Cars & Coffee…At A Newport Mansion

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Saturday morning, the Audrain Auto Museum hosted Cars & Coffee at Newport’s Rosecliff Mansion.

If you’re into nice cars, you’re probably aware of the Cars & Coffee phenomenon. It started back in 2007, as best as we can tell in California and has spread across the country. The premise was pretty simple. A bunch of owners of “cool and interesting” cars meet up in the parking lot of what’s typically a coffee shop or some kind of establishment that can provide coffee-based products.



Why?

Owning nice cars can be a somewhat lonely experience. They’re often 2-seaters and the people who own them are often married men…meaning that the only passenger seat is likely occupied by a wife or child who’s along for the ride. Unless you’re working at a super-successful Silicon Valley company like Apple, it’s rare to pull into a parking lot full of exotic sports cars. As cool as it is to be driving the coolest car at the office, it’s also nice, every once in a while, to hang around with other people who have a passion (and fundage) for the finer things in automotive life.

That’s because cars are an interesting combination of the functional and the subjective. For $2000, anyone can get themselves a ten-year-old Mitsubishi that is capable of being a car. Unfortunately, unless you’re a 16-year-old previously trapped in a rural household ten miles from civilization, it’s not likely much joy is being derived from that ownership experience.

When someone drops $100,000 on a car, it’s as much a reflection of them as a person as it is a means of transportation. Do they value comfort over performance? Are they going with something flashy or understated? Are they going with new and reliable…or a 50-year-old car they’re going to need to spend 10 hours in their garage with every week to keep in tip-top running condition?

While there are tens of thousands of people across the country who express themselves in this manner, getting them all together in one spot has traditionally been a bit of a challenge. Car shows have always been a place to go, but they can be more formal, competitive and, around Newport, happen once a year. Cars & Coffee is more casual. Well, in this case, as casual as an event can be when it’s held on the grounds of Rosecliff, one of America’s grandest mansions.

A Last Minute Affair

If you are a local automotive conneseur whose thinking “If only I’d known, I’d have brought my Pagoni”, realize that this event was tossed together fairly last minute. Audrain Auto Museum threw it out on their social media and a few people fired it off in emails to some local car clubs, but this wasn’t something that was in the works for months and a decision was made to snub you. (Unless you’re Bob. Then you know you got snubbed and you know why.)

It was, despite its last minute nature, a great success, so hopefully this will become a semi-regular thing.

A Few Of Our Favorite Cars

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A couple very Newport classic Mercedes SLs and a Volkswagen Beetle Cabrio.

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One of the 411 Lamborghini Jalpas made in the 1980s.

cars-and-coffee-newport-corvettes-and-porsches

There was no shortage of Corvettes or Porsches.

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This Datsun 240Z has a Chevy powerplant displacing a bit more than the 2.4 liters of the original engine.

cars-and-coffee-newport-austin-healey

At first, we were convinced this was the classic roadster Sebastian drove in Cruel Intentions. After a little research, we discovered that car was a Jaguar XK 140, while this is an Austin Healey.

There’s just one last model to discuss…

Mustangs Leaving Cars & Coffee

If you follow car culture online, you know that Mustangs have a bit of a reputation at Cars & Coffee events. When they leave the event, they have a long standing tradition of peeling out, going into a spin and slamming into things while the owners of more refined automotive examples laugh at them for being uncouth hooligans.

There were two Mustangs at the Newport event, a Roush and a Shelby GT350, both more than capable of breaking traction with their rear wheels. As they left, we were prepared for any contingency:

Until Next Time…

Many thanks to the Audrain Auto Museum for holding this event and to the Newport Preservation Society for providing such a spectacular venue as the spectacular Rosecliff estate. We only hope this is the first of many.

-Tristan Pinnock, Blast Automotive Correspondent


Tristan’s just this guy, ya know?