"This is it. Relax and lay back. Welcome to California, dude."
After a hectic week in Motown with all work and no play, this Jack was an even more stressed out boy when the AVIS GPS, road notes and reading glasses (don't ask) didn't compute anymore - and the clock was ticking valuable minutes away of the early rise event in Irvine. It was George's soothing telephone voice that finally navigated me safely into this haven off Taco Bell's and Mazda. "Free parking every Saturday for Cars & Coffee, man - shweet deal", he briefs me in preparation.
And shweet it is!
We are in the land of opportunity - and of big, big bucks. Every Saturday morning at 6 AM, they gather; a motley crew of random racers - first come, first serve and the best spots go to the earliest birds in town. Supercars. Street racers. Classics. Rods. Unique wheels, all of them.
George is really into supercars. I can't believe the rods and customs. Others just hang around the cars of their own little club. It's all cool, we all get our fair share.
When we walk up to a pack of Cobras, George tells me that yesterday, on my day of arrival in SoCal, King Cobra himself has departed. The snake pit is in mourning this morning and one car in my top five of all time greats will never look the same anymore.
Apart from the Shelbys, there's not as many Yanks as one would expect. A perfect '57 Bel Air and slightly faded stock '56 Nomad seem incomplete without their '55 Tri brother, but satisfy my needs nevertheless - especially as they're complemented by a Firebird by-the-book and ditto Camaro.
Cars constantly come and go. No rigor, no rules and certainly no restraint. Polish till you drop and you can park where you want. See and be seen. Many of the machines look like they come straight out of the showroom - bling all around and shiny tyres. Engines cry left and right to please the crowd. This is a man's world. Fathers bring their sons, gearheads and speedfreaks unite. A spotless Iso Rivolta leaves many of them puzzled though, as it chooses to leave.
We decide to do the same. No, ...just one more round. And another surprise. Behind a sunburnt silver Alfa GTV, a brutal bark tears up the air as a purposeful Nip departs the field. There's no such thing as coincidence: the same night on my Facebook routine, it is exactly this samurai speeder that's featured as Top Story - tastefully framed in a vimeo vid. Josh Clason found it first.