I woke up earlier than usual, exhausted.It didn’t matter how tired I was,I was excited for the day’s events. Today was Cars and Coffee.  I skipped the caffeine and chose adrenaline to wake me up that morning with a brisk ride on my Triumph Daytona. . I never really enjoyed the coffee, but I always relished the cars. Where else could you go to see thousands of rare, interesting and unique vehicles all at once?

This event seems to attract people from all walks of life.  Doctors, mothers, janitors and more show up to this event before it even officially starts. It has gotten to the point where being on time is considered late, with most people showing up at least an hour before.  The Knoxville C&C is one of the largest in the nation, where the turnout is the size of a small town.It’s large enough that even those who aren’t interested in cars seem compelled to go.

Cars and Coffee is different from the normal, grungy car meets that are held in random lots, late at night. There are no clubs or cliques, quietly judging every car that passes, but rather we talk with new people. People outside our normal circles and friends.  From a 15 year old kid talking about what he thinks would be an amazing first car for him, to an 80 year-old man going on about his want for the Ferrari 308 in front of him.

The more common, smaller events do more to divide enthusiasts. The small, cult-like following that underground meets enjoy provide us with a sense of superiority, but they drive away the public and shrink the overall car culture. Cars and Coffee does the opposite. It invites the new and the curious. It makes everyone, young and old, care about cars again. In an age where autonomous cars, the death of the manual transmission and ever tightening emissions regulations are looming, we need to do everything we can to strengthen the love of the car.  I urge everyone to continue going to Cars and Coffee and to continue talking to the strangers you just met in this random parking lot. Even if you have to skip out on some beauty sleep.

-Huge props to Pickle Media for this awesome video.