Laguna Seca presents coffee and cars on the eve of vintage racing weekend

‘Experiment’ proves successful at track where Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion begins a four-day run today

Practice for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion vintage races begins at 8:45 a.m. Thursday with cars in Group 1A — 1927-1951 racing cars and pre-1940 sport racers and touring cars — first out onto the track for a 20-minute session.

But it wasn’t all quiet at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on the eve of the annual four-day festival of vintage racing. There were some rumblings of exhaust tones Wednesday morning, though these were emanating from down on the shores of the lake in the track’s infield.

The source was the collector cars rolling in for the inaugural Laguna Seca Cars & Coffee, an experiment being staged by the track under its new leader/chief executive, Tim McGrane, a proper British native who insists on wearing a long-sleeved white shirt and tie, even at the race track. 

A 1963 Cadillac, an Alfa Romeo and a classic Nissan parked side by side by side

McGrane has a long resume of event management and marketing, including a 25-year affiliation with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and a 30-year history in collector car auctions. He moved from a management position at the famed Blackhawk Museum to the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula just 2 1/2 months ago.

Though a first-time event, based on the inaugural turnout, look for this to become an annual part of Monterey Car Week.

The parking lot nearest the BBQ Island beverage stand filled quickly and a nearby and larger parking area was growing with cars their owners were eager to show.

How often does a classic Ford Maverick park next to a Ferrari?

A feature of cars-and-coffee style events is that you never are sure quite what to expect, and the Laguna gathering presented a delightful array of vehicles. Sure, there were the usual later-model Porsche 911s, but also some much earlier versions, plenty of American classics, vintage BMWs and some hot rods.

Owners were mixing, sharing details of their respective vehicles and enjoying the early morning coffee and sunshine.

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