The Killer DIY Car Shows Sweeping the Nation

The cars and coffee trend gives enthusiasts a chance to see dream cars close-up.

Although the nation’s best-known cars and coffee show at Mazda‘s headquarters in Irvine, Cal. recently moved to Costa Mesa, the phenomenon of a fortunate few letting us ogle their cool toys is rapidly spreading across the country.

Sure, a show where people roll up with whatever’s in their garage could be a recipe for mediocrity, but the cars and coffee experience has blossomed into a remarkable opportunity to exhibit cars that otherwise collect dust between big, famous shows with stringent entrance standards. It also means an eclectic mixture of beautiful rides. There’s typically no charge to show your car or to walk through admiring others’ cars, though shows like San Francisco’s have a parking fee.

Katie’s Cars and Coffee, held early Saturday mornings in Great Falls, Va., is one of the trend’s standard bearers. A visit to see the array of hardware on the first weekend of fall provided an excellent chance to appreciate the incredible variety of machinery on display.

These local show are held in big cities such as San Francisco and Denver and smaller ones like Columbus, Ohio and Richmond, Va., and boast incredibly high-quality classics and exotics, without the hassle and expense of once-a-year extravaganzas like the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Consider that the very same venue highlighting a pair of Stanley Steamers also boasted a matching pair of green Lamborghini Huracans and a pair (one black and one white) of Cadillac CTS-V wagons (with manual transmissions, natch!).

It makes for a breathtaking display and one of the most relaxing ways to kick off a weekend.

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Photos by Dan Carney