Digital snippets…

With life and work placing an ever-increasing demand upon my spare time, I’ve found myself with less time to devote to my blog. So in an effort to continue providing content to those of you who have been kind enough to become followers and /or subscribers of my blog, I will be altering my format slightly. These changes should get me back on track to providing a greater frequency of blog posts.

So here goes…

In previous posts I’ve written about how external influences can affect one’s photographic inspiration, be it from weather, temperature, lighting, a particular event or even participation in a weekend car show. In many cases the experience, as well as the perceptions during an event can blur. It’s only when uploading the imagery onto the computer and beginning my post production work, that these patterns and the influences become apparent.

Over the past several months,  I’ve experienced this phenomenon multiple times, and the following digital snippets represent the end results of my photographic observations.

Blue porsche 964 turbo_front view_cars&coffee_October 4, 2014

Blue porsche 11 Carrera 3.0 _rear spoiler reflections_cars&coffee_October 4, 2014

Black Porsche 991_3/4 rear view w/reflections_cars&coffee_October 18, 2014

Red Porsche 991 GT3_rear wing endplate with reflections _cars&coffee_October 4, 2014

White 1972 Porsche 911ST recreation_ rear decklid detail_cars&coffee_September 27, 2014

White 1972 Porsche 911ST recreation_ front view_cars&coffee_September 27, 2014

2014 Red Corvette C7_3/4 front view with reflections_cars&coffee_OCtober 18, 2014

Red Corvette C7_front view w/reflections & Ford reserved painted parking space graphic_cars&coffee_October 18, 2014

white 2014 Porsche GT3_3/4 rear oblique angle_cars&coffee_October 18, 20142014 Porsche GT3_rear wing with graphics detail_cars&coffee_October 18, 2014Chevrolet Bel -Air with Chrysler Hemi_3/4 side view_cars&coffee_October 18, 2014

Chevrolet Bel -Air with Chrysler Hemi_motor detail _cars&coffee_October 18, 2014

VW type 2 transporter 21 window safari_3/4 front view w/ reflections_cars&coffee_September 13, 2014

Green late 1950s VW Oval window beetle_front hood reflections_cars&coffee_October 18, 2014

Green late 1950s VW Oval window beetle_hub cap detail_cars&coffee_October 18, 2014

Silver BMW 3.0CSL batmobile _rear trunk lid/holddown shadows_cars&coffee_September 13, 2014

Red 1953 Cadillac Eldorado convertible_front fender detail_cars&coffee_October 18, 2014

Red 1953 Cadillac Eldorado convertible_front grill detail_cars&coffee_October 18, 2014British racing green jaguar E type roadster_Penny Laine fender graphic_cars&coffee_September 13, 2014British racing green jaguar E type roadster_Penny Laine_front view_cars&coffee_September 13, 2014Mercedes Benz 280SL_headlight detail_cars&coffee_September 13, 2014Porsche stablemates_white 964 and blue backdated 911_headlight detail and reflections_cars&coffee_September 13, 2014

Orange Porsche 911ST_thru hood gas cap detail with shadows_cars&coffee_September 27, 2014

Stone gray Porsche 356 SC coupe_hood badge reflections_cars&coffee_September 27, 2014

Stone gray Porsche 356 SC coupe_3/4 front view with reflections_cars&coffee_September 27, 2014

Black 1932 ford highboy roadster_headlight reflections and suspension detail_cars& coffee_

Red Porsche 911SC) 3/4 front oblique view with reflections_cars&coffee_Septermber 27, 2014

2 Porsche 911 hot rods, rgruppe  style_rear view with opened deckles_cars&coffee_September 27, 2014

Orange Porsche 911ST_hood reflections and people shadows_cars&coffee_September 27, 2014Hopefully, my first experiment has not been a total train wreck, and to my kind followers / subscribers, you have found these images to be worthy of your time.

Please stay tuned for my next installment…

(All photos by the author)

 

Advertisements

“If you toast it they will come”; the hot and humid, end of summer spectacular held at Cars&Coffee…

A blast of hot,  humid air hit me as I exited my house and walked to the garage on Saturday morning August 27th. How could it already be so hot and humid at only 5:15 AM? Given that this was Labor Day weekend, I wanted to leave even earlier than usual for cars&coffee, especially because of the potential traffic. And sure enough, I encountered quite a bit more traffic than usual for that hour. But not so much that I couldn’t take advantage of my 270 air conditioning (2 windows down at 70 + mph). I hoped that the temperature down in Irvine would be cooler. When I finally arrived at cars&coffee (at 5:50 AM), there were already quite a few cars gathered, and Porsche row was already near full capacity. Much to my surprise, after exiting my car I once again experienced similar heat and humidity that I had left behind at home. While I was standing in the longer than usual line for my weekly donut and orange juice, I noticed the sign posted across the entry to the “featured lot; a clue to the vehicles that would soon occupy the reserved area.

Nissan Heritage Collection/Nissan Design _show card_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

As I inched my way towards the front of the line, a team from Nissan began passing by, escorting a series of unique, classic Datsun vehicles, to be parked across the back row of the featured lot. By the time I finished breakfast, the entire row was filled and the waiting crowd had begun circulating through these unique vehicles. First up was the 1935 Datsun 14 roadster (# 002) in yellow, as seen below. This was the first model off of Datsun’s assembly line…

1935 Datsun 14 roadster (#002)yellow_3/4 side view _Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

The bunny logo, created for the car by one of its designers.

1935 Datsun 14 roadster (#002)yellow_bunny hood emblem _Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Immediately to its right was this red, 2 seat Datsun “Fairlady roadster, which had served as design inspiration back in the 1970s for the 240Z, and also wore the Fairlady name in Japan.

Red Datsun Fairlady roadster_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_ August 31, 2013

Its sparse, simplistic interior…

Red Datsun Fairlady roadster_interior_Cars&Coffee_ August 31, 2013

Positioned to the right was this Ice Green, 1966 right hand drive Silvia coupe (CSP 311). These cars were produced as a custom model in very limited quantities, from 1965 through 1968.

