Bringing Car Enthusiasts Together:
Cars and Coffee is a monthly gathering that aims to bring car enthusiasts together in order to bond over mutual interests. Meet ups are held on the first Saturday of every month in cities across the globe. By 7:00am, car afficianados of all types begin showing up to display their cars, check out their friends’ rides, advertise their auto-related businesses and just have a good time keeping up with the local car buzz. The early meeting time doesn’t seem to faze car lovers who come from Charlotte and surrounding areas to view, talk and enjoy the family friendly atmosphere. There is literally something for everyone: people display classics, exotics, hot rods, muscle cars, and even motorcycles. Mike Burke, the owner of Sun Stoppers Window Tinting, is a member of Cars and Coffee who is thoroughly impressed with how the organization has not only brought members of the community together, but has also helped small businesses in their efforts to prosper. Brian Abdala, President of Cars and Coffee, was kind enough to allow us to interview him in order to learn a little more about the organization and the man who runs the Charlotte club.
Interview with Brian Abdala:
Q. Tell me about your very first car.
A. My first car was a BMW E46 330i. I bought it completely stock after high school and after 3 years of ownership, I modified it to where I wanted it; lowered, wider wheels, full exhaust etc.. I wish I would’ve kept that car.
Q. What made you interested in Cars and Coffee?
A. Back around 5 years ago, I started and ran a European car club that grew to around 1600 members here in Charlotte. We had monthly meets and drives as well. I then started working for Foreign Cars Charlotte which was and still is the biggest sponsor that helps this whole event happen. We had to move locations and with that, ownership of the event was passed on.
Q. What is the atmosphere like at a meet?
A. We try to make sure that the atmosphere at Cars and Coffee is very welcoming and friendly. We do this to bring the community together and share the one passion we all have in common!
Q. How do you work with local businesses?
A. Since this is one of the biggest gatherings in Charlotte that’s concentrated on the love of cars, why not help the local businesses in the area market themselves to thousands of people at one time? Most of the businesses that sponsor the event also correlate directly to the automobile world; making it easier to be approached.
Q. What is the best experience you’ve had at a Cars and Coffee meet?
A. The best time happens every month. When we can help people that have never seen so many different cars in one area, especially exotics; it’s really rewarding to watch people, especially kids, smile from ear to ear because their poster car just drove in!
Q. How many cars normally show up?
A. Our event runs all 12 months of the year, from 15 degrees up to 95 degrees. We see around 1100-1500 cars every month!
Q. Why is it important to bring car enthusiasts together?
A. It’s kept the human interaction going. I read through all the messages, comments and tags through our social media and a lot of people express how they wait all month just to come to Cars and Coffee. There are kids, teenagers, adults and even elderly people that all, at one point, talk to someone new, meet new friends, find new jobs, and show off their dreams cars on that 1st Saturday of every month.
Q. What is the coolest car that has ever come to a Cars and Coffee meet?
A. To my recollection, the coolest car, in my opinion, that has been to the event is a Freightliner Optimus Prime. It was on tour around the country! Another car that stands out is when Mr. Steve Saleen brought out a Saleen S1 pre-production car!
Attend a Cars and Coffee Meet:
People who are passionate about cars should definitely attend a Cars and Coffee meet. Come and mingle with people of all ages and backgrounds in one location to exchange stories, gather information, take pictures and learn about the one thing they all have in common – cars! Get up, have a cup of coffee, and make new friends while you enjoy the view. The Charlotte chapter of Cars and Coffee meets on the first Saturday of every month at the Old Charlotte Coliseum off Yorkmount Road. To find a chapter near you, visit carsandcoffee.com or search for a local Cars and Coffee group on Facebook..