We get a lot of questions - and when I say a lot, I mean its one of our number one requests on Facebook and Instagram about what happened to Cars and Coffee and when is it coming back?
A Bit of History
Most people point to California as the start of it - the sun, the beaches, lots of cars of all types and an organic meet up of enthusiasts that didn't want all the formality of car shows. Most started as a group of like minded people getting together in a parking lot on a weekend to show off what they owned and chat. Pretty much a couple of people grabbing a coffee and gabbing about cars.
One of the other features was that anybody could go. You didn't have to have a Ferrari F50 or a numbers matching Hemi 'Cuda to go. It avoided all the stuffiness and elitism that came with a high end auction house or car show with all the registration and pedigree display etc. If you were into your hopped up Ford Fiesta or your work in progress muscle car, rat rod or whatever you enjoyed you brought it.
Then something curious happened - the get togethers went from a few cars in a parking lot to much larger events where you could find a slammed Civic next to a Lamborghinis, Porsches, Mazdas etc.
Social Media - why it made events huge, and also led to their demise
One of the reasons why cars and coffee suddenly got big with an eclectic mix of people and cars was simple: Social Media. Suddenly everyone knew when the meets happened. You could see the cars online or take a photo and post them to your own account. The need for 'likes' changed the dynamic of the experience and every cars and coffee meet suffered from its own success. Venues that once had a dozen cars, now were hosting hundreds and large crowds. With that came the need for some 'enthusiasts' to push the envelope further and further, from burnouts to engine redline revs. and the inevitable crashes. Across the States and Canada cars and coffees were either moving venues or shutting down.
Our Own Experience
Ours wasn't that different from any other cars and coffee show, we had great turnouts with the vast majority enjoying it and being respectful. I say the vast majority with the exception of those that did the inevitable burnouts or wanted to show off 0 to 60 times. A quick search of YouTube will show you some of them and we had a lot of complaints. Above all, we also have a responsibility to the community and the attendees. Our shop is in a mixed commercial and residential area and the main road has a fair bit of traffic. Unfortunately the actions of a few caused us to make the decision to cancel it.
We have actually looked at bringing it back - but there are a few challenges.
How do we keep that original concept of cars and coffee without having to have it 'chaperoned'? Pay duty police take away from the spirit of enthusiasts getting together and quite honestly its cost prohibitive. Some have suggested that we charge an entrance fee but once again that changes the dynamic away from the spirit of it. Others have suggested a donation to a charity but that too comes with all of the administration and registration overhead. We already know of the demise of a few others, like 519Drives etc. for similar reasons.
For us, the liability and equally important, the responsibility, we have to the public, the attendees and the residents of the area just don't outweigh the benefits of having it. Additionally we are changing our facilities and adding more driveways, parking and will be having a new tenant on the adjacent property (see our previous posts).
Now you know.