Cars & Coffee Irvine: Gone But Never Forgotten | DrivingLine
The weekly Cars and Coffee meet up in Huntington Beach is an enthusiastic gathering of all makes and models. From the newest and the hottest, to the classic. Cars & Coffee in Irvine quickly became an institution with all automotive. Cars & Coffee Irvine is one of the greatest automotive events on the face of . Now, I haven't been to any Cars and Coffee meets in Irvine, but I.
It was stuff like that which elevated the event from a simple car meet to something much bigger. It had become an institution. Best of all, you never knew what you were going to find in the parking lot on a given Saturday.
You could attend the event 40 times a year and see something completely different every week. I guess the Irvine PD patrol car posted up at the exit helped keep things calm and under control. Just like the cars, the people that came out were as diverse as it gets. Men and women of all ages and backgrounds would come out to enjoy the festivities, and attendees included both local regulars and those who traveled from across the world to experience the legendary meet.
A typical Saturday would see over 1, cars, and as the years went on, the event seemed to get bigger and bigger with more cars and more spectators each time. Soon the adjacent spectator parking lots became just as packed as the main area itself.
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Complaints from nearby landowners and residents over the noise and crowds caused the event organizers to bring the weekly gathering to an end. Once the news was announced, the crowds got even bigger, forcing the "final" event to be cancelled due to fear of overcrowding.
For those who had spent so many of their Saturday mornings in Irvine, the news was tough to swallow. It marked the end of an iconic and influential event — one that launched a new style of automotive gathering that could be repeated the world over. More than 2, cars arrived on Dec. Overflow parking spilled into an unaffiliated Marriott parking lot, which became flush with so many rare cars that dozens of spectators wandered there to browse.
Some late first-time visitors didn't realize that lot wasn't the main event until they saw crowds crossing the street. The Irvine Police Department, which routinely attends to make sure the event stays well-behaved, needed to direct pedestrian traffic, occasionally stopping cars in the middle of the road so hordes of people could cross and single-file their way through a hedge.
It was orderly chaos, but too much for the organizers, who decided to cancel the final Dec.
Cars and Coffee started as a migration of another event, which ran from to at Newport Beach's Crystal Cove Promenade. A group of attendees splintered off because of the Derelicts' focus on hot rods and muscle cars, bringing their European makes to Newport Coast and taking over a parking lot between Mastro's Steakhouse and Javier's.
After three years and ever-increasing crowds, the event drew the ire of the Irvine Co.
There was never any rent paid to or permission asked of the company; people just showed up one day, and the Irvine Co. But the landlord eventually asked the group to leave—not because of noise or even the crowds, but because it feared that the plaza would lose some of its tenants. Looking for a new location, a group of regulars met at Ford during the final week of the Crystal Cove event to strategize.
The rest is history. It could easily fit more than display cars, and its placement near a secondary parking structure meant spectators who didn't want to show off could park without getting car-shamed.
No residential neighborhoods were located nearby, meaning few people could make noise complaints—an issue that many early-morning car cruises inevitably face. The first event in attracted cars, and it grew from there. There was never any kind of marketing—a Facebook page exists, but it's not run by any of Cars and Coffee Irvine's core volunteers. Rather, most of the event's buzz came from message postings and social media.
Cars and Coffee popped up a lot on forums, but I didn't think a car show would ever be worth waking up at 6 a. Once there, I realized it was a pretty cool show. During the last few events, they attracted more than double that. In recent months, it's been more like 5 to 9.
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It used to be a lot of Ferraris, but now there's a lot of Porsches, too. We're talking thousands of horsepower. That group has their own area.
I think it was because we were at the Ford performance design center. The connotation brought the muscle-car guys, the Ford guys. Leading up to and immediately after the LA Car Show, car companies showed unreleased cars and concepts at the event—surprises once reserved for auto-trade insiders. Each year, cruise organizers got at least one or two requests for car companies to participate. He grew up admiring the cars of the '50s and developed a love for Ferraris while in dental school in the s.
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The great thing was it didn't matter how successful you were, whether you owned your business or where the decimal point was in your bank account. It was about the love of cars. What mattered was the enthusiasm. A blue Miata, attempting to turn left at the corner of Gateway and Irvine Center Drive, collided with a Ford F driving straight forward.
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The entire front of the Miata was totaled, but its frame stood strong, protecting the occupants. Crushed, the coupe lay in the center of the intersection, unable to move. The truck was also gravely wounded, the lower part of its front grill smashed in, but it managed to be brought to the side of the road, leaking fluids with its last lurches forward. They sprayed the Miata down with fire retardant; one person was taken to the hospital as a precaution. A crowd gathered around the accident, sticking to the sidewalks and crossing the crosswalks to get a better look.
And that's the kind of place and event Cars and Coffee is. Accidents come, and high-priced cars go, but the focus is on the community; you can talk about any aspect of car culture, no matter how mundane, and find an audience more than happy to talk shop.
The showcase vehicles are the initial draw, but you can go to a dealer or online forums for that. People stay for the camaraderie. And there's still hope for it to continue. Rumors of a new venue began popping up immediately after the closure notice became public.