Supercars In Silicon Valley
A Disappointing Drive In

The San Francisco Bay Area is a bit of a special place. No matter what it is you’re looking for, you can find it here. Even in the middle of winter, meets like the Cars and Coffee event that GMP Cars put on last weekend are in full swing.

In fact, these events have such a good turnout that lots of other, smaller spin-offs seem to occur leading up to the main show — one such by-product was a cruise from Pleasanton to Richmond, where Cars and Coffee ‘SF’ would be held. Of course, this meant getting up before the sun to see who showed up despite the poor weather.


I have to say, I was not disappointed. There was a heavy dose of late-model American muscle present, which is to be expected, as well as everything from a Porsche 918 (hiding behind the Ferrari 360) to an Ariel Atom.

Lucky for the Ariel owner there was no more rain during the day, but with wet roads and no top it was not the most practical choice. But really, what sort of practical person ends up with something as awesome as an Atom anyway?


This particular rally over to the show was organized by Tim Booth, who had a few words of wisdom to share with the large, ever-growing crowd that was eager to warm up their cars and start the drive. Essentially, anyone messing about in the rain would be flagged by the entire community and not welcome at future cruises like this.

It’s exactly the strict attitude that should be applied to anyone having fun with friends on public streets; all it takes is one black sheep not knowing their limits and everyone’s day (or worse) is ruined.


After the responsibility pep talk, engines were started, and revved, of course, as the cars warmed up.


This is where the disappointing part comes in, for me at least. I woke up excited (at around 4:00am, mind you) to get rolling shots on the way to the show; the weather for it was perfect and there would be plenty of iconic cars to shoot in front of awesome backdrops. But as we headed onto the freeway, we lost the pack as four highway options were presented to us and I chose the wrong one.


As pumped as I was to get photos, I accidentally opted for the fastest way to the GMP Cars event instead of the route that would take us through the tunnel with the group.

Perhaps I’m being dramatic, but it was one of those moments where it seemed nothing could fix my disappointment; the smooth winding roads through the hills with beautiful fog rolling in during sunrise… But no cars for me.


Actually, I did spot one Aventador cruising past, but it was a small consolation prize compared to the dozens of cars rumbling around together on the other side of the valley.


Once we made it to the event, I quickly left my disappointment behind. I was immediately greeted with an immaculate, brand new McLaren 570GT S glowing in the soft light from the still-rising sun. But lurking in the background was the GMP Cars trailer, and if I’m honest, the real reason I came to the event in the first place.

F40 or F50? GMP Cars Says Both

Ferraris, Ferraris, Ferraris. Why choose between two iconic ’90s legends when you can have both?


I know the popular answer to the F40 or F50 question, but surely I’m not the only one who would prefer the F50?


I understand the F50 is bigger, heavier, slower, and when you really stare at the two for any length of time, the F40 is clearly the more attractive option.

But when presented with the keys to both cars, I would take the F50, hands down.


The only reasonable explanation for this that I can think of is the profound effect that the first F50 I ever saw had on me. I remember exactly where I was, at nine or 10 years old, when I saw the car peeking out at me from one of the service bays at an exotic car dealership in Los Gatos. It was perhaps the first time I ever just stood and stared in awe of a four-wheeled machine.


When up against the F40, I know it’s the wrong choice, but I just have so much love for this Ferrari. The eerie fogged glass in the cool morning air only compounded the dreamy effect of the F50 for me.


There’s just something about it, you know?


Inside, it’s pure ’90s gold.

In the back, or more like the middle, is that glorious F1-inspired 4.7L V12. Also packed in the rear, in proper Ferrari fashion, is a gearbox integrated into the chassis and fancy rose-jointed push-rod suspension with adaptive electronic dampers. From the factory, the only thing that’s been changed on this particular example is a phenomenal sounding Tubi exhaust setup.


Despite perhaps failing to fill the shoes of its predecessor, the F50 is such a gorgeous thing to behold. As when I was 10 years old, driving one of these models is suddenly high on the priority list again.


Of course, adjacent to its younger, bigger sibling was the almighty F40.


In a completely different way than the F50, the older model is also an aesthetically amazing convergence of engineering and design.


With upgraded 18-inch wheels over the 17-inch versions that shipped with the car, it’s a great looking setup, to say the least. The brakes have also been upgraded with some Brembo units for extra stopping power. I’m not sure how many miles are on this one, but here’s to hoping these parts were installed because it gets driven at least a bit.


