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The History of Cars and Coffee

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The collector car hobby has experienced exponential growth through the years. As new collectors and enthusiasts come into the fold, they have numerous fun and exciting opportunities to showcase and enjoy classic vehicles, such as clubs, cruises, and car shows. Now more than ever, car collectors have a world of options to enjoy the hobby.

While there are many types of exciting car events, one type of car show has emerged in recent years and has become an integral part of the hobby: Cars and Coffee. The Cars and Coffee event is fairly new compared to other types of car events, but it’s quickly become popular among both new hobbyists and seasoned collectors. In this blog, you’ll learn about the history of Cars and Coffee as well as the various car events that led to its creation. 

The Early History of Car Shows and Clubs

Cars first began cruising our roads in the late 1800s, and motor enthusiasts and manufacturers created events shortly after. Originally, car shows were held in formal settings, such as Madison Square Garden, and mainly aimed to showcase and sell new offerings. The first car show at Madison Square Garden was held in the year 1900 and was sponsored by the Automobile Club of America. 

This tradition continues to this day with modern manufacturer shows like the Detroit Auto Show and the Los Angeles Auto Show. Typically, when motorheads see these big auto shows in major cities, they know exactly what the shows will include: new cars and the future of driving. This branding has worked well over the last 125 years.

In addition to this important part of motor history, another essential development occurred in the first half of the 20th century: the creation of car clubs. At one point, there were hundreds of auto manufacturers active in the United States, and this led to the creation of clubs that focused on brands and even specific models. 

Many of these clubs were founded in the 1930s and aimed to support like-minded owners. These numerous clubs often held car shows to show off their vehicles and attract new members. 

Like with manufacturer car shows, hobbyists largely knew what to expect when attending these events. For instance, when the Model T Ford Club of America has a show, everyone knows the show will mainly feature Model Ts. 

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The Emergence of Competitive Car Shows

While there’s much to love about car shows that celebrate specific manufacturers and models, the next stage of car events proved to be exceptionally thrilling. 

In a competitive country like America, what comes next? The answer is competitive car shows. These events take the best vehicles from the various clubs to determine the best collector car for that year. That’s how the Concours d’Elegance was born, which is French for “competition of elegance.” The first Concours d’Elegance in the United States was the Pebble Beach Concours in 1950. 

This new type of car show attracted hobbyists from all over the country to present the best collector cars they could find. These events primarily aimed to attract small groups of collectors and spectators who want to see something special at a high ticket price. 

Another important development occurred a year after the beginning of the Pebble Beach Concours: Wally Parks founded the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Parks and other early members developed the club intending to attract do-it-yourself hot rodders. These hobbyists enjoyed modifying their cars and showing them off. 

The new National Hot Rod Association essentially served as the anti-Concours d’Elegance group. Rather than paying for expensive events, these motorists would hang out and show off their cars at drive-ins and other public areas. At first, members would share the locations for these events via word of mouth, but later, the events were added to the NHRA magazine. These events were perfect for collectors looking to attend casual car shows for free, and they laid the groundwork for Cars and Coffee. 

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The Beginning of Cars and Coffee

While classic car enthusiasts have held informal shows for many years, the term “Cars and Coffee” didn’t come on the scene until 2005. Some give credit to Barry Meguiar, who was the former host of the show Car Crazy. Meguiar was known for inviting other motor enthusiasts to enjoy cars and coffee on Saturday mornings. These events were informal and didn’t have rigid schedules. 

These Cars and Coffee events quickly took off among motorheads. With new collector car owners entering the hobby in record numbers, the idea of taking your car to an informal show made sense to thousands of collectors. If you’re thinking about going to a show, what better place to start than a flexible and free event? After all, attendees can choose to stay however long they like, and there’s no commitment. 

Perhaps the most compelling reason why Cars and Coffee events have become a staple of the hobby is because you never know what cars you’re going to see. Porsches, Duesenbergs, Pintos, and VW Beetles can all be lined up next to each other, giving attendees the excitement and suspense of not knowing what they’ll see next. 

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Attend Your Local Cars and Coffee Events

Sometimes the most brilliant ideas are accidents, and Cars and Coffee is certainly one of those. Today, there are thousands of these events held every Saturday around the country, and no matter which you attend and what car you bring, you will be welcomed with open arms. So why not visit a Cars and Coffee event this weekend? A quick Google search will likely provide you with many options to get you started. 

Remember, these incredible local events are part of automotive history dating back over 125 years, and you can be part of this rich history and tradition. 

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Cars and Coffee to Classic Coverage

Here at Classic Auto, we create custom policies for our clients based on agreed-upon value rather than stated value. This means that we’ll work with you to estimate your car’s real value, and you’ll receive the full agreed-upon amount minus your deductible if you ever total your vehicle.

Our policies also include exceptional benefits, like inflation guard, adjustable mileage plans, rollover miles, and nationwide roadside assistance with flatbed towing. 

Interested in learning more about protecting your classic? You can call our classic car insurance experts today at 888-901-1338, or you can get an instant quote online here

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