My Car Quest

February 25, 2024

Editorial: The Ideal Cars & Coffee?

A Contributor Ruminates on the Elements of What it could be…

by Wallace Wyss –

I have been going to Cars & Coffees in Los Angeles for a few years now. They keep moving because of what I call the Outlaw Element or is it just boys will be boys?

The one in Irvine was interesting because it was next to Ford’s west coast Advanced Design studio and once in a while they would even roll out a prototype. But eventually it all went wrong. At that one younger folk would stand at the exit and encourage leaving drivers to “show us whatcha got” and a few drivers were tempted. The result? Crashes, tickets and the event was ended.

The one in West Hollywood on Sunset was interesting because it was heavy on exotics, even Bugatti Veyrons and Rolls Royces. The pandemic killed that off.

Malibu, at the Malibu Village shopping Center, was good, but too many ordinary cars came. I mean I should drive an hour (I live in the Inland Empire) to see a hopped up 240Z? The best part of that was when Jay Leno would show up in something odd you’ve only seen in magazines like a Monteverdi. Or Bruce Meyer, of the Petersen Museum would roll up in a museum car or one of his own collection like an Iso Grifo A3/C.

And now that’s gone, the Sheriffs walling off the parking lots. Oh there’s a much bigger parking lot across the street and North on Pacific Coast highway. The parking lot is a mile long but it’s not the same ambiance over there. Too big.

I’ve decided what I want in a Cars & Coffee. It’s not what everybody wants.

What I want:

– Small–no more than 30 cars.

Ferrari Roma

I want the event to be in an interesting locale, by the sea or in the mountains and be populated by not-just-ordinary-cars. I want to see cars like this Ferrari Roma, a car like that rolling in every five minutes.

– Early start.

The real enthusiasts get up almost at dawn and head for the mountains or the coast and that’s when I like to catch a shot that could be the start of a painting. There’s a little bit of the ambiance of the drive if I’m lucky.

– Intimate.

The folks coming have a cuppa java and a stroll around and talk, even talking about things besides cars. Every five minutes or so so there’s a new rare car rolling in and the crowd parts for it. Similar to that day in Carmel during Monterey car Week where at the end of this rally that ends in Carmel, each concours entrant pulls in and the crowd closes in to see it.

– Beautiful ladies.

I mean you’re talking the sexiest cars on earth. After all, what’s a heaven for?

– Rarer cars.

To me, that means no newer one, non past ’73 cars unless they’re brand new and rare, no Japanese cars, no kit cars. I wouldn’t outlaw them but haven’t figured out how to send them on the way to where their owners would be more comfortable.

Bizzarrini GT 5300

I like it when very rare cars arrive, the ripple of interest going through the crowd, like when movie stars would make an appearance at the Trocadero (Oops– am I dating myself?). This one’s a ’67 Bizzarrini GT5300 Strada at the Malibu Village Cars & Coffee, an event now walled off to car enthusiasts.

– No hoods up.

Oh, I can see showing an engine on request but those rows of cars with hoods up (usually muscle cars), hard to take a picture. And since most have stock engines, what’s the point, comparing air cleaners?

– Local event.

Among the hats I wear is one for the entertainment biz, so that’s one reason I go to Malibu–I’m not going to meet anyone in that biz while throwing hay to the horses in the Inland Empire.

– A dining area.

Outside, where you can eat breakfast and see each new car that rolls in without even getting up, almost a miniature of Pebble Beach where each class winner rolls across the stage.

– No burn outs.

That’s what racetracks are for. Some cars I’ve driven (Cobras?) go sideways all too easily so I don’t want to have to be dodging cars while I’m focusing on a picture.

I keep looking. I hear there’s an event somewhere near La Canada (pronounced in this case La Can-yadda) that ends up at some mountain eatery, but have yet to track it down. I went to a big one in San Clemente at a shopping center but the parking lot was a sea of bright cement and they didn’t let the first cars in until way after the sun rose and I’m still trying to follow Ansel Adams’ dictum “paint with light.” If I shoot pictures in bright sunlight, I’m back to the way everybody shoots snapshots, as opposed to what Adams was trying to tell me.

I know the regularly scheduled and promoted cars & coffees are passe until the pandemic is defeated. So I’ll continue to look for the small ones, the ideal one that may only exist in my head…

Pacific Ocean by Wallace Wyss

A scenic shot on the way, hey, not a car in sight…

Let us know what you think in the Comments – what is your idea of a perfect cars & coffee?

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is a radio personality in SoCal, currently writing an anthology of 30 car fantasy stories.


Monteverdi at Malibu

Monteverdi at Malibu

Editorial: The Ideal Cars & Coffee?
Article Name
Editorial: The Ideal Cars & Coffee?
I know the regularly scheduled cars & coffees are passe until the pandemic is defeated. So I'll continue to look for the small ones, the ideal one that may only exist in my head...


  1. You California Snob . Here in Ohio (Cincinnati Area) we have several weekly and monthly Cars and Coffee . I’ve seen just about anything you can imagine at these events and that’s what makes them so great . I’ve seen primered Hot Rods that were more interesting and detailed than pricy Italian or German late model iron . I still enjoy watching a new 911 Porsche or Ferrari come in . I know some of these people and they invariable start bitching about their last $450 .00 oil change .We have pretentious snobs in Ohio too .
    The point of a Cars and Coffee is everyone is included. No admission and no trophies . No matter what you drive or what badge has your loyalty you have something in common with every car owner on the lot . Find that common bond and pursue it . Love of the Automobile .
    Steve Barrett

  2. Actually Wally is a Michigan snob that has lived in California the last two thirds of his life. And as they say you can take the boy out of the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the boy.

  3. Wallace Wyss says

    I forgot to admit I have an ulterior motive to wanting to Go Where the Money is. I live in Ontario where say a ’55 Chevy is the ultimate collector car. But since my paintings are $600 no chance of getting a commission from the locals. Out in Malibu no such problem.$600 is chump change you light your cigar with

    Also, since at the late lamented LA International Auto Show, the exotic (or even just expensive)marques have been dropping out so that even if I go there–no Ferrari, no Rolls, no Bentley. I have to go to Malibu and stand in a parking lot on a Sunday morning at 6:30 am to see the cars that we should able to see at the LA International Auto Show (if there was an auto show).

  4. I totally support what Steve says. Wallace perhaps you could add a few more rules to the list and take just a bit more fun out of it, then they may just flock right in.
    Good luck with this, I truly hope you find what you are looking for, but in the mean time I am going to take my car for a spirited run and hang out with automotive enthusiasts.

  5. wallace wyss says

    I spoze what I want is a ” curated” show with someone filtering out the unremarkable cars and Ruffians who lay rubber and burn out and rev engines. all that tomfoolery ruined the Trancas and Irvine C & C’s. I think these are the same scoundrels that do donuts on every wide street in my town. I know I sound like an old crank but what I yearn for is a mini-Pebble Beach free within an hour’s drive…where the attendees be genteel….(they don’t all have to wear Ascots…I’ll give them that break)

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