Ice Green 1966 Sylvia (model CSP 311)_3/4 rear view _Cars&Coffee_ August 31, 2013

Ice Green 1966 Sylvia (model CSP 311)_ rear view, badge and taillight  _Cars&Coffee_ August 31, 2013

The cleanly designed interior, focused on providing the driver with access and visibility to all of the vehicle controls.

Ice Green 1966 Sylvia (model CSP 311)_ interior, right hand drive _Cars&Coffee_ August 31, 2013

Located to the right of the Silvia, painted in red and white, was an example of an early Datsun / Nissan race car. In this case, the vehicle in question was a 1967 R380-II (as seen below), one of their record-setting Sports Prototypes. This R380-II helped contribute to a total of 12 world speed records established by Nissan, between October 1965 and October 1967 along with its predecessor, the R380-I.

Red & white 1967 Nissan R380-ii sports prototype_front view_ Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Below, the R380-II badging as found on the front nose.

Red & white 1967 Nissan R380-ii sports prototype_front nose emblem_ Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Red & white 1967 Nissan R380-ii sports prototype_side view_ Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

After doing some research, I learned that the R380-II was powered by a 1996cc, 6 cylinder motor, producing 220 horsepower. Fuel was feed through 3 Weber 45 DOCE carburetors, with final drive delivered by a 5 speed, ZF transmission.

Red & white 1967 Nissan R380-II sports prototype_3/4 rear view_ Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Another of the Nissan Heritage collection show cards, in this case illustrating a Datsun/Nissan sedan competing against a Porsche 904 Carrera GTS…

Nissan Heritage Collection show card with vintage race photos_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

And what car should show up and park next to the R380-II, than a silver,1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS.

Red & white 1967 Nissan R380-ii sports prototype & silver 1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS_3/4 front view_ Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Parked several cars over to the right was another record-setting vehicle for Datsun; the BRE/Datsun 510 of John Morton which went on to become the 1970-1972,  2.5 liter Trans Am Champion (as seen below).

1970 BRE Datsun 510, John Morton race car_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

The no-frills, BRE / Datsun 510 race car interior, circa 1970…

1970 BRE Datsun 510, John Morton race car_ interior photo_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Parked next to the BRE /Datsun 510, was an example of a 2013 Nissan hot rod; the matte black, Nissan Juke -R.

Matte black 2013 Nissan Juke-R_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Shoe-horned into the engine compartment is a Nissan 3.8 liter, twin turbo charged V-6 motor (sourced from their current GTR model), and putting out 545 HP. These figures translate to a 0-60 time of 3 seconds, with a top speed of 170 MPH.

Matte black 2013 Nissan Juke-R_GTR motor detail_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Matte black 2013 Nissan Juke-R_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Parked perpendicular down the row from the Juke-R was an example of another example of a Nissan cult car; the Skyline GTR, as seen below in silver. This Skyline model line would become a source of corporate DNA from which the designers at Nissan could draw from for use in the creation of their current day Nissan GTR super coupe.

Silver right hand drive Nissan Skyline GTR_ 3/4 front view w/open hood_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Another example of a right hand drive configured interior, and an interesting comparison in design evolution, when compared against the 1966 Datsun Silvia.

Silver right hand drive Nissan Skyline GTR_ interior view_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

The carbon fiber rear wing element and end plate insert…

Silver right hand drive Nissan Skyline GTR_ rear wing detail & endplate_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

and its iconic, rear trunk lid badging.

Silver right hand drive Nissan Skyline GTR_ rear trunk badging detail_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

The view likely seen by its competitors.

Silver right hand drive Nissan Skyline GTR_ rear view_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Parked immediately across from the Nissan display was this pristine black Porsche 993 Carrera coupe, reflecting the morning sky…

Black Porsche 993 Carrera coupe_cloud reflections in hood_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

As I later came to find out, this car actually belonged to one of Nissan’s designers, up from their San Diego Design studio, and on hand for the mornings event.

Black Porsche 993 Carrera coupe_3/4 side view w/ reflections_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

While getting ready to leave the featured lot, I noticed another Porsche parked over in a corner space, several rows behind the black Porsche 993. As I approached, I realized that this particular pale blue 911 was in fact the latest build from Singer Vehicle Design. Finally, my first opportunity to view a Singer 911 in person, rather than online or in the pages of a magazine.

Pale blue Singer Porsche 911_3/4 front view w/ reflections_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

I learned that this particular pale blue, was based upon a reinterpretation by Singer Vehicle Design, of the 1970s Porsche 917, John Wyer Gulf blue.

Pale blue Singer Porsche 911_3/4 side view w/ reflections_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Cloud reflections in the carbon fiber front fenders and hood, along with its center fill, fuel tank cap…

Pale blue Singer Porsche 911_front hood and fender, high cloud reflections_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Pale blue Singer Porsche 911_3/4 rear view with reflections_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Pale blue Singer Porsche 911_rear view with reflections_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Rear deck lid grill in brushed nickel, with its Singer signature drilled glass backer.

Pale blue Singer Porsche 911_rear decklid grill detail_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Pale blue Singer Porsche 911_rear decklid Singer badging_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Pale blue Singer Porsche 911_rear decklid Singer badging_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

The 1967 Porsche 911R inspired, rear fender oil filler, but with a custom designed cap, complete with its etched and paint filled graphic.

Pale blue Singer Porsche 911_right side rear fender reflections and oil filler cap_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

A peek inside the fully customized Singer 911 interior. Having had the opportunity to finally view one of these cars in person, and study the collective package, the Singer 911 definitely lives up to its reputation. The attention to detail found throughout the car, along with the many unique design features incorporated were truly amazing, while still retaining the core attributes established and refined over the past 50 years of Porsche 911 evolution.

Pale blue Singer Porsche 911_interior detail_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

My next stop after an extensive examination of the Singer 911, was over to Porsche row, to check on the mornings participants. With 2013 being the 50th Anniversary of the Porsche 911, there have been a number of early 911s making an appearance at cars&coffee, and this morning was no exception. What initially appeared to be a beautifully detailed black 1966 Porsche 911, revealed itself instead to be a very dark blue (Dunkelblau), perfect for showcasing some amazing reflections; across its front hood…

1966 DunkelBlau 911 coupe_ front view w/ reflections_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

and rear decklid.

