory side of things. I guess I’m more one for the modified stuff that really doesn’t make sense. And thankfully, Caffeine & Octane was happy to deliver in that respect. What you’re looking at here is the heart of a 1900hp Lamborghini. Yes, I said 1900hp. And I’ll be featuring this bad boy soon enough.


And remember that wide-body R8 from TopSpeed Motorsports that I showcased in my SoWo coverage? Yep, that machine was in attendance as well, yet this time it was all opened up allowing spectators to drool over its aftermarket engine work.

Around The Globe

Lastly, what would a meet filled with variety be without its attendees from overseas. I’m talking the JDM gurus, the VAG enthusiasts and really just about anything under the sun that isn’t a Pebble Beach member or a raging American monster. And on the debate of East versus West, I’ll definitely agree that California tends to have this side of things under control. But that doesn’t mean the Southeast can’t make an attempt, right?


With my background of shooting Japanese cars in the Southeast, I’d like to think that I’ve had a firm grip on just about every feature-worthy build in the region, yet a quick trip to Caffeine & Octane definitely proved me wrong. But that’s the glory of these sort of events – you never know what you’re going to come across.


In fact, this well-used Datsun Sunny was probably about the last thing I expected to see on this specific Sunday morning.


But the more I sifted through the rows of cars, the more my eyes were opened. Take this GSL-SE Mazda RX-7 for example.


It might be a bit weathered on the exterior, but upon closer inspection any true Japanese enthusiast would instantly notice the set of rare, old school RAYS wheels it was wearing.


To hype things up even more, a special appearance was made by a Skyline R34 sedan with an RB26 swap, brought out by its female owner. I’d expect to find something like this in the parking lot of the Makuhari Messe at Tokyo Auto Salon time, but not Caffeine & Octane in Atlanta!


And to my surprise, there was not just one Skyline in attendance, but two! This R32 looked like it was just itching for a battle on the 75/85 Interstate.


But enough with the Japanese goodies already. VAG enthusiasts, I present to you this very cool Type 34 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. I would have loved to find out more about where it exactly it came from, as the right-hand drive orientation is a dead giveaway that it’s not from the States. But due to the cluster flock that is Caffeine & Octane, I wasn’t able to locate the owner. Maybe next time!


What is the VAG group without Porsche? Nothing – that’s what! And I’m happy to announce that this cream puff of a 930 slant nose hit the nail on the head.


At the end of the day, it’s hard for me to put any true comparison on Caffeine & Octane and the event that its modeled off. I also know California will still have a greater grasp on the hearts of many before I can fully pull a win for the underdog. But on content alone, you can’t say Georgia isn’t taking a massive swing. Yet, since paying homage to my hometown will always produce a biased result, I’d like to ask you readers for your thoughts. Do you think the Southeast has what it takes to battle California in a show n’ shine? Or is does the competition not even compare?

Matthew Jones
Instagram: matthewjonesphoto

Cutting Room Floor


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Dat R32, so damn clean, awesome coverage.
Guess when I would've been there I would've been walking around like this -> :oooooooooooooo


I really like to see strange European cars in the us or japan.
Like this purple Opel gt!


I'm going to be the douche and let the cat out the bag. The 5.0 swap mysterious car is a Miata.....


That Underground Racing Gallardo is awesome, UGR keeps stepping up their game every year, and I cannot wait to see where they are gonna end up in the future!


Oliv66 The purple on the Opel really was gorgeous in person!


jdmRob Thanks bud!


JoshuaWhitcombe Insane work, right? Can't wait to compile the full feature on that beast.


I love how a sledgehammer is part of the original toolkit (?) for the E-Type, LOL.


@randomswede It was used to knock off the spindle/lock nut for the original wire wheels. Hence the term "knock off wheels" came about.


Great photos Matt! I really enjoy how you are representing car meets and builds on this side of the country.


@randomswede It's used to loosen/tighten the Knockoff's on the wheels, the 300SL has one also,

Grammar Police

The poor writing in this article was so distracting I couldn't even finish it...


I think it's pretty fucking mental that we live in an era that you can get 1900hp out of an engine in a street car.
We are truly living in a golden age of tuning.


That ER34 sedan has a RB25 with 26 cover, you cna even see the VTC hole cut.


"Like the 5.0 small block mounted in this…."

Dick tease.


Also, Fuck So-Cal. Overrated scene with far too many trend humpers.


The Tennessee license plate on the green Lamborghini is just... odd.


MattAtDoyle A lot of people form LLC's and get used dealer licenses


BrockHarvison  My screen wash bottle looks like that, although not as nice.


Wow, so much goodness in there! So, I'll just commend the event as a whole. Can we get the photo B-roll on this event too?! I want more.


Arent R34 skylines illegal in America?


I favor the slant nose Porsche more than normal lamps ones. Should i be worried?


Nice to see some American cars, you know, in America for once.


Moving to ATL next do I find out where they're holding the next one?


Want to see more of that R32.  Looks like it received a Bayside blue paint job.  Keen to know what's under the hood.


i have a question, can the R32 be driven on a daily bases in the USA? i know there is a bunch of paper work and all of that but it seems like some of the skylines I've seen here on SH are daily driven cars. id love you own one someday and be able to drive it as much as i want.

Omer (beercoozie)

Wow, if you guys are going to say things like "there is one aspect about the Southeast that The Golden State simply can’t even begin to touch, and that’s the American muscle scene," then you should check out what's happening outside of Pebble Beach, Monterey, and Los Angeles.

