Houston Coffee and Cars is unlike any other monthly meet I have ever witnessed. When I went to my first C&C meet as a little kid back in 2010, I was hooked before my d ad even stopped the car. Although it’s changed venues a couple times now, there’s been some other changes in the substance that, to an extent, were forced upon the whole idea of C&C and, in other regards, some values have become slightly distilled. It’s a give and take relationship but the sheer scale of this meet is something I think every car enthusiast should at least consider making the trip for. You just never know what will show up.
Maybe it’s just me becoming a tiny bit more mature over 8 years, not to mention the endless line of sarcasm and memes I hear around the event now, but this meet is taken a lot more lightly than it should. Don’t get me wrong, I love memes, and I came within 15 feet of getting plowed by a Mustang back in October of 2016, but maybe that’s part of the problem. It wasn’t the first, or second… or third time a car crashed leaving the event over the years. But I look at the cars that have crashed- a C6 Corvette, a 3.8 Genesis, a GT350 Mustang and a 5th gen Viper- and I compare that to other Cars and Coffee’s around the U.S. and I think, “Wow, our crash list is already better than some entire meetings.”
Ok, let’s snap back to reality. Crashes are bad. Most car-enthusiast related crashes are mainly caused by people trying to show off skills they don’t possess. I’m sure we’ve all been there at some point in time, and hopefully it was something pretty minor with few witnesses; a cracked wheel, a 180 in an intersection, or maybe slowly being put in a ditch. But when you try and drift out of a place with cold tires full of people simply wanting to hear your exhaust, and you lose control, nearly pin a little kid under your car, and get out of your car smiling with your hands up, I think somewhere a line has to be drawn. Doing something like that is on a whole ‘nother level compared to, say, doing a burnout in your 707hp brand new machine while maintaining one street lane.
The reason stupid stuff like this has to stop is for a reason already mentioned once in this post. The size of this event is unlike anything I’ve ever imagined. The event is only supposed to last two hours and yet over 800 cars show up. To put that into perspective, in case you’ve never been, suppose in a perfect world where everyone showed up on time and left on time and there was no traffic jam trying to park. You would have about 6 or 7 seconds to look at every single car in the display area. I can’t even crouch for 6 seconds without 12 people walking past a ‘standout’ car I want to take a picture of. I grew up on baseball and can crouch for minutes at a time, but still, it’s ridiculous sometimes.
I’m not complaining, I understand that people want to look at the same stuff I want to get a picture of. But the problem is nobody has the courtesy to let someone take a picture of the crazy cars and awesome builds that show up. I compare that to ‘back in the day’ and everybody was so nice and courteous to let others take pictures. I started thinking about those earlier events when my dad graciously lent me his Canon PowerShot camera, and I truly can’t remember a time when a group of people stood directly in front of me.
Ok, I'll be the first to admit it. I realize a fair portion of that is accidental. I'm not trying to say people will deliberately stand in front of you, but rather tend to float around at times. Back in December of 2010, when the Hennessy Venom was first announced, I was there. In January of 2018, just weeks ago from the posting of this, the new F5 was ‘unveiled’ at C&C in a similar fashion to the Venom GT. The only difference was the Venom GT had an engine. I'd always rather see cars rolling in under their own power, but for liability reasons, some are trailed in. If you have a 250GTO, or a Lancia Stratos, or Koenigsegg, I totally understand. Real life legacies are a regular occurrence at HC&C.
The whole point of me writing this post is to show what can come up and I’ve yet to show the guys with the real builds. The builds that you walk around for a quick 15 minutes, admiring every single aspect of the countless hours that went into said build. If you made it to this point, congratulations. I’m proud to give you the honor of being a true automotive car enthusiast. A lot has been skipped, but good things come to those who wait.
I never got to speak to the owner, but this one really put an arrow through my heart. To be honest, I don’t think he got the recognition he deserved. Although I realize my opinion is only worth so much, the fact that stock Ferraris and Lamborghinis are promoted more than cars like this really bother me.
It’s not like a Ford is a dream car of mine (besides the Ford GT), but this struck a nerve only an awesome DeTomaso Pantera could match up to. Luckily for me, anyways, I was able to catch the Pantera’s owner and ask the questions I wanted to ask. The 'Red Cat' set a standard that is very hard to match up to, in my opinion.
Beautiful. Mostly period correct if the building budget was much higher than what was initially targeted.
I think of all the insane builds and rare cars I’ve seen over the years and that has been one of the few constants for Coffee and Cars, luckily. Texans love to try and out-do each other. We like challenges. I want it to stay that way. There’s an aura to the event that can simply make people happy and give some an opportunity to learn only the internet could match, assuming you can catch the owner. Just a heads up, though; ask anything about the car that doesn’t involve a price tag. Ask questions like, “Did you do that exhaust yourself? That's incredible, how long did that take you?”
