Jim Palam masks-up, packs his photographic gear in his Porsche, and restarts his relationship with live car events. The results: MONTECITO: CARS, COFFEE & CAMARADERIE!
It didn’t take too much of an arm-twist from my carguy friend Phil to motivate me to get up with the birds and drive down to tony Montecito to check out the reawakening of the Cars & Coffee gathering in the Upper Village. It had been a year since I covered any live car event for CarGuyChronicles and I had a strong urge to merge with other Covid-restricted enthusiasts.
Phil backed his ’72 MGB into one of the few remaining parking spaces in the small shopping center where the gathering was being held, and I backed my just-acquired ’73 Porsche 914 2.0 into another. I had barely donned my mask when a head-turning ’36 Hupmobile Aerodynamic Coupe, left, below, pulled into the spot next to me. Turns out this was the actual car that depression-savaged Hupmobile sent to the 1936 Melbourne Auto Salon Show in the hopes of capturing some of the Australian car market. Good fortune was unfortunately not on their side and by 1937 Hupmobile was effectively out of business.
One of the great things about local Cars & Coffee events is the unpolished aspect of it all: No car categories, no honey-throated MC, no etched-glass trophies – just early-riser car enthusiasts who get a tingle from mingling with other carguys and passers-by who want a closer look at these classic and vintage machines that move our bodies and souls.
Every car on informal display was special – but I had my Top Three favorites: Heading the list was the “pinch me to make sure I’m not dreaming” ‘54 Alfa Romeo 1900 SSZ Zagato with the ‘Double-Bubble’ roof. Next up was the masterfully rebuilt, super clean 356 “Outlaw” Porsche coupe with a 2.6 twin-plug engine. Last but certainly not least, was the sleek, Raymond-Loewy-designed Hupmobile.
Tucked in-between these standouts were fabulous Ferraris, Porsche 914s, mid-Century American pickups, a murdered-out Hummer, a ‘Saintly’ P1800 Volvo Coupe, a tricked-out BMW Alpina sedan, a sinister Deuce roadster, a white as snow ’62 Corvette and a biscuit-beige VW Bug.
Eventually Phil and I cut across Foothill Road from the event to grab breakfast at the San Ysidro Pharmacy. We were both buzzed, even before ordering coffee. As the waiter approached with our Eggs Benedict orders a long and stately Delahaye 135 MS Roadster drove slowly by the restaurant’s patio. This Deco dream had not been at the gathering, it was just out for it’s morning run through the Sycamore lined two-lanes of Montecito. Could it be we’ve turned the Covid corner and new carguy adventures await? Somebody pinch me!
MONTECITO: CARS, COFFEE & CAMARADERIE! Words & photos: Jim Palam, https://www.jimpalam.com/
To learn more about Montecito, Santa Barbara County, CA, please visit https://santabarbaraca.com/explore-and-discover-santa-barbara/neighborhoods-towns/montecito/