You Can’t Have Too Much Cars & Coffee

It just isn’t possible. Massive meets like Blackhawk’s monthly Cars and Coffee in San Francisco’s Bay Area are melting pots of car culture. With nearly 1,000 cars showing up and a few thousand enthusiasts wandering about with steaming cups of coffee in the crisp morning air, just about every automotive facet can be found.

This is the real world, and it’s (obviously) hugely important — this is where the actual enthusiasts come together to appreciate each other’s cars and to discover something new and unusual.

At the recent event I attended, angry storm clouds loomed in the background, but they didn’t frighten anyone away, regardless of what they were driving.


American classics coming up on 90 years of service sat next to JDM legends (I dare you to tell me the AE86 is not a legend), and everyone got along. In fact, they didn’t just get along, but much more than that. Everyone was able to enjoy a truly enriching experience surrounded by an enormous automotive variety.

There was no moaning or complaining about how car culture has died and will never be what it once was. Not a single person in a muscle car thought it was necessary to rag on a stanced build. Nobody went up to the owner of a car and whined dramatically about their choice of wheels. Not once did I see someone making fun of someone else’s hard work. It’s not to say we can’t have different preferences, but these are all things that should go without saying.

And yet if you look at the comments on nearly any build online, be it track-oriented, stanced, or a full-on race car, you will always find that one person, if not dozens, griping about one thing or another. It often seems that these are the same folks saying the automotive world is becoming increasingly divided. But is it really?


Why don’t we see this phenomenon as often in the real world? Could it be that the negativity is really only in the heads of a handful of keyboard warriors?

At this Cars and Coffee, instead of castigating the choices of their peers, what I heard was… “What am I looking at? Why did they do that? How did they do that?” I doubt either of these gentlemen would ever choose for themselves what Matthew has done with his E30, but they couldn’t find it in themselves to criticize it because seeing and experiencing the BMW wasn’t at all a negative experience for them.

In contrast, if you’re hiding behind a screen it’s awfully easy to find something negative to say. But when you actually make the effort to see a car in person you first and foremost get to appreciate its true presence. Then, you’re afforded the opportunity to explore all of the nuances that you simply miss in an Instagram post.

I think this effect is best summed up in a quote I heard a long time ago. It took me a minute to find the exact words, which were apparently first said by some Dr. Wayne Dyer: “A non-doer is very often a critic — that is, someone who sits back and watches doers, and then waxes philosophically about how the doers are doing. It’s easy to be a critic, but being a doer requires effort, risk, and change.”


So, thanks to those who go out on a limb and build what they love.

But I digress; it’s high time to engage full-screen mode and enjoy the following gallery from Blackhawk Cars and Coffee.


Finally, I’d reached the other end of the lot. From ’60s racing giants to antique Porsches to childhood poster heroes (for me anyway), the 500,000+ square foot car park was full of good stuff.

More than anything else, though, I was appreciative of the good vibes here. And the piping hot caffeine was free, so I had plenty of that.


On the topic of things that are different, I’ll leave you with a shot of this completely one-off creation. Starting with the shell of a cabin, more or less just to get a VIN number, Jeff hand-built nearly all of the rest. Ending up with over 700 horsepower in a car that saw plenty of track time, I think it deserves a bit more attention.

But that will be for another day. For now, let’s work on getting outside, wrenching on our projects, cruising with friends, appreciating car culture, and not talking sh*t.

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto



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lots of wisdom in yes ratatouille animated movie quote

Anton Ego: In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto, "Anyone can cook." But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.


A non-doer is very often a critic — that is, someone who sits back and watches doers, and then waxes philosophically about how the doers are doing. It’s easy to be a critic, but being a doer requires effort, risk, and change.”

A world without critics? Sounds a little communist.
Media without criticism? Sounds like censorship.

Hmmmmm, I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume this quote was made in an age before social media.
One must ask, what are said "doers" actually doing now???

Based on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc, etc, etc...most DOERS are doing little more than obnoxiously taking pictures of their artisanal hamburgers and humble bragging about subjects no one cares about. All the while editing out anything that's not flattering or "likable".

For those who aren't old enough to remember, there once was a time when media exposure was reserved for the exemplary. Even then, those people were vetted by...individuals who could be considered CRITICS!

If anything, the world needs critics more than ever because the over-indulged egos of the masses need to be checked.


There’s sort of a lot in your comment there, but I’ll try to respond to what I think your points are. Firstly, I definitely didn’t say there shouldn’t be critics but there’s a huge difference between offering a solution or constructive feedback and just being a penis.