40 hours. It also makes 1087HP. Personally, I’d never think of spending 40 hours of my time working on a V8-swapped golf cart exhaust, but this guy did, and even the Fonzie look-alike I was next to was impressed. In the end, no matter the application, the craftsmanship is stunning.
During the same event, these two beauties showed up. By far the cleanest, most original MKII Toyota Supra I’ve ever seen and one of the coolest JDM FC RX-7’s parked just spots away from each other. I can’t recall another time I’ve seen Super Advan wheels except on Gran Turismo 3.
Although the event is only supposed to be from 8-10, I usually try and get there around 7 and leave around 11. This helps getting pictures of some of my most favorite cars, stock or not, and it would be a crime if at some point I didn’t throw in a picture of a Z considering the family is huge in Houston.
Rarities hold a place in my heart because the people that own them, usually, hold their cars for a longer period of time and keep them very well maintained and are mini-experts when it comes to their car. This was interesting to me because I never heard of the B2K option before I saw this car. B2K was a factory option twin turbo from special dealers. This particular one was built in 1991, which makes it one out of 62 produced, and less than 500 produced in total. One rare Z indeed. The more you know!
What’s a meet in Texas without trucks? Sport trucks, 6-door F350’s, Jeeps parked on other Jeeps, LS-swapped Nissan Hardbody’s, I think I’ve seen just about everything by now except for a GMC Typhoon or Cyclone.
When a Lexus and a Depression Era car can coexist in peace, you know you’re in the right place. The diversity of this meet will surprise you with something every month.
Houston is also home to some of the most widely known ‘Instagram builds.’ I don’t say that to mock the owners or to make it sound lesser than it is, I say that because most of these guys (and girls) are only popular on Instagram, yet have some of the coolest rides I’ve seen. These are truly one-off cars because they only use the best of the best parts, some of which are completely custom like an entire carbon fiber roof (and no, not just an overlay).
Houston. Hustle. They go hand in hand. You know what else goes hand in hand, as I sit here typing this listening to “Wanna be a Balla?” Yellow and carbon fiber. Kind of like this one of 20 BC Huayra or a pink 289 Shelby Cobra "Dragonsnake" drag car.
Remember what I said about rarity? Here’s the thing. Houston Coffee and Cars has fielded lineups of cars that, if portioned into a museum, would probably be one of the greatest automotive museums in existence. Maybe not as great as, say, the Petersen museum, but still great nonetheless. The only automotive-related museum I’ve been to was the Petroleum Museum, which houses the Chaparral race cars (if for some reason you haven’t heard of Chaparral, I’d highly suggest reading up on them), and a car museum I visited in Colorado I can’t remember the name of (but they had a Hispano Suiza H6A and some other neat stuff), but I digress from museum talk. I’ve actually seen this 33 coats of pink painted car twice; once at C&C and once a couple years back as it was up for auction at Mecum Houston, however reserve wasn’t met and it did not sell, to my knowledge. I haven’t seen a GT40 at C&C, and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if one day I did, but I have seen one cross the block at Mecum a few years ago, when prototype chassis #4 sold for $7.1 Million, plus taxes and fees. Probably the pinnacle of my automotive existence. You can watch that video by clicking here.
I have thousands upon thousands of pictures from Houston Coffee and Cars over the years and my goal is to convince people why they should, if given the opportunity, attend this meet. Arrive early, leave late; in the midst of the excitement, you will grow accustomed to the custom and expect nothing but the best.
This is nothing but the Land of Opportunity, and for you people who live outside of Houston, this is the opportunity that, if blown, you will regret for the rest of your life. Best case scenario you know what will be a confirmed show up.
A 918, LaFerrari, 250 GTO, LM002, maybe even a Veneno or Lykan, who knows anymore. If you live in Houston, there’s no reason for you not to show up.
My only true complaint with Houston Coffee and Cars is the organization of featured cars. Having the three or five cars that you advertised bunched up together is so stupid. It’s just dumb. At least put them at different ends of two aisles, so that there’s not literally hundreds of people bunched up around two cars. Efficiency is what is missing from your meet.
It’s hard to make it through the aisles sometimes because of the cluster of people that stay bunched up.
The worst part is some people who bring their dogs and don’t bother keeping their eyes on them and the poor little pups are getting nudged and their paws stepped on because nobody ever pays attention to anything. Breaks my heart, man. Dogs want to see the cars too!
This has been a rather long-winded post, but I hope it was worth the time. It wasn’t my intention to point out what all is wrong with C&C, but rather to weigh the pros and cons. The pros vastly outweigh the cons. Of course, something of such a great magnitude will have its quarks and minuscule drawbacks, but this meet should draw you closer to loving cars and meeting great people like never before. Every month, this event lives up to the "Everything is bigger in Texas" theme. I hope to see you at Houston Coffee and Cars every month. It'd be a shame not to go!
Author & Photography: Harrytography