The Cars and Coffee show in Austin TX has been so successful over the past three years that parking space has become an issue. Therefore the show has been split into two. From now on we are very lucky to have two big shows in the Austin area! The format of both remains the same: any type of car, bring what you run, and have a coffee or burger while viewing several dozens different types of cars.
The Leander Car show will be held on the same first Sunday of each month, 10 Am to 1 PM, in the same old downtown Leander spot.
The Cars and Coffee Austin show will now be held on the second Sunday of each month, 10 Am to 1 PM, at The Oasis on Lake Travis. In addition, on Formula 1 race weekends, a F1 watch party will be held from 1 to 3:30 PM.
Facebook pages have been setup for each show:
We’ve covered Cars and Coffee for the last three years, and have several hundred pictures on our site’s gallery of participants. See Events and Places in the dark gray menu bar at the top of this page for the images.
Cold and chilly in Central Texas in January means a high temperature of “only” 55F degrees. Nonetheless, a number of brave guests came out to show their cars despite the weather. Not as many as the usual attendees, but a good number nonetheless.
That Officer just moved here from Calgary and said he is enjoying the great weather in Texas. We’ll give him 6 months to see how he enjoys temperatures well over 100.
The Camaro club of Central Texas had its usual full showing, with a dozen cars and enthusiastic owners.
With a show every month, rain or shine, and several dozen people showing everything from rat rods to race cars to military vehicles, Cars and Coffee offers something for everyone. And, as the name says, some owners come merely to show their car for a short period of time as they consume their morning coffee, and some stay longer. It’s up to you. Guests are very welcome too, and hundreds come out on a good day.
But not on a chilly day, as 55 degrees meant that most native Texas stayed home to keep warm. These are the people who can trace their ancestry to settlers arriving in covered wagons, braving the terrible weather, attacks, disease, and pestilence. No more, nowadays many Texans are a wimpy lot. We managed an hour, then retired to our warm car and home to edit these images.
Our January 6, 2013 Cars and Coffee Austin Image Gallery covers the most unusual cars of the show – mostly cars we hadn’t seen before rather than duplicate pictures of cars that regular attend. And as always there were a couple of standouts.
First was this 1986 Mustang SVO, in Jalapeno Red. SVOs are rare, and even in this show where we’ve seen unusual cars that we haven’t seen anywhere in the country, we’ve only ever seen one Mustang SVO in person. And we’ve attended every single show for three years. Beautiful, and in great shape (despite a couple of minor mods). Full pics in the Gallery!
Then there was this rat rod. Rat rods are a developing phenomena… we’ve seen very very few of these around town. This one we’ve seen before but development continues. The owner was there talking about possibly putting a coat of clear on top of the “paint” to keep it intact. And, BTW, note the radiator overflow bottle – it’s a bottle of “Daniels” (as Sinatra called it, “Jack” to the rest of us). Nice!
We also got a closeup look at this Buick Riviera, a car we’d seen before at the show but not with its hood up. Note the headlights – they rotate down and are vacuum operated. Only in a Riviera, back in the golden days when the car was truly unique and worth owning.
Our “Events & Places” menu bar at the top has links to three years of Cars and Coffees, including several hundred images.
The great thing about a Cars and Coffee event is the wide variety of cars you’ll see there. The show is “non-denominational” – meaning it’s not limited to exotic or muscle cars at all and you’ll find all kinds of cars (and even military vehicles) to suit every possible interest. In November 2012, for example, we found a fascinating example of a 60s French sports car in the Matra Bonnet Djet V S. Where else would you find one of these, much less one that was driven to and from the event?
One of the interesting cars we found in the December 2012 event was this 1968 Mercury Cougar. It’s one of several Cougars we’ve seen in the show over the years, including a 1970 Boss 302 Cougar Eliminator with a factory Boss 302 package. And just last month it was a 1970 Cougar XR-7 that closely resembled our own 1970 Cougar XR-7.
We liked this 1968 Cougar – a lot – and in fact if it had been for sale we would have bought it on the spot.
As our Ford fanatics readers know, the Cougar was built on a slightly elongated Mustang chassis with all-new (and very different) sheetmetal. Mechanical options were identical (although V-8 only), as was the front and side glass and the interior instruments (in a unique dashboard). But the intent of the Cougar was as an upmarket alternative to the Mustang. The emphasis was on personal luxury, although performance models were offered as well.
Sometimes derided as the “electric shaver grill”, the vertical bars and hide-away headlamps made the Cougar unique and distinctive. The lights are controlled by a vacuum tank, which is prone to rust but which can also be easily repaired. A similar system was used on the 1968 Ford Thunderbird.
1968 was the first year for the new “Windsor” iron black and head OHV 302 cubic inch (4.9 liter) engine that would serve duty in numerous Ford, Lincolns, and Mercurys up thru 2002 Australian Falcons. This engine family began in 1962 with a 221 cubic inch version, followed by 255, 260, and 289 cubic inch versions. By 1968, only the 302 remained in production, (although some 289s were left over in Mustangs). A taller deck height version of this engine stretched displacement to 351 cubic inches in 1969 and was found in many Ford Motor Company vehicles, culminating in the 1995 Mustang SVT Cobra R. The optional engine during 1967 and 1968 was a 390-cubic V-8, and a very limited number were built with 427 cubic inch V-8s.
Rust problems abound in early Cougars and Mustangs. One of the most nefarious issues, found in out own 1967 Mustang, was the inner fender liners rusting underneath the hood hinges. The force of the hood hinge springs would compound the problem. If you spot one of these cars with the trailing edge of the hood slight raised, this is a telltale sign. Fortunately, this Cougar had almost immaculate inner fenders and was very clearly well taken care of. The shock towers are also very clean.
Note the rare factory air conditioning. One option this Cougar doesn’t have unfortunately, is front disc brakes (drums were still standard). Our ’67 Mustang had both aircon and front disc brakes, as well as the very rare K-code engine. Our ’70 Cougar XR-7 had both aircon and disc brakes, along with a 351.
The interior is a stylish mix of Mustang parts (speedo to the left and aux gauges to the right), along with aircon vents and controls, steering wheel, shifter, and window cranks) and up-level trim in the unique dashboard and door panels.
Likewise, the seats were Mustang underneath but with much better trim and unique colors. In some later ’68s, not this example, headrests were introduced before they became Federally mandated the following year.
The rear end of the Cougar was also unique, and featured a vertical bar motif to match the front. However, the taillights were sequential. In turns the lights would start in the middle of the car and move outward in the direction of the turn. Unfortunately, the electronic module that controlled the sequencing was mounted in the lower left hand side of the trunk, behind the wheels, in an area prone to rust. In our own Cougar, this module because water-logged from water kicked up thru the rust holes at the bottom of the fenders. Our sequencing stopped working, causing us to fail inspection one year at a nearby Lincoln-Mercury dealer. When we simply unplugged the faulty module to make the lights work conventionally, the dealer denied us a pass anyway on the basis that the car didn’t come that way. Ridiculous – and we just went elsewhere to get a pass and kept the car like that until we located another module. Nowadays, hese are easily and routinely repaired.
At the December 2, 2012 Cars and Coffee event in Austin Texas (complete gallery here), there were two unique examples of military vehicles present.
First up was this World War II Harley-Davidson Servi-Car, perfectly restored and complete. The Servi-Car was built from 1932 thru 1973, however all production was routed to military use during the war. After the war, most were found with police departments across the United States as parking enforcement vehicles. The flathead 750cc side-valve V-2 engine was used from 1937 to the end of production, as was the 3-speed + reverse constant-mesh transmission. The rear axle was solid with a small differential. The box was steel thru production until 1966, when it was replaced with fiberglass. From 1937 forward, a drum brake was found at each wheel (previously only 1 front and 1 rear). In the very last year of production, discs were substituted.
Next up is a military HMMWV, owned by the City of Leander Texas (the official host city of Cars and Coffee Austin). This is a surplus Operation Iraqi Freedom vehicle, part of a program to send such vehicles to Police Depts. across the country who can justify the request for special tactical purposes. While the turret no longer has the M240B or M249 SAW gun mount, it’s still present for use as needed (above an air conditioner unit built into the back wall of the passenger compartment), as is the armor plating on the doors. Message to perps: don’t try to pull anything in Leander TX. In fact, don’t mess with Texas period.
