Cars & Coffee, The Original


Cars & Coffee, The Original

By Khiem Dinh

Khiem Dinh is an engineer for Honeywell Turbo Technologies at the time of this writing.  All statements and opinions expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies.

The original Cars & Coffee in Southern California is the one must-do car gathering for anyone that has fuel in their veins.  C&C is special because every type of vehicle from the beginning of vehicles shows up.  What started as a small gathering of gear heads early on a Saturday morning for a cup of joe (hence, the cars and the coffee) has morphed into something much bigger.  C&C originally met at a shopping plaza in Crystal Cove, California off of Pacific Coast Highway.  After a few years, C&C outgrew the size of the lot and also pissed off the residents in the condos overlooking the shopping plaza; apparently, not everyone appreciates the sound of a flat plane crank V8 Ferrari, a 427ci V8 Shelby, or a V12 Lamborghini at 7am in the morning.  As is often the case with change, the end result was much better for it.

With the news of the impending eviction of C&C from Crystal Cove, Ford Motor Company stepped up and provided a new location for the gathering in Irvine.  At the time, Ford had a large campus holding its Premier Auto Group (Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Volvo) building and also a Mazda building in a non-residential area with huge parking lots (the show car lot) and also a large parking garage (spectator parking).  The PAG building is now owned by Taco Bell (oddly reminds me of the movie Demolition Man), but Mazda still holds its building on the campus.


(Please excuse the crappy cell phone pictures.  I was up at 545am to make the 45 minute drive.)  This past Labor Day weekend, Infiniti reserved the ‘small’ lot.  A large number of G coupes and sedans filled the lot sporting turbo kits, superchargers, body kits, and every type of accessory you could expect on show cars.  These are actually not the typical type of vehicles that shows up to C&C, so I figured it was just a car club making an appearance.  But then I walked a little further down….

The ‘show’ lot can hold a few hundred cars.  Within the show lot is a smaller lot at the entrance which is reserved each week for specific car makes or events; the OEMs have caught onto this and often use the lot to bring out prototypes and pre-production models to display.  Though the main show lot holds hundreds of cars, it often fills up forcing any would-be presenter to park in the spectator parking garage.  How many car gatherings do you go to where a Porsche 911 GT3RS is regulated to the spectator lot?  If you want to get into the show lot to display your vehicle, you better get there around 6am.


Infiniti brought out Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull F1 car!  Red Bull has been parading the car around the US to hype up the US Grand Prix next year in Austin, Texas.  Infiniti is in F1?  Well…… The car is powered by Renault who has Carlos Ghosn as its CEO.  Ghosn also happens to run Nissan and Infiniti is part of Nissan.  Infiniti is making a big push to gain market share in Europe, so there ya go.

Why do the top F1 teams have hundreds of employees and spend hundreds of millions a year?  In order to have the ability to design stuff like this front wing.  I can only imagine the resources required to do the CFD analysis and then bringing in the manufacturing side to produce it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *