Ask anyone in Bergen County what they do on Sundays and you're almost guaranteed they're not going to respond with 'shopping.' The county's [in]famous blue laws prohibit most retail shops from doing any business on the caboose of the week, harking back to a time when that day was reserved for prayer and resting. The modern day benefit to that, besides being able to catch up on things at home, is that there are countless parking lots that lay vacant, just waiting for someone to come along and fill them with all sorts of desirable automobiles. Those someones include Tony Boniello, of Bergen County Cars & Caffe, and TopGear Imports. Together, they masterminded an event sure to be talked about long after the stores have reopened for patronage.
Back in April, Cars & Caffe returned to TopGear Imports to add some next level shit to the usual C&C premise. Thousands flocked to the Saddle River industrial park, broke the traffic pattern, and quickly popped the proverbial pants button of the area. (PS: do not YouTube "buttons pop pants." You won't be able to unsee that.) Attendees and car owners also enjoyed a catered breakfast, dropping croissant crumbs over the polished floor of TopGear's warehouse as they perused the vast collection of inventory and NFS gems inside. If you missed it, or you just want to relive that glorious morning, HERE is my coverage.
So, how does one allow the C&C goldfish to grow? By moving it to a bigger bowl, of course! And given those antiquated and aforementioned blue laws, there were a few options. But when you're trying to set the bar to its highest level and close the year out right, there was only one place: the Garden State Plaza.
Parking capacity limited to 10k spots? Challenge accepted. Its estimated that around 7,000 cars were on location, spread out over numerous categorized parking areas for VIP, Ferrari, Porsche, Japanese, European, and American Muscle. The designated areas helped to contain the chaos that comes with seven thousand cars, and they were mostly successful in doing so. I'm happy to report that nothing negative worth mentioning occurred, aided no doubt by the constant presence of Paramus PD and private security.
Because this was so much more than a C&C in the traditional sense, Tony and TopGear wanted there to be more reason behind just showing up and looking at cool cars. With that in mind, there were collection buckets positioned throughout the parking area to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. And while final numbers haven't been computed yet, early approximations put the total donations in five figure range. That's not bad, considering that some folks had trouble locating the giving stations (which in my opinion were pretty clearly marked, especially the one directly in front of the VIP area).
Besides the hefty investment made by TopGear Imports (you don't think renting an entire mall parking lot is free, do you?), there was a long list of other sponsors, including Auto Couture, All In One Stop Shop, Motorcar Manor, Paul Miller Porsche, Lamborghini Paramus and McLaren Bergen County, Detail Guys, and New Age Autosport. And of course, the many volunteers who took on the task of herding cats and ultimately being the gear oil in this mega machine. Special shout to David Davila and Mike Brienza, who "were unbelievable with working the crowds," according to Tony. Additionally, to help drone out the sound of exotic engines, the on-site DJ was spinning the latest tracks, providing billboard topping background noise to every conversation.
Now, it's unreasonable to think that I can photograph every car in attendance, or at least acknowledge the majority of them, but I will spotlight a few of my favorites, as well as others deserving of a hat tip.
The VIP corral, which was on-again, off-again open to the general public, featured quite literally millions of dollars worth of cars, ranging from a complementing pair of Mercedes-Benz 300 SLs, to a home-built "rocket car" powered by a 600+ horsepower JDM heart. For the sake of space, let's just read the roll call of the cars I spotted on the red car-pet: two Ferrari LaFerraris, Pagani Huayra and a Huayra BC, Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari F12tdf, Ferrari F50, three McLaren P1s, the Pur Blanc Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, Lexus LFA, Callaway C12, the Raybestos Pontiac GTO-R, Ferrari 599 GTO, Mercedes-Benz RENNtech SLR, Pontiac Firebird IROC race car, Porsche 959, and Bryan Salamone's super shiny Lamborghini Aventador SV Roadster. Now, I don't want to call that an all-inclusive list, so if I missed anything, please let me know in the comments. At one point, I also counted four Carrera GTs on the outskirts of the VIP section, in addition to a Ford GT Heritage Edition, a few Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and two of those larger-than-life Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4², a car that begs the simple response of "because they could."
And that was just a sliver of the cars.
Make the 80s great again! There was not one, but two Koenig-fitted cars amongst the ranks. The first that caught my eye was a Jaguar XJS. The strakes of the wide rear quarters, the massive BBS RS wheels wrapped with big, beautiful balloon tires, and, because it was an earlier XJS, those four round headlamps that appeared to be staring right through your soul. It was awesome. The other Koenig Special was one that nearly escaped my camera lens; a black 1991 Porsche 964 (I understand this isn't a car from the 80s, but it might as well have been). It had unusual dual headlights recessed into the fenders and protected by either glass or plexiglass. The rear resembled something out of Japanese bosozoku culture. And the wheels again were deep dish multi-piece items made by a company called Modia (think OZ Futuras), but branded with the KS and Koenig logos.
Other cars worth seeing included a lovely Kaiser Darrin, with its trick doors that slid forward into the fenders. And you thought the scissor doors on the black Countach were cool. There were more JDM imports than the Port of Newark would know what to do with, including at least two R34 Skylines, an R33 Skyline, and a handful of R32 Skylines. There was also a Toyota Soarer and some RHD sedan that I can't recall what it was. Michael Knight didn't make it out, but KITT was there. A Panoz AIV and an original-owner De Tomaso Pantera were amongst other unique rides. Obviously, there were about four million Porsche GT3 RSs, more BMW M cars than the factory actually produced, and a lovely Subaru Impreza 2.5RS.
Honestly, I could spend many more hours coming up with clever similes and metaphors to describe just how out of this world this particular Sunday morning was, but I won't. Instead, I'll provide a link to my Facebook album HERE to prevent your internet browser from breaking up with you. Finally, I'm going to cut and paste some words from a prior post: all the images you see here or on my Facebook page are available for purchase, either as files or prints. Please submit all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support.