The last Cars and Coffee of 2012 in Austin Texas was held Sunday December 2. Despite cloudy skies, and temperature approached 80 degrees and the attendance was above normal.
The following pictures shows just one small part of the show – the lines of cars extended to the blocks and parking areas behind the buildings in the background.
View our complete gallery of images, here. Follow the “Events & Places” heading at the top of the page to see several hundred images from the last three years of the Austin Cars & Coffee events. We haven’t missed an event since they started in 2010 – and the popularity of Cars & Coffee in Austin continues to grow.
The terrific thing about Cars and Coffee is the wide variety of cars you’ll see. Everything ranging from military vehicles to antiques to exotics to classics to Japanese and European performance cars - and then even more. One of the most unusual cars at the November 2012 show was this Matra Bonnet Djet V S. This is the S model, signifying the 90 horsepower version of the Renault 8 Gordini 11098cc OHV 4 cylinder engine instead of the standard 70hp. The mid-engine fiberglass-bodied Matra Djet series was designed by René Bonnet and built from 1962 thru 1967 by Bonnet first, then later Matra. Approximately (numbers vary) 1495 in the series were built.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to speak to the owner, but we suspect we know who he is based on past examples of French cars we’ve discussed with him. We hope we have the details of his car right this time.
This is not our first Matra Bonnet Djet - we’ve seen two before at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, TN – one completely unrestored and one in perfect restored condition. The following example is rough, but in good condition considering it’s age and is ready for a restoration.
The November 2012 Cars and Coffee in Austin Texas dawned bright and cold… but attendance by car enthusiasts was as strong as always. Here’s an example of one car that we hadn’t seen at an Austin Cars and Coffee before: a 1970 Mercury Cougar XR-7.
The 1970 Cougar was a slight update of the 1969 model. The 1969 and 1970 models are technically thought of as first generation-Cougars, but are in fact very different and much more advanced than the earlier 1967 and 1968 Cougars - even though they share the chassis. 1969 brought an entirely new and unrelated body, and also increases in width, length, and weight.
We were drawn to this familiar and well-preserved 1970 model because of our own 1970 Cougar XR-7. The XR-7 featured up-market wheel hubcaps; these modern aftermarket aluminum “mags” are keeping to the original period but are not related to any factory option.
The interior is a considerable step up from the previous year Cougar, and again makes use of Mustang switch gear, gauges, steering wheel (rim-blow), and seats. This particular Cougar has the full-leather interior in black. Our own XR-7 had the combination cloth and leather interior, in two shades of brown/tan, with a hounds-tooth cloth pattern. We also had the power windows that this car is lacking.
The ’70 Cougar featured a more prominent center grill and matching bumper. The center grill raises with the hood for 1970. The center grill would be even more exaggerated in the next-generation 1971-1973 models. Hide-away headlamp covers are in their last year in 1970.
The leading edge of the fender, a cap mounted to the fender, is less pointed than the 1969 model. The signature vertical bars remain, a combination chrome and black in all models except the Eliminator where they were solid black.
Here we see the first appearance in the Cougar of the 351 “Cleveland” engine. The Cleveland engine offered a wide range of improvements over the older Windsor engine, and considerably improved breathing due to an entirely new cylinder head design. The head was, however, interchangeable with the older Windsor design, a combination of which yielded the “Boss 302″ engine.
This Cougar is in a handsome and very desirable blue color. Our own Cougar was in a similarly handsome light metallic brown. We haven’t seen a Cougar in either of these colors for many years. Note the grill attached to the hood – watch your head!
Cougar XR-7 badge, located on the C-pillar
Interior on the passenger side. The clock in front of the passenger was borrowed from the Mustang and with a start/stop button could be used to get a rough time when racing. The Hurst shifter is non-standard, although a manual-transmission Cougar is a very rare animal.
The second generation Datsun Z, known internally as the S130 and built at the Shatai factory in Hiratsuka, ran from 1978 to 1983. The basic chassis was slightly updated from the first generation, with an improved drag coefficient and considerably reduced lift contributing to much better stability at high-speed. Later in the model run, a long wheelbase design was offered in order to add vestigial rear seats.