Maybe you guys should check out what's happening in Salinas or Santa Maria or San Jose.

I'm not saying Caffine and Octane isn't cool, because it is.

Not everyone in California rolls in a Porsche, Skyline, or R32.

I've seen way more old Chevelles, Mustangs, Camaros, and other representatives of the Muscle Car scene in California than I ever did in the South.






..trends that you will be following 10 years from now.


KalesTaylor 1st sunday of every month but you can check on there official website


Not yours you gotta files the car as a show car and you gotta put as a gov't bond or something like that but filling out the paper work is a bitch


atlanta has many cars of all genres.


caocaoism Not yours where's the sense? :D
Glad I'm living in Germany :P


Great Pictures. I've been to all the Caffeine and Octane shows this year. This month was one of the best for sure. Great variety.


if were all gunna chip in about regional styles / influence, chicagolands "style" would be two groups, (speaking jdm, cuz thats what i fancy) the people that dont worry about dents, or chips in body panels, or destroyed parts. then there are the neat freaks who need everything perfect.


This show looks like it was pretty cool, but I thought this article was pretty silly. I guess the whole car culture competition thing doesn't really appeal to me. Like, we're all out here to have fun, right?


Good coverage, nice to see the rest of the country has caught on (to another SoCal car trend). But this article reminded me of being in Florida....every single local had to find a way to point out how some little thing was better than in Calif, yet never once did I ever say something from Cali was better than Florida.


There is more muscle cars, history and knowledge forgotten all over Long Beach, San Diego, Central Cal, San Jose, Oakland, San Berdoo, Riverside and many more places than Georgia will EVER get. Sure you got NASCAR and the like but homie you are deluding yourself. The whole damn muscle car culture basically came from SoCal.

That meet also looked like it encompassed about 1/8 of the size and variety and value of the original C&C in Irvine. There is more money and historic rolling steel in just LA than in the entire south put together. Good try, but nope, its still not better than SoCal.


CharlesChris15 Definitely an interesting factor!


DrewRobertson Almost too crowded, right? haha


KamilOsman Im with right there with you, so I'm probably not the one to answer the question :)


D1RGE EXE Thanks for your input, buddy! This is exactly what I was hoping for!

You did read the part about California beating the entire Eastern half of this country on the Japanese side of things by a landslide, right? What I would do to be back on that SoCal beach!


Matt Jones DrewRobertson

Definitely, It was the most crowded I've been to. People were just parking anywhere they could, even in the middle of the lanes. I got there around 6:00-6:15am and got a decent spot in the main lot.


Neat pics, good to see that particular 2002 out there, love that car.  As far as the demographic pride goes, to each their own.



While I'm sure So Cal has tons of muscle cars. Don't underestimate the south when it comes to American Muscle. I've been to show with thousands upon thousands of only muscle cars. However I would love to live in So Cal again and be in the car scene there.


Matt Jones This was a great showing at C&O. I have a few photos from the same event. This was one of my favorites.


DrewRobertson D1RGE EXE Muscle car blood runs deeply throughout all of America. Undisputable point. From Motor City and Chi-town to the South, Texas, the plains, its part of all of us. But you really cant compare whats on the west coast to anywhere else. SoCal has a simply stupid amount of vehicles, little deterioration, and a century of power/stars/collectors/money that has always attracted the cream of the automotive world's crop. C&C doesnt even scratch the surface of what's in the auto museums around much less the serious collector's garages.

I went to a little car show in Long Beach about 4 years ago. It was a nameless summer weekend, a small park, not really advertised or anything, mostly a meet where people just shined up what they had in the garage, and it was 95% muscle/kustom/classics, and kept in their families since the 70s and earlier. It was over a thousand cars deep, almost all could have graced a magazine cover (many had at one time or another). And a meet like that doesn't even get attention.
That's what it's like. What classics are rare to see around the rest of the country, are still daily driven and common sight on our streets and in our garages.

Omer (beercoozie)

D1RGE EXE DrewRobertson  I heard Cherry's Jubilee in the Monterey Bay area used to be way cool. I don't what made it uncool, I went to the cruise night in Monterey a couple different years and was blown away by the cars I would see.


Matt Jones JoshuaWhitcombe I got the opportunity to get up close and personal with the only one in NZ at a show last year, Absolute work of art!


D1RGE EXE DrewRobertson

Again, I'm not saying that there are more or better cars in GA. Just don't underestimate the cars in the south. I have been to plenty of random small meets with cars just like the ones in that album. I see classics on the road daily (and yes the rare ones) Drive through any neighborhood where I live you you will find at least one classic sitting in a garage waiting for a nice weekend.


@tom yes, they can be daily cars, as long as you import them legally, and get the paperwork done. But if you want, you could be like 70% of the skyline owners, and drive and import them illegally, and hope for the best


That 930 slant nose... my GOD I want one


Matt Jones Oliv66 Thanks, we put a lot into that Opel.


Yo Matt since your sorta new to the ATL scene ill let you in on the best kept muscle car secret in ATL. Every single monday night summit racing has a old school meet. Parking lot is usually filled end to end. Might not be worth a post but for sure worth checking out.  Some pretty wild stuff comes out sometimes.


IshMel not really a "well kept secret" anymore now is it XD hahaha


Was that the rear of a P1? Or just a "plain 'ole" McL- if there is such a thing? HaHa