1966 DunkelBlau 911 coupe_ rear view w/ reflections_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Leaving Porsche row, I decided to see what other cars had shown up on this incredible morning. Three rows over, and parked out towards the end of the row was another spectacular Porsche; a lowered, Mint Green Porsche 964 C2, rolling on a set of blacked -out, modified BBS modular wheels, apparently the handiwork of the firm Rotiform.

Lowered Mint Green Porsche 964 Carrera 2 coupe_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Lowered Mint Green Porsche 964 Carrera 2 coupe_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Lowered Mint Green Porsche 964 Carrera 2 coupe_rotiform modified black BBS rear wheel_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Parked just one row off and to the right, was another beautifully detailed and lowered, Porsche 964 Carrera 2 in Grand Prix White. It also wore a set of modified BBS modular wheels. However, this owner opted for the stock gold centers, but added custom profiled inner and outer wheel halves. These too appeared to be the work of the firm Rotiform.

Lowered White Porsche 964 Carrera 2 coupe_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Lowered White Porsche 964 Carrera 2 coupe_rotiform modified gold center BBS rear wheel_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

Lowered White Porsche 964 Carrera 2 coupe_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_August 31, 2013

However, the icing on the proverbial Porsche cake for me on this Saturday morning was my encounter with the two vehicles seen below…

Red Porsche 917 recreation with team VW support van_ 3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_ August 31, 2013

This photographic pairing had been something the owner of the VW  bus had been trying to coordinate with the owner of the Red Porsche 917 recreation for months.

Red Porsche 917 recreation with team VW support van_ side view_Cars&Coffee_ August 31, 2013

And with the opening of the VW’s side door, treasures were revealed.

Red Porsche 917 recreation with team VW support van_ spare 917 door panel in open van_Cars&Coffee_ August 31, 2013

A quartet of iconic Porsche 917 doors. For information on these doors, please use the following link to access the race car fine art website (www.CDAutomobilia.com).

Red & white Porsche team VW support van_ spare 917 door panels_Cars&Coffee_ August 31, 2013

Red & white Porsche team VW support van_ spare 917 door panels, # 3, #23_Cars&Coffee_ August 31, 2013 My friend Claude, displaying his van and the 917 #23 door to several videographers present that morning.

1970 Porsche 917 recreation and team VW support van_studying spare 917 door panel_Cars&Coffee_ August 31, 2013

Red 1970 Porsche 917 recreation and team VW support van_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee_ August 31, 2013

This is but one of the many aspects of what makes cars&coffee weekly shows so unique. Where else could you find a photographic recreation, similar to what occurred back in 1970 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans…

(All photos by the author)

Hidden in plain view: the small details overlooked…

Lately, I’ve found myself taking a slightly different approach in photographing the multitude of vehicles present at each weeks Cars&Coffee / Irvine event. With the clear, sunny springtime weather, there has been an abundance of interesting lighting conditions to work with, as well as some amazing, highly polished, curvaceous and reflective vehicle surfaces to study. I’m frequently stopped by vehicle owners or passerbys and asked  “what are you looking at” or “what are you shooting”?  When I show them my captured imagery, the common response is “how did you see that” or” I’ve never would have noticed that”. My response is that it’s just a function of how we look at objects in general, and that when you slow down and take your time to really study an object, the end result can often be very surprising and rewarding.

And now with summer rapidly approaching, there have been a number of winter automotive projects finally seeing the light of day, making their debut under warm, sunny skies.

So with the sun on the rise, I headed off in search of a new batch of photographic subjects.  As I walked down Porsche row, the lighting across the hood of a 1967 911R tribute caught my eye. The combination of the highlights and shadows not only defined the shape and detail lines of the hood, but added further interest in the form of the shadow cast by the centrally located fuel filler cap, with its blood orange stripe providing just the right amount of accent color…

White 1967 Porsche 911R tribute_oblique front hood light & shadows_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_ May 11, 2013

Even shooting a close – up of the amber-colored euro lens covering the Cibie biode headlight internals, revealed an unexpected surprise; the captured reflection of the owner and a fellow Porsche 911 owner discussing the merits of these new headlights.

White 1967 Porsche 911R tribute_amber headlight lens & reflections, fender and hood detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_ May 11, 2013

The early morning light also created the perfect accent across the rear decklid, highlighting its stripe and 911R graphic, and offering a glimpse of the custom fiberglass intakes and water shields residing behind the grill…

White 1967 Porsche 911R tribute_rear decklid_stripe, badge and lighting detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_ May 11, 2013

One of my mornings reflective studies, using a black 2013 Porsche type 991, 911 Carrera S coupe as the subject, showcasing the latest in headlight technology and the by-product of a flawless paint finish.

Black 2013 Porsche 991 Carrera S_headlight, fender and hood reflections_Cars&Coffee/irvine_April 27, 2013

Another graphic display of how shadow, light and foliage effects, when combined can visually enhance the profile and contours as those found on an early 70’s Porsche 911 front hood and fenders (as seen below).

Green 1971 Porsche 911E_front hood and fender lighting, shadows and highlights_ Cars&Coffee/irvine_April 20, 2013

Porsche 914-6 GT reflection captured in the front fender of a black Porsche 993 coupe…

Black Porsche 993_ front fender reflection_Cars&Coffee/irvine_April 20, 2013

A beautifully restored, vintage Chrysler Town & Country convertible, complete with wood cladding on its sides and trunk area as shown. Even the woodwork was finished and polished to a high level matching that of the paint job.

Green vintage Chrysler Town & Country "woody" convertible_wood trimmed rear trunk_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013

And looking closer, these reflective properties were carried over to the vehicles rear fender, which offered up a clue to its surroundings.

Green vintage Chrysler Town & Country "woody" convertible_rear fender reflections facing forward_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013

Up front was another surprise, hiding beneath the opened hood; an immaculate Dodge Viper V-10 motor, transplanted into the engine bay and appearing as if it had been original to this model, as delivered by Chrysler.

