I’ve been very lucky to experience some incredible car shows over the last few years. From Lime Rock’s Sunday Royals to a private to local Cars & Coffee Sunday morning meetups to a cameras-forbidden event at an undisclosed location with more exotics, rarities, and one-of-one’s than I can possibly remember, I’ve witnessed some truly amazing exhibits of speed and style that were as shocking in the moment as they are to remember. Even the NYIAS is a spectacle in itself, with the show consuming the entirety of the Javits Centers, but it wasn’t until this past Sunday that I went to a show that wholly overwhelmed me. I’d heard about it, read about it, and seen pictures of it, but it truly is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Nestled into the small town of New Canaan, Connecticut, twice a year happens a car show so big that it takes up the majority of the downtown, forces road closures, and requires police to direct traffic, both foot and vehicular. With thousands of people enjoying the scenery, the absurdity of Caffeine & Carburetors is something that put me in a full state of shock and awe from the minute we arrived. Hundreds, if not thousands of cars, from exotics to sports cars to rat rods to muscle and imports and off-roaders and everything you can possibly imagine in-between, it’s what I can only describe in one word as overwhelming. To cover everything in the 830-11 AM show hours is nearly impossible if you care to look closer than a brief glance, but I did my best and had my camera with me to attempt to document it. I’ve included a few notes here and there, but for the most part the following is simply pictures of the cars that made the show so special. Note that all photos are unedited, taken by yours truly, and it’s clear I don’t know my way around the Nikon D80 very well. The pictures appear in the order which I saw the cars, and though I tried to capture a bit of everything, from the vintage to the exotic to the oddities, it was actually impossible to do so with crowds and the likes. There’s some tidbits about some of the various vehicles I came across throughout the day, but for the most part it’s just photos. Enough with the words; I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Real quick though…one of the best things about big car shows like these are the parking lots. When the car show lots themselves overflow, the lots themselves become a psuedo-show as well, and some of the gems you spot hidden between civilian cars are worth the time not spent at the “show” itself. Bikes, too! Clownshoes everywhere… Spoke to the owner of this RX-7, who has had it for a while and loves it to death. 125k miles on the body (I forget how many on the motor), but you wouldn’t know it by looking at it. It has a few JDM items but is otherwise stock, and is a gorgeous example of a car too often modified and too rarely left the way Mazda intended.
Something about this color combo was extremely attractive, though I’m not sure what it was or why:
Dig the plate… One of the nicer F-Bodies I’ve seen:
The LFA is one of those cars that has a presence to it that’s indescribable. Proof that all-out speed isn’t everything, I suppose. Also speaks well for it in that it was parked in an alley, behind a building, and still drew a sizable crowd.
Huayra! The Pagani easily had the biggest surrounding crowd of the day, and for good reason. The interior alone is to die for… The sticker on the bumper reads, “got tetanus?” Gotta love the variety…and the contrast… E30 M3 built/painted to mimic an the Lime Rock Park Edition E92. Same paint, same stickers; beautifully done. 1000/100, would hoon. The famous Porsche 964 belonging to Larry Kosilla of AMMO NYC. Not only is the car itself incredibly well built (and detailed, of course), but Larry is a genuinely nice guy and a serious car fanatic as well. This was the 3rd time I’ve met him and he continues to be extremely down-to-earth and good fun to talk to. He has stories galore, certainly knows his stuff, and is always game to talk to fans about anything from detailing to racing to the other guys he’s close with in the wide world of auto media. That he pulls a small trailer for his race tires and was going straight to the track after the show is a testament to how serious he is about cars, and that he took the time to talk about everything under the sun with me and my buddy Dom for about 15 minutes was a real treat. Great dash on an original Shelby G.T.350 (if you can read it): To say there were a lot of people in attendance would be a massive understatement. Just how many I’m not sure, but it must have been deep into the thousands. As I was saying, the parking lots themselves become car shows as well. It continues: The retro wheels on this HHR looked fantastic. I was never a big fan of Chevy’s PT Cruiser derivative but this one, especially since it was an SS, was as good as the HHR gets. Couldn’t not stop and take another picture of the Ford GTs…spent a little while longer wiping up the drool… SLR McLaren wheels on a Volvo? Sure, why not. Not sure why, but something seems proportionally off about the F-Pace in person. I reserve right to change judgment upon seeing it in another color. It maybe looks a bit like an over-inflated Cayenne/Macan? Weird, but still attractive. Love this sticker… …and the license plate isn’t bad either (nor is that it’s boosted). Cars, trucks, bikes, and…tractors. Yes, two tractors. Apparently the green one is owned/operated by the town fire marshal, so it was no surprise to see him driving it down the street at the end of the show. More Clownshoes! They were everywhere! At one point a few years ago my best friend had a Saab 9-2X Aero, so I’m always happy to see one out and about. This one, on gold wheels, was no exception. Bonus Aztek parked next to it. One of my oldest automotive memories is of my dad telling me about his brown 1977 Trans Am, which he still talks about regularly. There are stories galore to go along with that car, but he mentions time and time again how the best color for the T/A was a beautiful blue, so it was great to see one just like he has always described. I’d love to buy one someday and give it to him…that would be the best. Makes me wish I had never gotten rid of my red E30… Not car related, but this was seriously the biggest, most muscular dog I’ve ever seen. Looked like it had been fed steroids all its life, but it was friendly and preferred slobbering all over the pavement to interacting with anybody who dared give it a scratch or rub. Hammer! Again with the parking lots… Casual lot-parked Viper… ….and a casual gas-station parked 912: Volvette! Corvette engine in a Volvo wagon. Quiet, subtle, and unless you know…you wouldn’t know. Total sleeper status, and absolutely perfect. I’d happily drive one of these every day, no questions asked. Surprisingly many of the show-goers and entrants left by 1030am, but not having covered everything we ended up wandering until around 1130. One of the perks of staying late is hearing everything leave, including this Ferrari race car, which was among the loudest vehicles I’ve ever been around. Just to hear it was amazing in itself, but to see it drive up/down the street and through a parking lot was a spectacle as well. The happiest of roadsters: Caffeine & Carburetors is a bi-annual event that every car fan in the area needs to go to. Usually I’m hesitant to say *need to*, but this is a seriously impressive meetup that is worth every second of time spent there. You can see more in a few minutes than you regularly see in weeks or even months, and for that it’s both satisfying and rewarding. I’m eagerly awaiting the fall show, and next spring’s as well.