The single overhead cam inline six cylinder engine was basically unchanged from the 1st-gen 280Z, with SAE net horsepower ratings from 135 (8.3 compression) to 145 (8.8 compression) depending on the model year during the lifespan of this generation. In 1981, Datsun added a turbocharged version of this same engine offering 180HP. Domestic Japanese buyers could only buy a 2 liter version of the turbocharged engine due to local regulatory conditions. Because the existing 5-speed transmission was considered to be too weak for the 2.8 liter turbo engine, an American 5-speed (the Borg-Warner T-5) was specified. The turbocharged model also brought an improved suspension which was then made standard on naturally aspirated models in 1982.
Despite the technical improvements, the focus for the redesign followed the times: adding luxury in every way possible. Air conditioning, leather, a digital dashboard and T-tops were all options added for this purpose. Special models during the lifetime of the 2nd-gen included a 10th anniversary edition with the then-popular black and gold combination (or the flamboyant gold with lower-half black). And this black and gold beauty example at is what we chanced upon at the September 2012 Cars and Coffee show in Austin, Texas:
If you haven’t been to a Cars and Coffee event (now held in many cities worldwide), you are missing out on the best informal car show you’ll find. In our local show in Austin Texas, Z enthusiasts are a very strong presence, and many models from the original to the latest Zs are well represented. The local Capitol Z of Texas club represents classic Z and Datsun owners, as well as Nissan and Infiniti enthusiasts.
We have a considerable number of books in our personal library covering everything from the original to the current Z. Here are a few of our recommendations for your consideration:
The September 2012 Cars and Coffee found us staring – at a V-8 engine swap in a Fiero. We like swaps, and any kind of swap fascinates us. We’d seen one other V-8 Fiero conversion before, quickly, but now we had the opportunity to look one over in more detail.
As you may recall, Pontiac built the Fiero from 1984 to 1988, ending production just after just after significantly updating the suspension and brakes for 1988 but without fixing the breakage-prone fuel tank. The Fiero was originally equipped with a 2.5 liter PV “Iron Duke”, or the corporate 2.8 liter OHV V-6. Given those meager engines, swaps are popular. Period GM Quad-4 and DOHC 3.4 liter V-6 engines are easy swaps. But the hot ticket came when Fiero enthusiasts discovered that the classic small block Chevy V-8 can also be made to fit.
V-8 conversions are more popular than you might think. Here’s one company: V-8 Archie. Archie has V-8 swap experience dating to 1986 (2500 kits sold), and a wealth of parts including big brake kits and a 6-speed manual transmission conversion. Archie supplies a video tape with his conversion kit, but is so confident of his record that he has two detailed documents on his site here and here.
The biggest and best monthly car show in Central Texas continued on August 5th despite 100-degree temperatures. But that didn’t stop several dozen cars and hundreds of enthusiasts from attending and making it a great show. If you are not familiar with Cars and Coffee, it’s a globally syndicated car show held in several cities every month of the year. The idea is to grab a cup of coffee, walk around, and enjoy the cars on a Saturday or Sunday morning. The show in Austin Texas is held on the first Sunday morning of each month and is very well attended. You’ll see a very wide range of cars: all years, all models, all types. Something for every possible automotive interest. Coffee, food, live music, and hundreds of cars and enthusiasts – what could be better?
The location is downtown Leander, a small town located just a few miles north of Austin on highway 183. The show is situated across several blocks surrounding by town offices, businesses, restaurants, and more. There is plenty of parking room provided, and space for trailers. Cars and Coffee is designed for car exhibitors as well as people who just want to walk thru and enjoy the show. The show is entirely informal… free, no costs, just show up and stay for as much of the three hours as you’d like. Some folks stay for the duration, others come and go.
You’ll find our full set of pictures here: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/?page_id=13465. And be sure to look at the Events drop-down menu at the top of this page to see hundreds of our pictures from the last three years of Cars and Coffee in Austin. Note that given the sheer volume of cars… after the first few shows we stopped taking pictures of some of the cars that are the most regular attendees. So look thru the lot of them across the three years for the complete picture.
And if you live in Central Texas, or can get here, this is the #1 place to be for car enthusiasts.