Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light…

As a by-product of the unusually cold, clear mornings that Southern California has been experiencing, mother nature has produced some amazing lighting, which in turn translates to the beautiful highlights and reflections draped across a variety of vehicles present at cars&coffee/Irvine.

The following photos represent yet another opportunity for me to study and record the unique automotive highlights, reflections and illuminated details, as represented by the photos below…

Silver Porsche 356 A outlaw coupe_rear deckled, louvers & reflections_cars&coffee_November 30, 2013

Rear deck lid with punched in louvers in classic “356 Outlaw” style.

Silver Porsche 356 A outlaw coupe_saddle leather interior and door reflections_cars&coffee_November 30, 2013

An incredible interior produced in saddle colored leather (as seen above). The scent of the leather instantly reminded me of sitting in my grandfather’s 1950’s vintage Mercedes-Benz cabriolet as a little kid, surrounded by its aromatic, red leather interior.

Silver Porsche 356 A outlaw coupe_fender mounted rear view mirror reflections_cars&coffee_November 30, 2013

Even the fuel tank located in the front trunk ( below) was finished to the same level of detail as the silver exterior. The finish on the fuel tank shone like a mirror, recreating the images of the sky and cloud cover floating overhead.

Silver Porsche 356 A outlaw coupe_front trunk with gas tank reflections_cars&coffee_November 30, 2013

A brand new 2014 Porsche 991 coupe, resplendent in Riviera Blue. According to the owner (who arranged for european delivery of this special order Type 991), and upon receipt of his car in Stuttgart, was told by Porsche that this is the only 991 that has been painted Riviera Blue… how cool is that!

2014 Riviera Blue Porsche 991 with Aerokit Cup option_3/4 front view_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

Highlights and cloud reflections…

2014 Riviera Blue Porsche 991 with Aerokit Cup option_ front hood with cloud reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

A close-up view of the 2014 Porsche big red calipers and massive cross drilled rotors, wrapped by a 20 inch Carrera S wheel, complete in its painted (optional) Platinum Satin finish.

2014 Riviera Blue Porsche 991 with Aerokit Cup option_ 20" Carrera S wheel in Platinum Satin finish and big red brake caliper_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

A view of the optional Aerokit Cup package rear wing, and selected (optional) “Porsche 911” rear badging.

2014 Riviera Blue Porsche 991 with Aerokit Cup option_ rear view of rear wing and optional 911 badging with cloud reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

Parked among the group along Porsche row were multiple examples of 1970s vintage 914 models. In this case, the front hood of a restored tangerine colored Porsche 914-6, bathed in reflections.

tangerine colored Porsche 914-6_ front hood reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

My next stop would be at the Featured lot, where on this morning I encountered the stunning Jaguar XK-150 roadster seen below, parked amidst a row of Corvettes, and reflecting on its surroundings.

British Racing Green Jaguar XK-150_ front end reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

A close up of the XK-150s hood ornament and front grill badging.

British Racing Green Jaguar XK-150_ hood emblem, partial grill & reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

On the other side of the Featured lot were these two, brand new 2014 Porsche 991s courtesy of Walter’s Porsche from Riverside. The 911 Carrera 4S cabriolet as seen below, turned out to have been painted a very unique, and special order color. The color in question turned out to be Stone Gray, which was originally offered as a “special order color”, during the 1957 through 1959 Porsche 356 model years.

2014 Stone gray Porsche 991 Carrera 4S_ 3/4 front view_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

Another visible cue used for identifying a Type 991 Carrera 4S; the red, horizontal reflector strip, bridging the gap between the rear tail lights, and inset just below the rear deck lid.

2014 Stone gray Porsche 991 Carrera 4S_ rear view with reflections view_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

Making a rare appearance at cars&coffee was this black (Nero Pastello) Ferrari 599 as seen below. One could not ask for a better color on a 599, for showcasing the incredible reflections wrapping themselves across the striking contours of the bodywork.

Black Ferrari 599 coupe_front view_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

Even the side mirrors held surprises for anyone willing to stop and take the time to study the variety of details found across the Ferrari.

Black Ferrari 599 coupe_side mirror reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

The Ferrari 599 stealth fighter at rest, basking in the morning’s light…

Black Ferrari 599 coupe_side view with reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

Returning to Porsche row, I came across another frequent visitor; this beautiful Irish Green 1968 Porsche 912, complete with reflections defining the contours of its front hood and fenders.

1968 Irish Green Porsche 912_hood reflections_Cars&coffee/Irvine_November 30, 2013

One of the late arrivals to the featured lot seen below. A black Ford GT 40 Mk II recreation, shining like a mirror, enhanced by the spectacular, form defining reflections.

Black Ford MK 2 GT 40 recreation_3/4 rear fender view_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

And last but not least, a beautifully maintained, India Red Porsche 911 SC, complete with its German license plate below.