Green vintage Chrysler Town & Country "woody" convertible_Viper V-10 motor_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013

Over in the main parking area, I discovered another example of a beautifully restored engine compartment and motor, as found on this 1970’s vintage Chevrolet Camaro…

Yellow 1970's vintage Chevrolet Camaro_engine compartment detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013

and a close – up shot, revealing some very cool reflections captured in the chrome valve cover and breather.

Yellow 1970's vintage Chevrolet Camaro_valve cover reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013

Nothing screams hot rod like highly polished chrome injectors and brightly colored accents, in this case the go fast accessories found within the engine compartment on this black 1962 Corvette (below).

Black 1962 Chevrolet Corvette_ engine details _Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013

A Mercedes – Benz Sedan and a side mirror with a secret…

Mercedes -Benz  sedan_side  mirror reflection_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

A pristine chrome grill and hood emblem, as observed on a beautifully restored,1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL coupe…

White 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL_ front grill and hood emblem detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

including some equally impressive grill and trim reflections.

White 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL_front grill reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

And a full shot of the beautifully restored 280SL, the source of hidden detail.

White 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

(Below), amazing detail awaiting discovery in this contemporary version of the Bentley hood ornament…

Bentley hood emblem_close up_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013Rear window reflections, when viewed from the proper angle…

Red VW panel van with Porsche graphic_side view and reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

Reflecting on several early Porsche 911s…

Black Porsche 911S with white 911R reflection_side view  reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

and an upside reflection, as seen in the hood of a 1987 black Porsche 930 turbo.

Black Porsche 930 turbo with white 911S  targa reflection_upside down reflection in front hood_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

A 1930’s vintage Ford Tudor coupe, capturing its surroundings, via its headlight, paint finish…

1930's vintage Ford Tudor__headlight reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

and its classic, chrome plated Ford radiator /grill surround.

1930's vintage Ford Tudor__chrome grill  reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

The latest iteration of Jaguar badging…

Green 2014 Jaguar F Type V8 S roadster_rear badging_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

as displayed on the back of this brand new, dark green metallic 2014 Jaguar F-type V8 S Roadster.

Green 2014 Jaguar F Type V8 S roadster_rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

A trio of the brand new 2014 F-Type models on display, courtesy of Jaguar.

A trio of 2014 Jaguar F Type roadsters_rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

So the next time you find yourself looking at a car, take an extra moment to stop and look a little closer, as you may be surprised by the hidden details previously overlooked, but now revealed…

(All photos by the author)

Atlas staged, plus a colorful collection of eclectic cars…

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word eclectic as “selecting what appears to be the best in various doctrines, methods or styles”: “composed of elements drawn from various sources”. Both of these definitions were equally appropriate in describing the vehicles that turned out for the Saturday April 27th gathering of Cars & Coffee / Irvine.

On this particular morning, courtesy of the Ford Motor Company, participants were greeted by a concept vehicle on display, staged over in the featured lot. However, instead of a car, the vehicle in question was a concept truck. In this case, a silver Ford “Atlas Concept” crew cab pick up, with an abundance of custom features, including active wheel shutters (shown in their closed position), as visible on the driver’s side wheels…

Silver Ford Atlas Concept_3/4 side view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Silver Ford Atlas Concept_presentation board_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Silver Ford Atlas Concept_front grill detail with reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Wheel shutters in their open position, as seen on the passenger side wheels (below).

Silver Ford Atlas Concept_passenger side wheel with open shutters_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Parked over at the opposite end of the featured lot, the Mercedes-Benz Classics Center was showing several rare, beautifully restored, vintage treasures from their museum…

Mercedes Benz  rear engined coupes_ Classics Center Display_ 3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Mercedes Benz, cream and green  rear engined cabriolet_ Classics Center display_ engine detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

I overheard (while shooting the red model below), that this particular vehicle is a one of one; the only example of this vintage beauty in existence.

Mercedes Benz, red rear engined coupe_ Classics Center display_ rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Mercedes Benz, red rear engined coupe_ Classics Center display_headlight reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Parked just to the right of these two Mercedes, was one very cool and beautifully restored two toned DKW (Auto Union) Schnellaster panel van (aka DKW F89 L), produced from 1949 to 1962 as seen below. These vehicles were initially powered by a 700 cc, two-cylinder, two-stroke motor. Then in 1955, the Schnellaster received an upgrade to three cylinders, increasing the displacement up to 900 cc, good for 32 horsepower!

Two toned green DKW Schnellaster panel van_Rear door badging_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Who copied who? This two toned color palette appeared very similar to color schemes observed on several early 1950’s Volkswagen Type II transporters.

Two toned green DKW Schnellaster panel van_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Over on Porsche row, it was one of those rare mornings that saw 100% occupancy by Porsche models only.  And due to the clear, sunny springtime weather, a truly colorful collection of eclectic Porsches turned out in force…

Porsche row color_stacked side view down entire row_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Porsche row color _3/4 rear view shot down entire row_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Porsche row  _993 turbo wheel detail & reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Porsche row  _Jeff Zwart's  Valvoline Porsche 964 turbo rally car_ 3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Porsche row _Jeff Zwart's  Valvoline Porsche 964 turbo rally car_ front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Porsche row _Jeff Zwart's  Valvoline Porsche 964 turbo rally car_ driving lights and front hood details_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Porsche row color_914-6 and early 911 front ends long shot_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Porsche row color_early  911 front ends & reflections long shot_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Porsche row color_long shot of row, front ends & reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Porsche row color_Tangerine 1970 Porsche 914- 6 _3/4 rear view & reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Porsche row color_long shot of rear ends, side view _Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Porsche row color_white 993 Carrera 4S and 2013 Type 991, 911 Carrera S, side view _Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Situated just opposite of Porsche row, was this spectacular 1970s vintage Datsun 510…

White & blue Datsun 510 coupe _3/4 side view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

with an equally impressive turbocharged motor lurking under the hood, ready to shame any unsuspecting rival.

White & blue Datsun 510 coupe _turbo motor detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

As I continued on my trek through the parking lot, I came across several other Porsches that obviously arrived too late to park along Porsche row…

Irish Green Porsche 911S with amber lensed headlights _ front hood, fender and light detail & reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Irish Green Porsche 911S with amber lensed headlights _ driving light reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Sumner's 1983 India red Porsche 911SC_ rear decklid badge detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Sumner's 1983 red Porsche 911SC_ Mercedes-Benz grill shadowing on door_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

And just two rows over was a collection of Dodge Vipers, three in the blue with white stripe combination. A closer look revealed the center blue viper as one of the brand new 2013 SRT models.

