When the mothership Cars and Coffee event in Irvine was forced into retirement at the end of 2014, southern California car enthusiasts went into a brief panic at the notion that the region's premiere free-form weekly car show was no more. This grief was short-lived, however, when the automotive faithful remembered that there are approximately seven trillion OTHER car events in SoCal every weekend, from Supercar Sunday in Calabasas to Donut Derelicts in Huntington Beach. But one of the very best of the breed remains somewhat of a secret: Palos Verdes Coffee and Cars, which takes place the first Saturday of every month in a remote corner of the Peninsula Shopping Center. With a native car collecting population that blends bone-deep passion with a healthy portion of affluence, the Palos Verdes Peninsula and surrounding South Bay region serves up one of the finest informal auto meets you're likely to encounter, and stands as a reminder that we L.A. car lovers are spoiled beyond belief.
Want proof? This is Shelby Cobra CSX2273, an original privateer 289 competition roadster currently owned and campaigned in vintage racing by an Emmy award-winning director. At any other car show in the rest of the country, this vehicle would have been the star attraction, but at the January edition of PV Coffee & Cars, it was just one of a hundred breathtaking automobiles casually assembled for our viewing pleasure.
With a heavy focus on European classics and exotics, Palos Verdes Coffee and Cars attracted a large contingent of Ferraris ranging from 80s Testarossas and 308s to a sinister F12. Our favorite, though, was this 1984 512BBi Boxer. Never federalized for U.S. consumption, the Boxer was some of the sweetest forbidden grey-market fruit of our childhood dreams.
It wasn't all high-dollar exotica, though. One of the coolest rides of the month was this Ford Escort RS1600, looking for all the world as if it would rather have been tail-sliding through an unpaved special stage in some spooky Nordic forest.
Of course, it wouldn't be L.A. without a celebrity sighting...even the automotive kind. Among the many Porsches assembled at PV Coffee and Cars was one of two Porsche 996s used in the film Fast Five. According to owner John Colabella, he fell in love with the custom GT3 clone when he spotted it during filming down the street from his Hollywood furniture shop. After a lengthy pursuit, he finally acquired the car last year. In an interesting turn of events, his twin brother purchased the other 996 used in the movie, though as John almost apologetically pointed out, his was the "hero car" used for close ups, and thus is slightly less beat-on than his sibling's.
If we have any complaint regarding the Palos Verdes Coffee and Cars, it's this: once a month just isn't enough (but, that would only prove again how comprehensively spoiled rotten we are!) We love the ego-free atmosphere, quiet setting, and above all GREAT selection of cars on display, and while we know that the Southland offers any number of other options for our car-viewing pleasure, PV C&C is one of the very best.