As I’m sure you’re well aware, the powerplant in the F40 is a 2.9L twin-turbocharged V8; this car has also been upgraded with a Tubi exhaust. I don’t often think of these cars being ones you modify, but if you’ve got the coin, why not?


It’s astounding to me how different the these two cars really are. From the sharp, angular design features of the F40 versus the swooping bodylines of the F50, to how they source and deliver their power.


But no matter your preference, the F40 really is a work of art.


GMP Cars also was kind enough to bring another heavy hitter out to play, this particular one being a brand new 488 Challenge car.


It’s the 2017 version, and I can only assume it has a promising future ahead of it.


I honestly didn’t learn all that much about the car because I was so taken by the other two Ferraris, but perhaps I’ll get the chance for a closer look soon.

GMP Cars didn’t stop there, though, and in the roped-off area they also had two complete restorations on display. I could have easily spent all day on these five cars, but there were hundreds of others arriving and filling up the lot.

Exotics Abound

Being the Silicon Valley, we don’t exactly have a shortage of exotics in the area. Luckily, most of the owners like to take them out for a drive too, rather than shove them away in a storeroom somewhere (or perhaps it’s their fancier cars they keep hidden).


One car in particular that’s been evading me for a year or so was this LT — finally I was able to see it in person.


The owner is a young collector in the area with a specific taste in exotics; his McLaren key fob for the car even has a matching paint job.


It was definitely popular with the  other photographers present as well.


I saw this 918 earlier in the day, and although I very sadly (yes, still not over it) missed it cruising over to the show, it’s great to see that this car actually gets driven. That is sort of the point, after all.


Speaking of cars that are put through their paces, I noticed this Berlinetta had a sticker on the back showing it was driven thousands of miles through a road rally in China.

Noticing this Ferrari was made more special by partially overhearing the out-of-focus gentleman behind the car. He was explaining to the younger lads that this was the car that so-and-so; like I said, everyone’s got that model that excites them and that’s what Cars and Coffee is all about.


It was also good to see my friend Greg’s heavily track-prepped F80 out at the show. I don’t know how he keeps this thing so clean given how hard he pushes it at the track.


GMP Cars also had a number of other high-end autos floating about the show, like this F12 TDF with AutoVeloce SVR goodies. Another one to investigate in further detail later on.

The Best Of The Rest

It wasn’t just high-dollar European fare out at the meet though, and as I mentioned, the Americans were out in full force.


And nothing quite says America like a Hemi with flames, am I right?

It also seems Fords are making a stronger and stronger showing lately, both at shows and amateur track days.


Naturally, some good old American iron found it’s way out too.

As did this…


Towards the end of the show I noticed this VIP build roll up. Even if things do seem a bit unbalanced towards domestics, it’s refreshing to see a healthy mix of clean builds at Cars and Coffee.


We’re also finally seeing the new Honda Civic Type R crop up in the wild around here.


Another obvious favorite was this Volvo. It’s the ultimate people carrier, fit for a soccer mom or a college kid who isn’t fond of fast cars, except that it has been fitted with an LS2. Nothing remotely hints at the V8 under the hood, either – talk about a sleeper.

There was something from every genre of the car scene here. But more importantly, it was a place where enthusiasts young and old came together to share a morning in celebration of a common love for all things automobile.


Inspired, I headed north after the meet to my friend’s place to begin the resurrection of an old project of mine. You can tell it’s been a bit forgotten as of late, but we can hope I get my act together here soon.


All day though, my mind wandered back to that F50…


Word is, next month there will be another show and it’ll likely be even more packed than this one as the weather improves.

I’m sure I’ll be back too. After all, who can say no to Cars and Coffee?

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto

Cutting Room Floor


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Great photos, as always! Do I spy a Mustang under that car cover?


Thanks Joel! And at the moment, it's about 2,500lb of rubbish...


Every project starts somewhere, interested to see what you do with it!


I know the popular answer to the F40 or F50 question, but surely I’m not the only one who would prefer the F50?

You're not alone. The F50 is one of the many cars of my childhood alongside the McLaren F1, Porsche 911 993, BMW M5 E39, Lamborghini Diablo SV, Nissan Skyline R34, and much more.


Forgot to note that the E39 M5, R34 GTR and McLaren F1 are also in my top 10 list..


I am curious how old both of you are. I am 38 and to me, the F40 is the god of all things automotive. I try not to discriminate but to me, nothing can ever compete with the F40 no matter what. And oddly enough, I have never liked the F50. I know it's a polarizing subject and my theory is that is has a lot to do with what age/generation everyone is and which car came out when you were young.