India Red Porsche 911SC coupe_front view_cars&coffee/irvine_November 30, 2013

Come to think of it, I did see a large, jolly looking man in a red coat and white beard  casually walking through the crowd that morning. Could this license plate be a clue to his identity?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all…

(All photos by the author)

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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)

“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)

“I Keep Holdin’ on to Yesterday”…

My title for this post came from what I perceived as the theme for last weeks gathering at Cars&Coffee, and reinforced after recently hearing the song with the same title by the 1970s group Ambrosia. Saturday morning May 26th definitely had a nostalgic feel to it, given the sheer number of vintage cars that were in attendance.

This was especially true regarding the first pair of vehicles I encountered that morning; a Dove Blue Volkswagen type II transporter, parked alongside a pale yellow Porsche 356 A coupe. This setting looked like a scene straight out of the 1950s…

Dove blue VW type II transporter and pale yellow Porsche 356 A coupe_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

Dove blue VW type II transporter _rear view_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

Dove blue VW type II transporter _rear view details_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

And just two cars to the west of this pairing sat another classic; a black, 1950s vintage Porsche 356 A coupe. In addition to having a flawless paint finish, the car possessed a very interesting  interior; one that was finished and detailed in green leather. Combined with its charcoal gray carpet, it made for a very interesting color combination. The green leather actually worked quite well with the black exterior, though not a color combination one normally associates with a black car.

Black Porsche 356A coupe w/green interior_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

Black Porsche 356A coupe w/green interior_interior shot-drivers side_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

From the outside, it was obvious that a lot of time had been spent on body work; addressing panel gaps, hours of block sanding and the laying down of a mirror like paint finish. The reflections alone were incredible, with body panels as smooth as glass, another testament to the amount of care given to the prep work. And the chrome trim installed was just as pristine as the rest of the car.

Black Porsche 356A coupe w/green interior_front fender reflections_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

Black Porsche 356A coupe w/green interior_front view with reflections_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

And out back, the reflections were just as amazing.

Black Porsche 356A coupe w/green interior_3/4 rear view with reflections_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

Black Porsche 356A coupe w/green interior_3/4 side view with reflections_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

My next stop was just across the aisle at Porsche row, to check out the mornings assembled participants.

Orange 1970 Porsche 914-6_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

My first subject on Porsche row was this beautifully restored, orange 1970 Porsche 914-6. While I was standing at the back of the car, studying the reflections and colors visible across the rear decklid and bumper, the owner approached and suggested I take a look up front, as he had an interesting detail to share.

Orange 1970 Porsche 914-6_front view with raised headlights_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

Once I was positioned up front, and with a twist of the key, the owner powered up the electrical system and up popped the headlights. It turned out that the mystery detail was the white headlight trim bezels (as seen above and below), which are incredibly rare, and as I came to learn, were only sourced from 1970 through 1972. By 1973, Porsche switched over to using only black trim bezels.  These were the first white bezels I think I had ever seen on a Porsche 914, let alone on a 914-6, but because of the meticulous concours preparation that this car has undergone, I would expect nothing less than absolute period-correctness. I also received some additional design insight into the origins of the pop-up headlights as used on the 914. Apparently Porsches original design for the 914 had the headlights located just below the bumper (where the fog lights wound up being located), but because of the United States headlight height laws, it became apparent that the original location would not work. Porsche returned to the drawing board and came up with an ingenious solution; pop up headlights. By positioning them above the bumper, at the corners of the front hood, once raised their centerline height was almost identical to that of the 1970 model year Porsche 911s. They now had a design which would be in compliance with the U.S. headlight height law.

(This same design concept would reappear, repurposed for 1977, incorporated into the design of the brand new Porsche 928).

Orange 1970 Porsche 914-6_front headlight with white trim bezel_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

My next stop was over at the “Featured lot”, which on this morning hosted an eclectic mix of automobiles. Tucked away in a corner parking spot, sat this burgundy over tan, “coffin nosed” 1937 Cord 812 convertible, as seen below.

From a historical standpoint, the Cord was the first American front wheel drive vehicle produced, which also included the use of an independent front suspension. Cord produced two different models over a two-year period; the model 810 in 1936, powered by a 289 cubic inch motor.

Burgundy 1937 Cord 812 convertible with tan interior_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

Burgundy 1937 Cord 812 convertible with tan interior_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

Burgundy 1937 Cord 812 convertible with tan interior_interior view_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

For 1937, the model 812 was built, which added a supercharger to the base 289 motor, bumping up the horsepower figure to 170, well over the stock motors rating of 125 hp.

