The Bergen Cars & Caffe group was playing an away game that morning, with their home field of Ridgewood High School passed over in favor of the larger lot of Panera Bread on Route 17 in Ramsey. However, the first-arriving cars congregated in the adjacent Kohl's lot, with a copious amount of empty spaces thanks to Bergen County's blue laws. And like the old wive's tale that a fish grows only as big as its tank, so did the meet. In fact, cars kept arriving (and leaving) throughout the entire morning, far exceeding the expected amount. The M.O. of C&C notwithstanding, all facets of automotive enthusiasts were well represented.
It was like the parking lot turned into an automotive savannah. Herds of Jeeps rolled in after a bevy of Bimmers, followed thereafter by a drove of Dodges. And they were all parked in harmony, intermingling amongst the other automotive enthusiasts from the different drives of life. I feel like Enya could have written a song about it, sung by David Attenborough. Perhaps the increased attendance can be attributed to the stacking of the shows that day, with groups of cars dropping in at the Bergen meet before popping over to the GSE kickoff at the Whiskey Cafe. Whatever the reason, it was delightful to have so many fresh machines to view.
Manufacturer participation is also on the rise, with an increased interest from the Paul Miller group, Open Road Cadillac and Lexus and BMW corporate, to namedrop a few. To me, this brings the dealership network that much closer to the crowd most likely to be purchasing their products. It also gives those potential clients an outlet to voice their opinions directly to the people whose ears matter most. It also doesn't hurt that most of the folks driving these dealer demos are enthusiasts themselves.
One important thing to note was the shenanigans. Since we're mostly adults attending these, it's important to contain that inner child when you're leaving the parking lot. Sure, it's hard not to put on a show for the hoards of kids with their Handicams and kit-lensed SLRS, running, without regard for cross-traffic mind you, to the exit every time they hear a V8 fire up; hoping to capture some sort of memorable clip or picture for whateverspotternj Instagram account they feed daily. But if you enjoy coming to these events, where businesses graciously offer up their space for a bunch of cars and their owners to gather for a few hours, then stop. Stop the burnouts. Stop the aggressive exits. Stop trying to entertain the children. None of your peers are impressed and it's behavior like that that gets events like this shut down.
Overall, the majority of the folks there were mindful of the rules and I think Tony needs to pat himself on the back for creating an event that brings the different automotive cultures together.
Now on to the Garden State Euros Spring Opener!
This is the last time the Whiskey Cafe will be holding a GSE event, as it's set to be taken over by new owners at the end of March. It seems the new owners will still allow the Saturday cruise nights to continue, which is a relief. The parking lot is perfect for the congregating of a large amount of cars. And the Spring Opener just about filled it to max capacity. As expected, a bunch of those previously spotted Bimmers and VWs were seen stalking the lot here, too.
I believe the unofficial count of vehicles was somewhere in the 600s, but that may be conservative. Although it's Garden State 'Euros,' more than a fair share of Asian and American delicacies were served up. However that's not to say the main course wasn't from our favorite German marques. There were plenty of VWs, Audis, BMWs and Mercs to balance out the Miatas, Mustangs, Subarus, and Acuras badged as Hondas. But this is what we've come to expect, even from a meet branded with Euro - there are many car enthusiasts among us that can appreciate all the cars, even if it's not sporting their preferred hood ornament. Cats and dogs, living together...mass hysteria! But it wasn't, it was pretty chill.
Given the forecast and Creepy Uncle Winter's uncomfortable grasp into March, many cars were still wearing their foul weather footwear. But it didn't matter. This was meant for people to break out of their hibernation stations, dust off their cars, and start the spring socializing season! Now that's not to say that no one came dressed with their dancing shoes, because there wasn't a shortage of shine, that's for sure.
After going through the pictures, it seems that I took more in via my eyes, then my lens. There's no denying there was a multitude f photographable cars there, but I just didn't capture as many as I wanted to. No worries - this just means that I already have a loaded excuse to come out to the next "Euro-only" show to fill my cache with appropriate material.