By Rob Alen
Southern California's Donut Derelicts: the original Cars-and-Coffee.
Car enthusiasts have been gathering together for a long time. In the early 20th century the wealthy showed off their latest automotive acquisition at the Bois de Boulogne in Paris or Deauville. The camaraderie has been there for the Everyman too and continues today in the latest iteration as Cars-and-Coffee; whether it is a local Saturday morning or add-on event to a fancy affair.
Legend traces C&C back to Southern California's Donut Derelicts. Since the mid-1980s, Saturday morning in Huntington Beach has brought hard core hot-rodders together for coffee and donuts, and the easy lope of a souped-up small block V-8.
If you get there at 7:30 on Saturday morning you are late, that is when people are starting to leave.
Sometime ago a group from Donut Derelicts drove south to a parking lot at a storefront mall in Newport Beach. A bit swanky, it overlooked the Pacific and over time attracted premium cars. It was common to see three Porsche Carrera GTs, a couple of F40s. But the neighbors got cranky and the group migrated to a parking lot between the Mazda National Headquarters at the time, and the western Ford Advanced Styling studio.
Under the wing of some Ford executives it became the Cars-and-Coffee of international renown. Manufacturers would bring their latest cars to show to a knowledgeable and influential audience.
It would not be unusual to see Barry Meguiar of Meguiar's polish and the TV show "Car Crazy," SoCal local Dan Gurney would ride over on his Alligator motorcycle in leathers regalia. Ford executives would squire him around in a golf cart. The lines of cars to get in became long, the area was growing up, and it all just got too big to manage and so it ended.
Groups splintered off to other shopping centers and empty parking lots.
Through it all Donut Derelicts has remained unchanged. Today, street rods, customs, and drag-strip relics and their owners continue to show up.