Viper Row_ trio of blue with white striped Dodge viper coupes__2013 SRT in middle_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Representing Ford’s endurance racing efforts from the 1960’s, were these two Ford GT 40 tributes…

Red Ford GT 40 tribute with Gurney/Weslake motor_Rear deck raised_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Red Ford GT 40 tribute_ Gurney/Weslake motor detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Ford GT 40 tribute_ raised rear decklid reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Black Ford GT 40 tribute_ 3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Also encountered and scattered throughout the parking lot, were several beautiful examples representing another of the German marques, in this case BMW…

Red 1973 BMW 3.0 CS coupe_BMW rondel detail _Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Red 1973 BMW 3.0 CS coupe_angled 3/4 rear view _Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

Early silver BMW M3 coupe_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April27, 2013

Representing the Italian manufacturers was a line up of jellybean colored Lamborghini,  parked together out on the very back row.

Lamborghini Row_ jelly bean colors_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

So with summer just around the corner, one can only speculate regarding the possibility of  a Stingray sighting, or when the next Saturday mornings colorful collection of eclectic cars will occur…

(All photos by the author)

Heart of the Sunrise…

The first Cars&Coffee gathering of 2013 dawned cool, crisp and clear, and finally without the threat of rain. Obviously a very welcomed sight for those in attendance Saturday morning.  And gauging by the sheer number of cars in attendance, all were eager to start the new year off in grand style.

So with camera in hand, I headed out in search of my first photographic subject for the new year.  And the clock was ticking; due to a family commitment, I needed to leave early (by 8 am), so I needed to get busy. The cool, clear morning air, combined with the rising sun, made for some incredible lighting conditions, so what better way to kick off the new year than with a shot of a bright shiny red Speedster…

Red Speedster, white Porsche Carrera and a Dragon Green Mica Isuzu vehiCross_sunrise reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013
Black Porsche 356 coupe_front view w/reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013

Black Porsche 356 coupe_side view w/reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013

Porsche row illuminated by the dawning light (above, above and below)…

Black Porsche 356 coupe_side view w/reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013

Nick’s always impressive, silver European spec Porsche 911S, reflected above and in person below…

Silver 1970 Porsche 911S coupe_3/4 front view w/reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013

It seemed that in order to park in this particular section of Porsche row, your car had to be either black or silver, and be parked in an alternating pattern… did anyone else notice  this?

Silver 1955 Porsche Speedster _3/4 front view w/reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013

Even the black Ford Thunderbird convertible, and silver Nissan 370 Z that were parked alongside the silver Speedster, adhered to the Porsche row parking protocol…

Silver 1955 Porsche Speedster & black Porsche 993_3/4 front view w/reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013

Parked directly across the aisle from Porsche row, was this rare black, 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS, configured for right hand drive.

Black 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS_right hand drive model_3/4 front view with reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5. 2013

Flawless, mirror – like early morning reflections, and right hand drive…

Black 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS_right hand drive model_3/4 side view with reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5. 2013

Black 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS_right hand drive interior detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5. 2013

Black 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS_right hand drive model_tilted side view with reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5. 2013

Located several rows over and positioned perpendicular to Porsche row, was one of several  2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4’s ringing in the new year; this one in Arancio Argos (orange)…

2012  Arancio Argos  (Orange) Lamborghini Aventador_front view w/reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013

 2012 Orange (Arancio Argos) Lamborghini Aventador_3/4 front view w/reflections_CArs&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013

Detail of the rear glass louvers, for heat evacuation and protection of the V-12 motor seen lurking below…

2012 Orange (Arancio Argos) Lamborghini Aventador_rear glass louvers w/reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013_DSC_0064

Daytona Gray Pearl Audi R8 V10 coupe_3/4 side view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013Parked at the opposite end of the row, was one of several Audi R8’s in attendance; this particular model in Daytona Gray Pearl, was one of several V10 variants, and wearing a set of custom wheels by Stasis (above and below).

Daytona Gray Pearl Audi R8 V10 coupe_3/4 front view w/ reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013Another of the Audi R8’s in attendance, this one however parked alongside a brilliant red Porsche 911SC, adding a punch of color in contrast to the R8’s matte gray finish…

Red 1983 911 SC and Matte gray Audi R8 coupe_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013

As I made my way through the parking lot, there parked under the tress, and just across from Porsche row, were these two rare Porsche 911s (both of which have graced my previous blog posts individually, but never together until now). First up was the Grand Prix white 1991 Porsche 964 Turbo, and parked immediately behind in Riviera blue, was a true, European model 1996 Porsche 993 Carrera RS Club Sport.

White Porsche 964 turbo & Riviera Blue 993 Carrera RS Club Sport_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013

The 993 Carrera RS Club Sport…  one of only 57 built by Porsche in 1996. For more details and photos of this Porsche 993 Carrera RS Club Sport model, please refer to my previous post via the following link.

1996 Riviera blue, Porsche 993 Carrera RS Club Sport_3/4 side view w/ reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013

The newly established Lotus row (below), rapidly establishing itself over that past several weeks, with an ever-increasing number of Evora’s and Elise in attendance each week…

The new Lotus row_Evora's and Elise_3/4 rear views_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5, 2013

Parked amidst it German brethren, was this beautifully restored, early 1960s vintage Gray Mercedes-Benz 300 D Automatic, 4 door Cabriolet as seen below.

1960-1962 Gray Mercedes Benz 300 Automatic Cabriolet D_Rear view w/ reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5. 2103

Early morning reflections captured in flawless paint and chrome trim (above and below).

1960-1962 Gray Mercedes Benz 300 Automatic Cabriolet D_Rear trunk & bumper reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5. 2013Even the motor and engine compartment were showroom fresh, and as highly detailed as the rest of the car.