Burgundy 1937 Cord 812 convertible_side view of pontoon fender_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

Burgundy 1937 Cord 812 convertible_detail of pontoon fender, exhaust pipes and reflections_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

The key design feature used to identify a Cord 812 from an 810 model were the external, dual chrome plated exhaust pipes that exited out the sides of the front cowl, merging into the cars pontoon front fenders (as seen above and below).

Burgundy 1937 Cord 812 convertible_detail of pontoon fender, engine, exhaust pipes and reflections_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

British Racing Green Jaguar E Type roadster race car_front view_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

Parked just across the row and facing towards the Cord, was this beautifully prepared, modified British Racing Green Jaguar E Type roadster, one of several Jaguars on display. This car is still campaigned in vintage racing events, and on this morning was being displayed complete with a drivers helmet resting in the interior.

British Racing Green Jaguar E Type roadster race car_cockpit view_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

British Racing Green Jaguar E Type roadster race car_cockpit view with F 1 helmet detail_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

I immediately recognized this helmet design as being from Formula 1, but could not remember which driver had this as his personal design. After doing some research when I returned home, I was able to confirm that this was in fact the helmet design as worn by Eddie Irvine during his career with the Jaguar Formula 1 Racing team, during the 2002 F1 season. It was also the same helmet design Eddie Irvine wore during his participation in the 2002 United States Grand Prix.

British Racing Green Jaguar E Type roadster race car_rear view with reflections _Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

And parked just one row behind the Jaguar, as seen below, was this beautifully restored yet slightly modified, early 1970’s vintage Datsun 240 Z (produced well before the rebranding of the marque, which saw the name change to Nissan).

Restored early 1970's orange Datsun 240 Z_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

Back over at the main lot, cars had already begun leaving, but were quickly being replaced by cars that had been queued up and waiting to enter the event. I had observed  these changes first hand, especially since the pale yellow Porsche 356 A coupe that had been parked next to the Dove blue VW Type II transporter was now gone. However, in its place was a black Porsche 997 turbo cabriolet.

Dove blue VW type II transporter and Black Porsche 997 turbo cabriolet_3/4 rear view with reflections_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

This also presented another interesting visual comparison; old and new models displayed side by side, providing a clear example of  changes in automotive design philosophy, technology and vehicle evolution.

 Black Porsche 997 turbo cabriolet_3/4 rear view with VW type II bus reflections_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

This pairing also made for some very interesting visual imagery: reflections cast across the flanks of the turbo Porsches bodywork…

 Black Porsche 997 turbo cabriolet_rear view with VW type II bus and green porsche 911 reflections_Cars&Coffee_May 26, 2012

As I was getting ready to leave the event, I hard a rumor that the following weekends event (on Saturday June 2), would be a tribute to Mercedes-Benz. My immediate thoughts raced at the possibility of another gathering of 300SL gullwings, SL’s, SLR’s and more. Little did I know the surprises that awaited… Please stay tuned for my next post with coverage from another truly amazing event.

(All photos by the author)

The shiny, happy cars of Cars&Coffee…

Shiny, happy cars, and hordes of happy people. That’s the atmosphere experienced each and every week at Cars&Coffee, and this past Saturday was no exception.

Under the cover of darkness, two white on white Lamborghini’s rumbled in, circled the lot and parked side by side. One was an early Countach 5000 S, and the second, a Diablo VT Roadster.

2 White Lamborghinis_Countach and Diablo VT_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

White Lamborghini Countach 5000 S _white interior_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

White Lamborghini Countach 5000 S _rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

White Lamborghini Diablo VT roadster _rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

White Lamborghini Diablo VT roadster _3/4 rear,taillight view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

2 White Lamborghinis_Diablo VT roadster and Countach 5000 S_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

White Lamborghini Diablo VT roadster_rear wheel_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

2 White Lamborghinis_Diablo VT roadster & Countach 5000 S_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

With no rain in sight, and the light morning overcast rapidly burning off with the sunrise, an amazing collection of bright shiny cars were soon revealed. The pair of Lamborghini’s acted like a glowing beacon within the parking lot, with their scissor doors pointed skyward like searchlights, and quickly began drawing a crowd…

Porsche row_Cars&Coffe/Irvine_2/18/12

Over at Porsche row, I was pleasantly surprised to see that on this particular morning, the entire row was occupied by Porsches; from  356’s, 914’s, 911’s, 912’s, and a rare 911 GT2RS …

 Red 2011 Porsche 911 GT2RS_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Red 2011 Porsche 911 GT2RS_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Red 2011 Porsche 911 GT2RS_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Porsche 356 _hubcap reflection_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Aubergine 1973 Porsche 911RS recreation_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Aubergine 1973 Porsche 911RS recreation_rear wheel_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Aubergine 1973 Porsche 911RS recreation_Porsche row_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Blue Porsche 997 turbo_reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Leaf Green Porsche 930 turbo RSR /934 recreation_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Red Porsche 356 SC coupe_Porsche row_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Red Porsche 356 SC coupe_Porsche row_headlights_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Porsche row_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

