Sunday Morning Cars & Coffee, Aug. 29, 2021

(Pardon the tardiness of this post while I attended to some other pressing matters.)

After the success of our first Cars & Coffee-type event of 2021, we decided to try it again; we even selected the same Dunkin’ Donuts location in Mahwah NJ. We had an enthusiastic turnout, and as much as this group has always enjoyed the morning cruise along country roads, there is something to be said for planting the car in one spot and devoting 100% of your time to chatting up the crowd.

The cars ranged from Corvettes (a C1 and C7), BMWs (a 2002tii and a 135 coupe), Porsches, a Nova, a Grand Prix, and your blogger’s Miata. Having arrived at 8am, much of the crowd was still hanging out at 11. Breakfast was top-notch (as good as a bagel and a hot coffee can get), and the late August weather, never predictable, cooperated. We enjoyed ourselves and we will do it again!

Burton’s C1 Corvette


Robert’s C7 Corvette


Ken’s Porsche 911


Richard L’s Porsche 911


Fred’s Pontiac Grand Prix


Richard R’s Miata




Both Sal with his 2002 and Art with his 135 were more than generous in offering me a chance to jump behind the wheel for a short spell. I haven’t driven a 2002 in who-knows-how-long, and I’ve never driven a Tii. Sal’s car is somewhat modified in the steering, suspension, and tire departments, although that’s not easy to detect by eye. He has ‘sport’ steering in it, with about a half-turn lock-to-lock (I’m kidding, but not by much). The car started right up, and the throttle response under the mechanical fuel injection was very linear. The 4-speed was easy to shift with a light clutch, and the sweet spot on the road was around 40mph in 3rd gear (not unlike my Alfa). Dashboard ergonomics were German-funky. After 10 minutes, I still never found the windshield wiper control. Visibility with that tall greenhouse is outstanding. Fifty years on, it’s quite easy to understand the revelation that BMW’s little sports sedan brought.

Art’s 2011 135 has just enough connection to the 2002 to see the familial resemblance, but of course, this is a 21st century automobile. All the controls are light, almost too much so, and the 6-speed is a delight to snick through the changes. There may be nothing quite as smooth as an inline-six (except an inline-eight), and BMW’s sixes are known for their sewing-machine precision in sound and performance. Funnily enough, I’m not sure that the dash ergonomics are much of an improvement over the 2002, but that is as much a function of electronics as it is design. For me, the size of this box is perfect, and many of the buff books at the time agreed, citing a 3-series car that had become too bloated. Art sought this out to have a RWD manual tranny ‘sports car’ and he’s got a jewel of one.


All photographs copyright © 2021 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

Sunday Morning Cars and Coffee, May 2, 2021

Success! Our informal Sunday Morning Breakfast Group, which last held a gathering in September of 2019, managed to put together our own Cars & Coffee-style event this past Sunday. As an unexpected surprise, the “CarParkers” drive event held the same day resulted in dozens of additional cars joining us in the spacious lot of the Dunkin’ Donuts on MacArthur Blvd. in Mahwah NJ.

By 8:30 it was quite crowded

In our own group, we had perhaps a dozen and a half friends show up with their cars. On one hand, it was overwhelming to think that we had not seen each other in over a year and half. On the other hand, like the long-term companions we are, we fell right back into our lively repartee and wasted no time in catching up with each other, while those who procured new rides since our last drive enjoyed showing them off.

Our breakfast haven for the day

Hagerty and CarPark co-sponsored the other drive event along with Dunkin’ Donuts, the basic concept centering around a morning of driving to and meeting up at several Dunkin’ Donuts stores, with the chance to win some giveaways. I had alluded to this event in our own Cars & Coffee invitation, but frankly was expecting at most 10 or 20 other cars. The actual turnout was 3 to 4 times that, with a nice mix of older and newer exotics, including rarities ranging from a Ford Model T fire truck to a Sterling 825.

Can you guess the car?

The breakfast line got a bit long at times, but mask-wearing and social distancing appeared to be at 100% compliance while inside. Outside was much less of a concern; we became unmasked, but our usual bear hugs were on postponement until a later date.

Some cars wore the sponsors’ decal

There was no driving element on this occasion as we knew that time for us to mingle and swap stories would need to take precedence. What surprised me was how much more enjoyable I found this arrangement. Rather than be tied to a table, I was free to wander from subgroup to subgroup, and ended up chit-chatting with more of the guys than otherwise. My drive event co-planner and I are already intending to include a Cars & Coffee event on our rotating schedule for the Sunday Morning Breakfast Group.

I was so distracted by seeing old friends and meeting new ones (talkin’ about you, the young couple in the Suzuki Cappuccno) that I simply failed to photograph every car in the lot. However, the ones that did make it into my Sony are below. Final note about the photos: WordPress seems to have changed the method to see full-size versions of them. For full-screen versions, right-click on the picture, select “Open Image in New Tab”, and then click on the picture again.

Alfa Romeo Spider
BMW 3.0 coupe
BMW E30 3-series convertible
1972 Buick Riviera boattail
Corvette C7
Corvette C8
Ferrari FF
Ford Model T
Porsche Boxster
Datsun 510
Ford Mustang convertible
Saab 900
Jaguar XK
Sterling 825 (interior pic is above)
Mazda Miata ND
Mazda Miata NA
Mercedes-Benz 230/250/280 SL
MG Midget
Toyota Celica Supra
Polestar 1 & Polestar 2
Pontiac LeMans
Porsche 356
The final 8 in our group (from the left)
The final 8 in our group (from the right)

All photographs copyright © 2021 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.