1960-1962 Gray Mercedes Benz 300 Automatic Cabriolet D_motor detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5. 2013 1960-1962 Gray Mercedes Benz 300 Automatic Cabriolet D_angled side view w/ reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5. 2013The convertible top and its external chrome plated hinge with reflections…

1960-1962 Gray Mercedes Benz 300 Automatic Cabriolet D_External chromed convertible top hinge w/ reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5. 20131960-1962 Gray Mercedes Benz 300 Automatic Cabriolet D_External chromed convertible top hinge / lower pivot point reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_January 5. 2013

Nothing like a whirlwind tour of Cars&Coffee in less than two hours, to start off the new year and answer the challenge of trying to capture a good cross-section of vehicles present for the first show of 2013. So here’s to recording and sharing the next 51 weeks worth of Southern California-based automotive events…

(All photos by the author)

“When everything is art, you’ve gotta take it in”…

On Saturday November 3,  those of us here in Southern California experienced another weekend of extended summer like weather. As a result, those in attendance at Cars&Coffee were treated to a truly eclectic gathering of automobiles.

With such a diverse cross-section of vehicles represented, I really felt as if I were walking through an outdoor art gallery, experiencing row after row of 4 wheeled art and sculpture. And with each new row, the experience resembled that of entering a new and different wing within a museum, and discovering the treasures within. And that was exactly the type of experience that would unfold before me that morning.

My first stop of the morning, with illumination courtesy of the rising sun, was with these two examples of classic, post WWII automotive art; in this case a pair of 1930’s vintage, American bred hot rods…

A pair of custom 1930s vintage hot rods_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

 1930s Custom hot rod pickup truck_engine detail_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

The 5 window coupe’s motor (as seen below).

 1930s vintage Hot Rod custom 5 window coupe_engine detail_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

The pickup truck even displayed what appeared to be a flying eyeball hood ornament, perhaps influenced by the famous flying eyeball logo /graphic created by California pin striping legend Von Dutch (below)…

Custom 1930s hot rod pickup truck_flying eyeball hood ornament _Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Over at the featured lot, I encountered this beautiful British Racing Green Jaguar, with its sculpted curves being accentuated by some amazing reflections, courtesy of the early morning light.

British Racing Green 1957 Jaguar D type, XKSS roadster_front view_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

There was no mistaking the origins of this particular model due to its unique design, and the badge on the front hood only reinforced the fact that parked before me was one of the very rare,1957 Jaguar D-type XKSS roadsters.

British Racing Green 1957 Jaguar D type, XKSS roadster_hood emblem_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

With the sunrise and reflections both working their magic, the shapes and contours of the front hood and fenders were beautifully displayed, and further illustrated the sculptural impact to the styling of this car.

British Racing Green 1957 Jaguar D type, XKSS roadster_early morning reflections across hood_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012 British Racing Green 1957 Jaguar D type, XKSS roadster_wheel and center knock-off detail_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Even when viewed from behind, the subtle contours of the body along with the angular, almost pinched profile of the side windows were further revealed and accentuated by the early morning sunrise.

British Racing Green 1957 Jaguar D type, XKSS roadster_early morning reflections/rear view_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Seeing this car in person brought to mind a magazine article I remembered reading years ago about Steve McQueen, in which the author described his ownership of a 1957 Jaguar XKSS. The article had mentioned several specific modifications that McQueen had made to his car. The first was to repaint the car a proper British Racing Green. The second was to add a locking door to the glove box cubby in the dashboard ( the cars were delivered without glove box doors). McQueen turned to one of his friends (Pin striper Von Dutch) for the fabrication of a locking glove box door, to correct the oversight by Jaguar. The third modification made was to have the original interior kept stock, but to have the upholstery  redone in black leather, by none other than the Southern California-based drag racer turned custom car upholsterer Tony Nancy.  This particular car parked in front of me possessed all of the aforementioned details, so the question remained; could this car be the ex-Steve McQueen Jaguar XKSS?

(Postscript: After publishing this post, I received an email from the owner of the XKSS one week later, wanting to clarify the origins of his car. I learned that it is in fact an XKSS re-creation, and not an original model. The amazing fiberglass body was created by Realm Engineering, located in the U.K., and is mounted to a Reynard Racing chassis, specified with Jaguar running gear. Power is produced by a 4.2 liter Jaguar motor, pumping out 300 horsepower, and is transferred to the rear wheels via a Tremec 5 speed transmission. Seeing this car in person puts the automotive re-creation industry in a whole new light).

British Racing Green 1957 Jaguar D type, XKSS roadster_steering wheel and dash detail_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

My next stop would be to Porsche row, for my weekly visit.

Vintage Porsches all in a row_1970 914-6 and early 911s_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

A trio of early Porsche 911s, with the outer two displaying the optional Lietz roof racks…

1970s model Porsche 911s with classic roof racks_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Caught in the middle; the white, 1972 911 RGruppe GT 2.7 coupe, complete with its unique, rear quarter window graphic.

Grand Prix white, 1972 Porsche 911 RGruppe GT 2.7_oil filler door & side reflections_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Grand Prix white, 1972 Porsche 911 RGruppe GT 2.7_green hell window sticker_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

The early 911 triplets as seen below (foreground to background)- 1969 911E, 1972 911 GT, and 1973 911E.

A trio of Porsche 911s- 1969 E, 1972 GT, 1973 E_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Located several rows over to the East, and down the aisle from the weekly Mercedes-Benz 190SL enclave, I discovered this trio of classic Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The first example (as seen below), in red and black, turned out to be a pre-war 1936 Mercedes-Benz 230 W-143 Cabriolet B; a spectacular and beautifully restored, touring car.

Red & Black 1936 Mercedes Benz 230 W-143 Cabriolet B_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Red & Black 1936 Mercedes Benz 230 W-143 Cabriolet B_headlight & grill reflections_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Red & Black 1936 Mercedes Benz 230 W-143 Cabriolet B_headlight & fender reflections_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Sandwiched in-between the other two Mercedes-Benz vehicles, was this Ivory colored, 1930s vintage two-seat roadster with red interior, also appearing to have been restored.

Ivory colored, 1930s vintage Mercedes Benz roadster_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Parked immediately to the right was what appeared to be a model 260D, W-138 series sedan, also sporting a two toned paint finish, in green with black fenders.

