Cars and Coffee is back again, and drawing plenty of exotic cars and lookie-loos – OCRegister

Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2015

A 1972 Pantera was the first to arrive. Then came a Ferrari LaFerrari, Steve McQueen’s Jaguar XKSS, Dan Gurney’s Ford GT and a slew of other rare, collectible, exotic and generally jaw-dropping vehicles.

All of them had rolled in to the Orange County Market Place parking lot at the crack of dawn Saturday for the next generation of the iconic automotive gathering Cars and Coffee.

Just like the good old days of the original, a line of modern Lamborghinis, vintage Corvettes and other rarities you just don’t see the other six days of the week were idling to get in at the gate and rumble past an eager audience of auto enthusiasts, many of whom had parked themselves at the entrance to shoot video and snap pictures.

And just as it had been when Cars and Coffee took place in Irvine, the allotted space was full long before its 7 a.m. opening time, with hundreds of cars loosely arranged by make, their hoods and doors propped open for all to see.

“It really is all for the love of cars,” said Doug Cavanaugh, coordinator of the new OC Cars and Coffee and founder and chief executive of Ruby’s Diner, which provided the coffee (and doughnuts and breakfast) for what will be a weekly Saturday morning gathering, much like the original Cars and Coffee.

A victim of its own success, the original closed down last December after eight years in the parking lot of Ford’s Irvine office, having been mobbed by the more than 1,000 vehicles that crowded in every week, overwhelming its volunteer staff and creating traffic problems.

Even though Saturday’s OC Cars and Coffee in Costa Mesa had been announced only two weeks earlier, it, too, appears headed in the same direction. Cavanaugh said there was room for 400 cars at OC Cars and Coffee; 700 showed up.

The cars were of all makes and models and vintage, from a 100-year-old Model T to a new Audi R8, with a 1965 Pontiac GTO, a 2015 Jaguar F-Type and hundreds of hot rods, exotics and classics in between.

Among them was the legendary O.C. racer Gurney, who brought his Ford GT, complete with its “Gurney bubble” roof, and a pair of Gurney Gator motorcycles.

“The old one, I think this is looking like it’s going to be bigger and have more variation in cars,” said Gurney, 84, who was being driven around the Market Place in a golf cart with his sons. “It would take you hours to lap through here and see them all. It’s a time machine more than anything.”

Larry Urey of Costa Mesa wheeled up in one of those time machines – a 1935 Ford Indy style roadster. Like a lot of Saturday’s inaugural attendees, Urey had been to the old Cars and Coffee in Irvine.

“I hope they have better luck with this one,” he said, as he rolled under a line of yellow caution tape to park behind an enclave of Shelby Cobras.

Miguel Macias of Anaheim was a regular at the original Irvine Cars and Coffee and a more recent attendee of one of its many wannabe replacements that have sprung up in the last eight months in Aliso Viejo, San Clemente, Laguna Beach and Tustin.

“It wasn’t as good,” Macias said of the Tustin Cars and Coffee, which draws a lot of Porsches. Macias’ daily driver is a vintage Volkswagen postal vehicle called the Type 147 that he drove to OC Cars and Coffee and will drive again next weekend.

“It’s good to have this back because it gives us an excuse to hang out,” Macias said.

The new OC Cars and Coffee is coordinated by an A team of Southern California business leaders and auto enthusiasts.

It was Cavanaugh who worked with the owners of the Market Place to get permission from the state, which owns the OC Fair & Event Center, to host the weekly event there. He pulled it together with the help of Meguiar’s car care products president Barry Meguiar, former Ascot Park operator J.C. Agajanian and Petersen Automotive Museum executive director Terry Karges and museum board members Richard Varner and Bruce Meyer.

“We want to be here to support this because it’s car culture, and we’re part of car culture,” said Karges of the Petersen, which loaned Steve McQueen’s $15 million Jaguar XKSS for the OC Cars and Coffee kickoff and will bring other rare cars every week or so, including a 1939 Bugatti that won second in its class at last weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. “We’re storytellers in the car culture, and this is the heart of it right here.”


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