And parked immediately behind Porsche row, was this beautiful blue 1965 Porsche 356 SC cabriolet…

Blue 1965 Porsche 356 SC cabriolet_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Blue 1965 Porsche 356 SC cabriolet_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

And parked on yet another row, perpendicular to Porsche row, was this pair of modified Porsche 997 GT3 coupes…

Silver and white, Porsche 997 GT3's_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

White Porsche 997 GT3 _Carbon fiber hood and Porsche emblem_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

White Porsche 997 GT3 _Carbon fiber hood & emblem_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

And over at the “Featured lot”, was a gathering of the Roush Road Crew / Ford Mustang car club…

Roush mustang car club gathering_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

White Roush mustangs_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

And situated opposite from the Roush mustangs, were several vintage Ford roadsters seen below. The black roadster was a highly modified 1933 model, complete with tan leather interior and matching rumble seat, and burl wood dash. Under the hood sat a highly modified Chevrolet power plant that was just as impressive as the rest of the car. The body work and paint finish alone were spectacular, delivering reflections from every angle, like a black mirror…

Black 1933 Ford roadster_front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/181/12

Black 1933 Ford roadster_interior_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/181/12

Black 1933 Ford roadster_rear view/rumble seat reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/181/12

Black 1933 Ford roadster_reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/181/12

Black 1933 Ford roadster_with chevy motor_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/181/12

And representing Chevrolet, was this amazing silver Corvette Sting Ray coupe, complete with a L72, 427 cubic inch motor…

Silver, L72 Corvette Sting Ray coupe_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Silver, L72 Corvette Sting Ray coupe_427 motor_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Silver, L72 Corvette Sting Ray coupe_rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12And every so often, one comes across an interesting radiator cap secured to a massive chrome grill…

Hood ornament_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Or a time capsule, 1951 Studebaker Champion, with fighter plane styled influences…

1951 Blue Studebaker Champion_front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

1951 Blue Studebaker Champion_interior_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Perhaps a P-38 lightning influenced front end?

1951 Blue Studebaker Champion_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Also in attendance, and representing Jaguar, were these three examples of their latest high performance offering – the 2012 XKR-S. Interestingly, two out of the three XK’s present, (one in French Racing Blue and the second in Italian Racing Red Metallic / both in coupe form), looked identical to two of the cars currently represented in Jaguars new commercial for the XKR-S.  Shown below (in Polaris white), was the sole convertible…

Polaris white Jaguar XKR-S roadster_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Polaris white Jaguar XKR-S roadster_rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Italian Racing Red metallic Jaguar XKR-S coupe_front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Italian Racing Red metallic Jaguar XKR-S coupe_headlight & fender details_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Italian Racing Red metallic Jaguar XKR-S coupe_side view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Italian Racing red metallic Jaguar XKR-S coupe_20" wheel & red brake caliper_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

French Racing Blue Jaguar XKR-S coupe_front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

French Racing Blue Jaguar XKR-S coupe_side view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

French Racing Blue Jaguar XKR-S coupe_rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

What makes these three cars even more unique, in addition to their being powered by a four cam, 5 liter supercharged V8, pumping out 550 horsepower, and rolling on 20″ wheels,  is the fact that Jaguar only manufactured 25 examples of this particular model for 2012.  Apparently Jaguar is already at work on a second limited production run of XKR-S models (100 only) for 2013…

And with several 1960’s vintage Jaguar E type coupes on site for comparison, it was easy  to see where the designers drew their inspiration and historical references from for this new model…

Black on tan Jaguar E type roadster_reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Charcoal gray Jaguar E type roadster_opened hood_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

And in what seems to be becoming a trend, the Lamborghini owners once again converged along the very last row of the parking lot, with the landscaped hillsides serving as a photographic backdrop…

Red Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Yellow Lamborghini Gallardo & red Gallardo Spyder_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Lamborghini row with a silver McLaren MP4-12C slipped in for good measure below…

Lamborghini row & silver McLaren_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

And tucked away over by the Mazda facility loading docks, was this amazing gray (Grigio Medio) Ferrari 599…Gray Ferrari 599_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Gray Ferrari 599_3/4 rear view_reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Gray Ferrari 599_  prancing horse logo & reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

And last but not least, hidden away in the furthest back corner of the lot, and at the opposite end of Lamborghini row, was this beautiful white  Porsche 911 GT3RS with titanium colored graphics…

White Porsche GT3RS_titanium colored graphics_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

White Porsche GT3RS_headlight detail and fender graphic_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_2/18/12

Given the massive turn out that was experienced last weekend, one can only speculate as to the hidden treasures awaiting discovery this Saturday…

(all photos by the author)