Every Saturday from about 8 in the morning until 10, maybe 70 car guys and gals cruise into the Kmart parking lot off McKnight Way at Highway 49. They park in front of Daily Donut, grab a cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll or a latte and just hang out.
It’s a car show that isn’t a car show: all the cars without the “show.” There is no organization, no registration, no fee to show or attend, no trophies.
Just a bunch of car enthusiasts bringing their cars and having a good time. And people stopping by to check out the myriad cool cars that show up. They vary from week to week.
A few weeks ago, I chatted with some of those who brought cars and some who came to check out the cars to find out why they were there.
They were a mixed bag in age, gender and appearance. Some looked like Tea Party Republicans, while others had wild body art. It didn’t matter, because cars were the common denominator.
Politics and such were checked at the driveway.
Rick Lang, who drives a ‘69 Dodge Charger, gave his reason for being there instead of going to organized car shows.
“I like the camaraderie. No rules, no dues, just car folk. More fun,” he said.
Roamin Angel Car Club member Richard Gruwell, driving a ‘58 Chevy Cameo pickup, said about the variety of cars, “You see such a duke’s mixture every week.”
Matt Martin, a young man who drives a ‘55 Hudson Wasp with a nailhead Buick engine, said the reason he comes is, “The cool people. I check out the car show and have a cup of coffee on the way to work.”
The attractive young woman with him, Jessica Lynne, smiled when asked why she was there and replied, “I do like cars.”
Sometimes the reasons for being there are emotional. Ed Houtz, who drove a ‘56 Jeepster, told of a deep commitment.
“Me and my dad had always been into them (cars). Dad had a big collection. My dad passed away and I want to keep it all going,” he said.
John Link, with a ‘72 Ford Bronco that looked like it could climb Mount Everest, said he finished it in honor of his son, Dustin, who died at 16 years old.
After setting aside the project that he and his son had worked on together for several years, he was persuaded to finish it in Dustin’s honor.
He and his 7-year-old daughter, Sophie, come to Cars and Coffee to enjoy those of a similar interest.
“It’s her car now,” he said.
A gathering of cars such as this does attract many enthusiasts who do not bring any cars. One of those is Ethan Anthney, who is 3 years old. His dad Justin said, “He can name almost every car here.”
It does give one hope that love of these cars will live on for many years.
This nonshow car show attracted two students from Bear River High School who were doing their high school final project. Nathaniel Holmgren, 15, and J.T. Miller, 16, were there with a movie camera, filming cars and doing interviews.
“It’s a fun thing. This needs to be told to other people,” Holmgren said.
As a Roadents car club member and originator of Cars and Coffee for Nevada County, Marty Souter is pleased with how well the Saturday morning gathering has been received.
While American-made rods and collectibles are well represented, he hopes that more foreign cars will show up.
“We’re all car people here,” he said. “I built hot VW’s and Mazdas for years. I still have my souped-up 257 HP ‘97 Mazda Miata. We hope we’ll see more VWs, Porsches, MGs and all kinds of cool imports on Saturdays. We love cars and that’s what it’s about.”
Ron Cherry’s Cool Car Corner appears in Friday’s Wheels section.