Wonderful wake-up call as they roll in for Cars & Coffee at St. Johns

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When was the last time you saw this many Citroens parked together? Among the hundreds of cars at the Inn at St. Johns for Cars & Coffee this past weekend were a DS21 in the foreground, and two Maserati-engined SMs behind it. Tres chic! | Jim McCraw photos

From the fourth floor of the Hilton Garden Inn, you could hear them and see them, starting at 6:00 a.m.  

Coming off the exit ramp from M14 on to Sheldon Road, they knew they had about a one-mile run to the traffic light, so they legged it, their last chance to pin the tach in first and second before turning in to the huge Cars & Coffee event at the Inn at St. John’s, site of the Concours d’Elegance of America.  Detroit V-8s. Imported V-12s.  Twin-turbo flat sixes from Germany.  

Dozens and dozens of hot cars from Detroit and around the world at full throttle.  What a sound to wake up to.

Rather than try to compete with the concours, the new M1 Concourse race track in Pontiac (named for Woodward Avenue, which is Michigan Highway 1 or M1) told its Saturday morning regulars that the track would be shut down this weekend, and told them to go to St. John’s instead, where M1 would co-sponsor the morning gathering with Car and Driver magazine.

The joint was mobbed.  Fifteen hundred cars and trucks.  Every single space in the front parking lot had a cool car in it, and the spectator parking areas were so full that hundreds of cars had to park near the woods on Five Mile Road.  

No, it’s not a real Porsche 959 Group B race car, but the 911 brought here by Team Illuminati certainly drew a lot of attention

The accent here this year was on Porsche, celebrating it 70th anniversary with a huge display of museum cars, so the Cars & Coffee lot was full of Porsches, everything from 356s to every known variant of the 911 right up to the RS3.  

But that still left plenty of room for American muscle cars, all the other German and European brands, hot rods, homebuilts, and concept cars.  This was Detroit, after all.

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We don’t know for sure, but we think this may have been the largest Cars & Coffee gathering anywhere in the world.  Even if it wasn’t, the quality was certainly there along with the huge quantity.

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Jim McCraw has been writing about cars, motorcycles, design, technology, car people and racing for 50 years, in such publications as Hot Rod Deluxe, Super Chevy, Muscle Mustangs, Road & Track, Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Penthouse, Winding Road, The Mercedes-Benz Star, AutoWeek, The New York Times, and a number of European publications. He was executive editor of Motor Trend, editor of Hot Rod and Super Stock. He co-holds the record for the drive from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Key West, Florida, 96:22, and has run in major events such as the Mille Miglia Storica in Italy, Goodwood, the California Mille, the Colorado Grand, the New England 1000, Forza Mille, and four One Lap Of America competitions He owns a pristine Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan.

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