Also, I totally agree with what you’re saying about social media and that’s sort of my point. On Instagram you don’t get the full picture, which is why if I’m consuming content I prefer it to be in the form of a full feature on a car (or event), so that I can look in detail at the choices the owner made and how they arrived where they did. Better yet is actually seeing the car in person and getting to experience it.

I think that quote is just about worrying about yourself and to make sure you’re doing something, rather than only looking at what others are doing and finding fault with it. We need critics, but moreso we need true creators.

Omri To Raatid

I don't think this post is promoting a world without critics. It is the destructive, negative criticism without concern for the effort placed in a car/build etc. or the purpose of the build. It is the person hiding behind the computer/phone screen at launching insults and disrespect upon others simply because they don't like what the other person has done and they don't have to see that person face to face. There is usually no attempt to understand another person's point of view with this kind of criticism. I agree with you that there needs to be criticism. But I think we have arrived at a place where even objective, helpful, constructive criticism is ignored due to amount of (useless) venom one may have wade through to get to the gems.


This, 100%


That BMW as the leading image. I don't know how, but until I saw the 3rd photo, I never noticed the red rag top so I had the scroll back to the top just to see that indeed there was the red top. It stands out once you know its there, that's for sure.


It doesn't matter which car scene we follow: Whether it's hot rods, vintage classics, exotic supercars, drift cars, stanced VIP-style cars, JDM tuners, or American muscle, we are all car enthusiasts.
Sure, we might banter and bicker with each other online, but at the end of the day, we're a bunch of people who love cars, and THAT'S what unites us as a community. ;)


Exactly, the vast majority of car people are good people looking to have a good time. But it often seems it’s the negative minority that’s louder, especially online.


cause the majority don't have the time for online nagging they are busy with real life and when online they just appreciate and pass by.


No more info on that last car? What car did he start with to get a vin?


Patience my friend ;)


Long live ae86! long live gas engine!


Let's see this one off now!


That red S30 look cool...


Dr Wayne Dyer was ripping off Teddy Roosevelt:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. "

And I really miss Cars and Coffee Irvine.


I absolutely love Cars and Coffee! I've met many friends through attending various Cars and Coffee events over the years... As for this event, I'm totally in love with the lovely blue 911T (anyone know the color on that car?) and the GT40, which I'll assume is a Superformance continuation. I'll take the 911T for my daily driver, and the GT40 for track driving. For the price, the level of quality and performance that you get out of a Superformance GT40, really makes it a bargain, and an outstanding performer on the track.


I don't know I think it's a mixed of GT 40 dodge viper headlights and the bonnet is ether viper


Ohhhh boy. that last pic...that's exciting. love seeing proof that the scene as a whole is really thriving and intermingling, especially as i have come to appreciate so many different styles and scenes. thanks for this article, Trevor!


What causes the bulge on the camaro? A banana? A mobile phone? A gun?


Definitely a banana


"Yet if you look at the comments on nearly any build online, be it track-oriented, stanced, or a full-on race car, you will always find that one person, if not dozens, griping about one thing or another."

It's important to remember in general people are retarded. If you remember this the whole thing becomes much easier to deal with :)




That last car looks suspiciously like a Fiberfab Valkyrie kit car.

Adam Bainbridge

I couldn't agree more with this sentiment, my daily/driftcar/toy is a R33 with an s14a front end, SR20 and lots of other bits of other Nissans. Most people would have it plastered all over insta/twitter and snapchat. I don't even have accounts for thoes platforms! Because they are just full of negativity. Turning up to car meets and having people never having seen the car, seeing their reactions and asking all about it is great. Never 1 bad comment!


I am a docent at Blackhawk, and have attended since the first one, now four years ago. Our Director, Tim McGrane, was floored when 94 cars appeared. Late last Summer, over 1300 vehicles came. Unfortunately a few disrespectful attendees misbehaved and after objections from the Danville PD, the Town of Danville, the Museum Board, and most importantly, the neighbors, we took a hiatus for five months. Hopefully we can peacefully return to the 12-month schedule and avoid further controversy. So along with you very astute take on the advantages of personal vs. anonymous digital interaction, may I add a simple request for respecting your host? Unlike other similar gatherings, we don't charge $15, and the coffee and donuts are free. All we really demand is appropriately adult behavior. Please.

Since I didn't make it into any of your outstanding photos, I am adding one of my 2005 Honda S2000.


nice coverage on a fun event. I'm impressed you found my car (e30M3...surprisingly the only one of its kind there) as I ended up having to park so far at the bank. The e30 cab was impressive...lot of work and $$$ into that (the leather wrapped interior was serious!). There is a Singer Porsche with that exact color combo (gray with the red top). Fun event due to the diversity of the cars there...