Green & Black (1936-1940),Mercedes Benz 260 D, W-138 series sedan_hood, grill and badging reflections_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

What made the 260 D model unique was that the D designation represented a diesel engined vehicle, and made this particular model the first diesel engined, series produced passenger car. And according to the Mercedes-Benz records, only 2000 of these vehicles were built between 1936 and 1940, at which time their production was stopped due to the war. All three of these cars literally looked like they had just rolled off of a Mercedes-Benz showroom floor.

Green & Black (1936-1940), Mercedes Benz 260 D, W-138 series sedan_hood and side mirror reflections_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

As I continued my trek through the “gallery”, a white, early model Porsche 911 caught my eye, so I walked over to get a closer look ( see below). I had seen this car arrive earlier that morning, and remembered a comment made by a friend standing over on Porsche Row regarding its exhaust note. He stated that this particular car sounded exactly how a Porsche 911 engine should sound; Tight and clear with a smooth idle, and without any extraneous noise or valve clatter. And anyone who has been around or is familiar with Porsche 911s, will know the specific sound I’ve described.

I soon realized that there was something familiar about this car; I had seen it before, but could not remember where. It was then that the owner came over and introduced himself, as I was photographing the motor. I quickly learned that this car had been previously owned by one of the two founding members of the Porsche car club “RGruppe”, and after being shown an article written years ago in Excellence magazine about this very car and two other 911s, it hit me. That was where I has seen this car before, having read the same article, and obviously it had made an impression.

As a result of this cars previous ownership, this car was equipted with many of the cool, go fast Motorsports purposed, Porsche factory parts. This car would become a visual blueprint used by many a Porsche owner who aspired to building their own unique version of an RGruppe inspired, pre 1974 Porsche 911.

White 1969 Porsche 911S_ founding member of RGruppe car club's personal car_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Up front, an example of the custom finished, Porsche factory, 911R inspired “Deep 6” Fuchs alloy wheel.

White 1969 Porsche 911S_ founding member of RGruppe car club's personal car_custom finished deep 6 Fuchs alloy wheel_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Race inspired, door mounted Talbot mirror…

White 1969 Porsche 911S_ founding member of RGruppe car club's personal car_reflection in Talbot racing side mirror_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Shown below is the performance inspired interior; from the 911R styled, light weight door panels and pulls, to the Recaro sports seats for the driver and passenger, a Prototipo racing steering wheel (complete with the proper patina), and the removal of the radio, with a filler panel added and the void covered over. Even the speedometer and tachometer have been rotated to the left, to allow for the monitoring of critical vehicle speed and engine RPM at a glance; each gauge had been set in order to peg its orange needle at the twelve o’clock position).

White 1969 Porsche 911S_ founding member of RGruppe car club's personal car_interior_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012A 1969 Porsche 911S, 2.2 liter motor with mechanical fuel injection (as seen below)…

White 1969 Porsche 911S_ founding member of RGruppe car club's personal car_engine detail_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Even the rear deck lid was given the RGruppe treatment. The stock, factory dimensional rear badging was removed, and replaced by adhesive backed vinyl graphics, once again taking inspiration from the early Porsche 911 race cars…

White 1969 Porsche 911S_ founding member of RGruppe car club's personal car_rear deck lid with applied graphics_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

My last stop of the morning was to check out this stunning Orange, 2007 Porsche GT3RS.  With the crowds and cars having thinned, I was able to move around and photograph the GT3RS without interference.

Orange 2007 Porsche GT3RS_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

The lighting by mid morning created some incredible highlights, reflections and shadows, and created the visual impression of an airbrushed rendering.

Orange 2007 Porsche GT3RS_rear fender, partial wheel & cast shadow_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012A study of light; Ground plane shadows, highlights to define shape and contour, and an ultra reflective carbon fiber rear wing…

Orange 2007 Porsche GT3RS_rear wing reflections & shadow_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

Form follows function; the GT3RS rear wing.  Purpose built for speed, generating downforce and capturing hidden reflections (see below)…

Orange 2007 Porsche GT3RS_rear wing with underside reflections _Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

My last shot of the morning and one of my favorite from the November 3rd event. The sunlight really brought this color to life, and showcased the collective styling cues unique to the GT3RS, re-stating the obvious: There is no substitute.

Orange 2007 Porsche GT3RS_3/4 rear view with reflections_Cars&Coffee_November 3, 2012

So should you find yourself in need of some artistic inspiration on a Saturday morning, come take a stroll through the automotive galley known locally as Cars&Coffee. You won’t be disappointed…

(All photos by the author)

Something Wicked This Way Comes …

As noted in my last post, Saturday June 2nd promised to be a very interesting morning at Cars&Coffee/Irvine, especially in light of Mercedes-Benz being selected as the weeks featured marque.  On my drive down to Irvine that morning, I found myself taking a mental inventory of the different 300 SL Gullwings that I had encountered in the past (since they are on my all time favorite cars list), and wondering just how many of those same cars might be on display. Saturday morning would also be an opportunity for the select owners within the Mercedes-Benz community to exercise their supercars, such as the Vision SLR, AMG SLS, and the CLK AMG Black series coupes, and to share them with the spectators for the morning.

By the time I arrived at the event, there was already a line of Mercedes-Benz stretching all the way out of the parking lot, queued up single file and waiting to enter the featured lot. Non- Mercedes traffic was being waved over to the left side of the entrance, in order to avoid this early morning traffic jam. Once I cleared this bottleneck, I quickly found a space, parked the car and headed off to grab a quick bite. After visiting with several of my RGruppe friends (all the while finishing my donut), it was time once again to grab my camera and head off into the crowd that was building over at the featured lot.

As I picked my way through the crowd, the first Mercedes-Benz I came across was this beautiful 300 SL roadster, with its hard top in place, in pale yellow  with red interior. And if I’m not mistaken, this was the first time this particular 300 SL has been displayed at Cars&Coffee.

Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_Pale yellow with red interior_side view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_Pale yellow with red interior_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_Pale yellow with red interior_interior view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_Pale yellow with red interior_side vent detail_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

And parked just behind this pale yellow 300 SL hard topped roadster, was a collection of five 300 SL’s; three Gullwing coupes and two roadsters. The white Gullwing seen below was the only one from this grouping to be actively campaigned in vintage racing.  Externally, the visual clues to this cars alter ego was the removal of the front bumper, the application of racing numbers and a large collection of technical inspection stickers proudly displayed on the driver’s side corner of the windshield. Internally, the clues were equally as obvious; the inclusion of a roll bar, fire extinguisher and racing belts.

White Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_race car_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

White Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_race car_interior view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

White Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_race car_dashboard detail_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

White Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_race car_windshield sticker details_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Immediately to the right was the first of the two 300 SL roadsters, this one in red.

Red Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_drivers side detail_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

 Mercedes Benz 300SL row_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Red Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

And to its right (as seen below) was the second Gullwing coupe, wearing a set of rare Rudge knock-off wheels…

Red Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_3/4 front view  with rudge knock-off wheels_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Red Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_front grill with reflections_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

And this Gullwing’s engine compartment was just as clean and detailed as the rest of the car.

Red Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_motor detail_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

And one space over to the right sat the second 300 SL roadster; this one in a rich slate blue, equipped with european headlights.

Slate blue Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Slate blue Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_3/4 rear view with reflections_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Slate blue Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_interior detail shot_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

The last 300 SL parked on the row was this stunning dark blue on tan Gullwing coupe.

Dark blue Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_3/4 front view with opened hood and doors_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

 Another of the immaculately detailed engine compartments.

Dark blue Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_engine compartment / motor detail_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

The car’s interior was equally as impressive as its exterior; from the tan leather appointed trim, to its leather seats with plaid patterned inserts, matching fitted luggage and tie-down straps.

Dark blue Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_interior shot of seats and luggage_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Dark blue Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_interior shot of dashboard_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

The paint job and overall finish on this car was equally mind-blowing; the color depending upon the lighting, appeared as either a very dark blue or a bluish black. I had a chance to ask the owner about this unique color and its spec name, and with a straight face he responded “its blue”… I followed that up by stating that it looked allot darker than any of the other Mercedes-Benz blues that I have seen. He then confessed that this particular shade of blue was in fact a custom color that he created, to insure that there would not be  another 300 SL Gullwing coupe painted this same color. The dark blue finish also lent itself well as a medium for capturing some incredible reflections across its flawless contours.

Dark blue Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_rear view with reflections_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Dark blue Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_rear trunk, badging and reflections _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Ironically, as spectacular as this group of 300 SL’s were, there was still one more surprise awaiting. And what a surprise…

Parked on the outside of the median, just opposite of the 300 SL row, was this amazing silver 2012 Mercedes-Benz race car.

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_front view_Cars&Coffee_JUne 2, 2012

My first impression was that this must be a Mercedes-Benz spin-off model from the German DTM racing series.

However, after reading the biography information provided on the clear acrylic display,  I quickly learned that this car had been purpose-built to compete in the American based Pirelli World Challenge GT series, by the local Huntington Beach, California firm MBBS Racing, and their affiliate Evosport Engineering.

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_vehicle specifications sheet_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

While walking around the car and after shooting it from a variety of different angles, I struck up a conversation with one of the team members standing nearby. It turned out that the gentleman (Evan Chance) was in fact the race engineer /sub assembly specialist for the team, who was kind enough to share some of the back story regarding this car and the MBBS Racing / Evosport Engineering race team. During our conversation, I was introduced to Craig Stanton, the teams Lead driver and Development Manager, who is a very successful Southern California-based road racer. Craig also has the challenging task of monitoring all of the racing activities to be undertaken by Evosport Engineering.

Shortly after meeting and talking with Craig, I was then introduced to Simon Atik, a team Principal, who shared with me his and the teams excitement in building this Mercedes-Benz race car. He spoke of the teams amazing opportunity to debut a Mercedes-Benz race car into a major U.S. racing series, and the chance to compete against the Cadillac CTS/V, Volvo S60 and the Porsche GT3 Cup car; all competitors in the premier level GT class.

Evan then asked if I would like to take a closer look at the car, and in response to my reply, proceeded to open up the doors and then the rear trunk, explaining many of the details and features as we went…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Craig Stanton’s office…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_cockpit view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_tail light, spoiler lip detail and rear wing strut_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012Out back, beneath the rear carbon fiber spoiler and massive trunk mounted rear wing, were some amazing race components…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_rear trunk detail_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Mounted on top of and plumbed off of the fuel cell was the fuel pump and filter, and framing each side of the centrally mounted fuel cell were the remote pressure reservoirs for the MCS rear shock absorbers. And the long blue anodized cylinder, mounted just to the right of the fuel cell is an accusump unit; a pressurized dry sump oil tank that will provide supplemental lubrication to the 6.3 liter V8 race motor under severe racing conditions.

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_rear trunk detail close up_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_CC Wheel race wheel,Pirelli tire and StopTech brake assembly_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Evan then mentioned that the team was just several weeks away from a test session up at Buttonwillow ( a race track located 28 mile northwest of Bakersfield, California), and how much the entire team was looking forward to getting the car out onto the track. He also stated that their goal is to have the car race ready for the last several Pirelli World Challenge GT races of this season.

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_passenger side view of interior_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

With the event winding down, and as the crowds began to thin, it was time to button up the Mercedes and load it back into the transporter…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_low 3/4 front  view _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_Craig and Evan pushing the car to the transporter _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Evan (below), waiting for the transporter lift gate to be lowered…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_ Evan waiting for transporter _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012The Evosport transporter…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ loading onto transporter liftgate _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ loading into transporter _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ team along for the ride _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ team along for the ride2 _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Even the undercarriage displayed the same attention to detail and finish as the rest of the car…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ undercarriage detail,rear view _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ loading into upper level of transporter _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ rear evosport badge detail _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Based upon my conversations with the team, and having witnessed firsthand the thoroughness and attention to detail paid in the building of this race car, this is going to be a team to be reckoned with, and one that will quickly become a threat to the competition.  Stay tuned for future progress reports relating to this team…

I’d also like to give author Ray Bradbury (who passed away Tuesday, June 5) credit for the inspiration behind this weeks blog post title, taken from his 1962 book by the same name…

(All photos by the author)