Before the days of social media, the highest quality advertising was concocted in closed-door boardroom scenarios. It was Mad Men brought to real life, creating content that returned a high ROI for their clients. There were clever clips, memorable catchphrases, and tactful taglines. These days, with Instagrammers and Facebookers the prevalent force at social gatherings, the advertising dollars are best spent elsewhere. If you play your cards right, as Paul Miller did by hosting a Cars & Coffee style event, you can be sure that there will be a colony of eager beavers providing countless images of your unofficial ribbon-cutting, often for little more than a shoutout on their selected social media site.
I won't discount the fact that I am a part of that group, however distant the association may be. I enjoy photographing just about every car there probably more than the next guy. I'm also quick to post up said images with nothing more than a watermark and a hope that it will find an interested party for purchasing. And although I've tried self-intervening to reduce my capture rate, it has happily failed.
Additionally, It seems that the meaning of arriving early has shifted. I thought that an hour before the posted start time would be sufficient in setting up to catch the morning arrivals. However, even though it was a tick before 8 a.m. when I clicked my cameras on, there were already at least 50 cars parked. It won't be long before people are camping out overnight to get the prime real estate in the lot.
After last year's free-for-all upon the conclusion of the similar event at Paul Miller's previous Porsche post, where cars were launching onto Route 46 like A-4 Skyhawks from the deck of the Intrepid, I wasn't so sure if there would be a follow-up this year. Thankfully, the powers that be were proactive in having Parsippany's finest assist in the orchestration of the entering and exiting of attendees this time. They were cordial, civil, and most importantly, appreciative of most of the cars there. In fact, one of the officers even rolled up in his Ford Police Interceptor SUV, intentionally misquoting the F&F franchise..."More than you can afford...Ford."
Needless to say it was a much more harmonious interaction this go around. But let's get to the content; the reason I show up to these things in the first place. I can be quoted from a previous piece saying something along the lines of C&C meets were losing their intimacy when the number of attendees started to exceed some sort of preset desirable number. That when the crowds begin to overflow, the meaning becomes diluted. I would like to recant that statement and modify my previous opinion in light of changing times.
Sure, I would appreciate a quality over quantity approach to C&Cs. But when you look at what it really means, trying to limit that would go against its original intentions. They bring people out and gets people together, along with their cars that in some cases would otherwise go unseen. And even though it should be perceived as a positive that it returns a meet that can sometimes eclipse 600 cars, it can be a bit overwhelming. Nonetheless, I think I would much prefer a greater selection of cars over a smaller amount. Besides, who doesn't want to drown in 911s from all generations?
Speaking of 911s, there was a very convincing Ruf Turbo R replica that showed up. It had just the right amount of branded goodies to fool me, but another keen observer detected something was awry with the VIN, proclaiming that the first character was allegedly not a match to a true Ruf. I would like to believe this, but I'd still prefer to hear from the owner himself.
Other automotive honorable mentions would have to go to the satin cerulean blue McLaren P1, a Mercedes-Benz 190 Evolution (the other questionable 'replica'), more Ferrari 458s than I knew what to do with, an R34 Skyline GT-R V.spec, and a surprising number of heavy-hitting muscle cars. Oh, and an Enzo. Can't forget about the Enzo. It was funny, as it was leaving a wave of people made their way to the exit to record its departure, hoping for a show. Their disappointment was palpable as it left the lot in the most timid manner. It was quite comical.
All told, most of the cars that showed up were picture worthy, as evidenced by the nearly 1,200 images I had to sort through once I got home. But that is one of the upsides of a meet and greet this large: that I forget what was there and am pleasantly surprised all over again when I'm flipping through the captures. Sometimes it seems that I've taken the same picture hundreds of times, just with different subjects, but it doesn't matter. I'm creating a photographic record of the cars for my own enjoyment. Plus, it makes #TBT posts that much easier, too.
For the unforeseeable future, it's time to come to terms with the expansion of the C&C culture and its many derivatives. If you look hard enough (and sometimes they're right in your backyard), you're certain to find something to attend on any given weekend day, or weeknight for that matter. Will the rapid permutation of the C&C philosophy impede on the quality of the individual meet? Only time will tell. Until then, you can expect this blog to be reporting on current trends as they evolve.
Check out the gallery of selected hi-res images HERE!