Best of Show: May Cars & CoffeeNot very many people like getting up in the morning, especially me. If you told me 15 years ago that I would be getting up at 5am every Saturday, and that it wasn't to watch cartoons, I wouldn't have believed you. Now, if you told me it was to attend car meets that showcase cars from the very depths of a man's wildest dreams, I would begin to understand. Today, I have the pleasure of presenting you with this month's Cars & Coffee - Best of Show. Getting up this particular Saturday morning for the event was a little more difficult than usual, as my roommate somehow convinced me it was a good idea to paint the town red the night before. That town, of course, was Hollywood. I'm originally from Washington D.C. and have only lived in SoCal for a few months. Admittedly, I'm really growing fond of the lifestyle and change of scene in comparison. The downside to crazy nights out is having to get up the following morning, but it's a small price to pay. Slowly staggering to my feet and barely able to see out of my right eye, like Rocky in the final round against Apollo Creed, I went through my morning routine consisting of a shower, breakfast and coffee - I knew the only thing missing now was the cars. I couldn't help but think how perfect the weather was as Vincent Herrera and I pulled into the corporate business park. As we drove through the lot to find parking, my attention was instantly diverted to a stunning silver Porsche 356. As soon as we found a spot, I immediately jumped out of the car and made my way back to the alluring machine. Being a bit of a lifetime automotive historian, I was absolutely floored at the chance to examine Porsche's first production vehicle up close, the Porsche 356. This piece of automotive history was produced from 1948 until 1965, well after the replacement model 911 made its 1963 debut. Out of the 70,000+ originally produced it is my understanding that approximately half have survived the years. It's like walking through the woods and finding a unicorn, and to be quite honest, I'm more likely to run into the mythical creature than another 356. This example was beautifully immaculate from the headlight stone guards on the the front-end, to the polished metal soft-top cover and the Porsche 356 club badged grill atop the rear boot. This particular Porsche 356 had been lovingly maintained and restored. The cockpit was what I could only describe as classic engineering with a modern embrace, from the metal pane doors to the custom fabricated dash and reupholstered factory-style seats. Now I would normally condemn the use of modern gauges on such a classic car, though I couldn't help but admire how well they went with this car, along with the center divider and steering wheel. Upon further inspection, I noticed the retro .45 caliber cartridge belt. Eventually I had to gather the strength to walk away from what I can only describe as the genesis of all Porsche's on to my next favorite, a clean race-inspired early 90s Porsche 911. A few details that stood out to me included the fact that this already powerful machine which was good for 300hp, had been turbocharged, along with unique fender flares, Le Mans style carbon fiber mirrors, and polished Fikse wheels that set this car apart. Now many of you may not know this, but the 993 RS 3.8 was not made available to the United States, so this owner went to great lengths to acquire Porsche-sourced RS parts. Overall, a very commendable build. I was excited for what was to come, and the weekend had just started. As I walked forward and surveyed the parking lot, I couldn't help but notice a diamond in the rough, a bad-ass 1946 Ford Pickup perfectly chopped and channeled. I absolutely had to reach out to the owner and get more details! I was finally able to find him - Sean Heiland of Ultimate Auto Care based out of Orange, California. Fabrication wise, Mr. Heiland bought it pretty much how it was. The original owner used drivetrain parts and a few suspension components from a Ford Mustang, and fabricated the custom one-off bed. Sean installed the wide whitewall tires as soon as he picked it up. He recalled that it was a fun ride for the first 6 months until the motor and transmission had to be pulled in order to replace the clutch. With the truck being completely stripped at this point, he decided it was time to upgrade the transmission and beef up the 302 with a mild rebuild. The final touch on this retro, piece of art on wheels? Flame throwers to each of the exhaust tips and an "Ooga" horn. Yes. That wasn't a typo. Once I was done admiring all the work and hours that had gone into that dream Ford pickup, I proceeded to stroll around the rest of the parking lot until I came across an automobile I could not identify for the life of me. Was it a concept car or was this some new F1 car being premiered here at Cars and Coffee of Irvine? After a lot of time consuming research (and by that I mean 5 minutes on my iPhone), I was finally able to identify this elusive race car. It was the BAC Mono, the latest sports-car from England that has taken the car world by storm. As said on the Sector 111 website, "This single seat racer is powered by a 280hp Cosworth engine and F-3 spec Hewland sequential gearbox with paddle shift. AP Racing brakes, Sachs racing suspension, OZ Racing wheels and Kuhmo bespoke tires. Named The Stig's Car of the Year 2011 and the Autocar Track Car of the year 2011. For 2013, several previously optional items are now standard including Sachs 2-way coil-overs, fire extinguisher and Willans anti-sub straps." With a 0-60 time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 170 miles per hour, this bad boy completely redefines the street-cred of 4 cylinder engines. That, ladies and gentleman, is this month's Best of Show: Cars & Coffee. This past weekend, much like most others, was absolutely incredible. While I'm definitely going to miss my Saturday morning cartoons, I think being able to witness some of the best cars SoCal has to offer is a fair trade. There aren't many events that I won't be attending, so if you happen to run into me, don't be a stranger. Stop by and say hello! Until next time! - Love Rapaval Check out past Cars & Coffee features:
- Best of Show: April Cars & Coffee - The first So Cal-based Koenigsegg CCX shows up!
- Cars & Coffee: The Real Beginnings at Crystal Cove - Many don't know that the widely-popular Cars & Coffee Irvine actually began in Crystal Cove.