32 here, and while I do revere the F40 as a god and lust after it...I have to say, I have a secret love for the F50 that's just as strong. Maybe it's because of the exposure to it through video games and media I grew up with. Maybe it's because everyone seems to poo-poo it in comparison to the F40 (which, yeah; maybe not as good...but doesn't mean it isn't still good in its own right). Maybe it's because I find the stillborn F50 GT racer absolutely incredibly sexy. Hard to say.

Variety's the spice, etc. :-)


I'm 21. As a little kid I grew up playing a lot of the earlier NFS games (from II to Underground 2) so it was primarily a lot of late 90s/early 2000s performance cars that left a lasting impression on my (then) 8-year-old self. However, as lengthy as the list of my favorite cars is nowadays, the McLaren F1 is the one car that will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart.


Exactly. I'm 27, so promotion-wise the F40 was just a bit before my time. Instead the F50 was the poster car during my younger years, and also happened to be the one I came across when I was most impressionable.

The Diablo and F1 are definitely on my list as well, although the GTR never appealed to me until more recently.


Wow! Amazing shots! Did you happen to get any of my car while you were there?


Thanks for coming out.


Was it on 680 880 or 580 that you got those rolling shots? And when were these taken? Feel kinda upset I didn't get to see anything.


The event was just this last weekend, although I think there was one in December as well. Anyhow, we took 580 all by ourselves on accident; the rest of the crew went the longer way up 680 then over 24 through the Caldecott Tunnel. Shame on me, I know.


Hmm, gotta say the F50 / F40 debate is a tough one. I think for driving I'd like the F40 more, but for the experience of like "ooh look I'm in a super car" + driving + experience I would take the F50.

The thing I love about the F50 more than the F40 is the instrument display. It's so cool looking. Miles cooler than many cars that have been produced since.


So many exotics and hypercars... and all I wanted to see more of was that '68 Mustang fastback.

(Ok, the 918 and Viper GTS, too. But mainly that fastback. ;-] )


PS: You've got some of the most consistently righteous posts on the page. I'm never disappointed with not only the quality of the images, but the diversity of the subject matter there in.
Keep it up.


Thank you man! The Bay Area is pretty good at having a bit of everything...I too would like a closer look at the '68 Mustang. Wouldn't mind taking that for a spin, but I'd still take the F50 ;)


This was a really cool read. Ecstatic to see the 360 shot :)


All these exotics, and yet my favorite is the V8 Volvo.
What is wrong with me?!


That Volvo would be so much fun


The F50 is a million times better-looking than the F40. Actually, more like a billion times. ;)


The F50 is a million times better-looking than the F40. I've always found the F40 to be droopy-looking and kinda ugly.


Would love to see a feature on the sleeper Volvo


Any more pictures of that Green 67/68 Mustang Fastback?

All the pictures are stunning!


The variety is soo amazing! Great post!


That white McLaren is a 570S not a 570GT. Otherwise great article and amazing shots!


As a Viper fan, please more Vipers!



Owner of the Volvo above.
First, thanks for the love just got it done and it means a lot to see that people like it.

Second, it's a ls3 erod not a ls2 ;)


Where are you from? I'm in Fremont and I sold my V70R to my buddy Matt Seret (Seret Customs)

We've been thinking about splitting the car up when it blows up. He'll get the entire chassis and guts for a body swap on an older wagon, and I'll get the shell for an LS3 eRod swap and rear wheel drive conversion...


I am in San Mateo.

That sounds like a great project! One thing to keep in mind is that the e-rod kit is only California legal for obd1 cars 1995 and older. So you might be better off just finding a crashed LS car if you are trying to get the car bar'd and smog legal. Which I highly suggest you do. I have done it an all of my swaps if is not that big of a deal if you do it right.

I don't know how much this will help but here is a write up my friend has been doing on the project as we been going.


I had the same issue with the pedal plug not fitting through the firewall of my 62 Impala. To solve the problem, I took a picture of the wire order and pulled the pins out of the plug, pushed them through an existing hole in my firewall and re-seated them in the connector.


You did it in a way smarter way than us... We just drilled a big hole lol


Right on dude, thanks!


Please... Just say no to BroDozers!

I love that Speedhunters is running some off-road content, King of the Hammers, some overland stuff is great... But I just don't have the patience for the Dozers.

Great to see some expensive machinery out in less than pristine weather.


It won't let me post the link here just google gramps wagon drive werks


It won't let me post the link here just google gramps wagon drive werks if you want to look at the build


Those Ferraris look too perfect to even be real...they look like scale freakin models


Haha it's that *dreamy* fog!