Car Show Classics: Building Friendship at a Cars and Coffee, or C&C with JPC

After I shared my last post from a local Cars and Coffee gathering, our very own J.P. Cavanaugh pinged me on Facebook and said, “Another one is coming up, do you want to meet me there?” Well, hell yes! You see, JPC and I live on opposite sides of town from each other. He rolled up in his own cars-and-coffee classic, his first-gen Mazda Miata.

Naturally, I shot film on this outing. I’m shooting through the cameras in my too-large collection, selling off the ones I don’t think I’ll use anymore. It was this 1974 Canon TLb’s turn in that process. It was Canon’s entry-level SLR at the time, with a top shutter speed of just 1/500 sec. But except for the battery-powered onboard light meter it’s all mechanical and lovely to use. I loaded some Kodak Gold 200 – but then set the camera to meter at 100, because this film’s great secret is that its colors become jewel-like when you overexpose the film a little.

Right off we came upon this 1972 Lincoln Continental. Given JPC’s predilection toward, and history with, Lincolns of this era, we lingered for a good long while.

My goodness, but how luxury cars have changed since 1972. This car seems mighty primitive to a modern eye. I was amused to notice that the turn-signal stalk was the same one used in my first car, a 1975 Pinto. And when was the last time you saw a turn-signal stalk whose only job was to activate the turn signal? Even on the cheapest car today all stalks are cram packed with things to do, such as control the wipers and set the cruise control.

The Conti’s generous flank made a lovely mirror for its neighboring Mustang.

These events are full of resto-modded muscle cars. I generally look right past them but I do have a soft spot in my heart for the ’70 Chevelle. I just love the front-end treatment they got and will always think that the ’71 and ’72 front ends were a step backward.

Swoon. So lovely.

It was surprising to come upon this Super Bird – I’ve only ever seen them in museums and at big auctions.

The almost-turquoise blue suited this car.

I’m a big fan of the ’67 and ’68 Mustang – the changes Ford made to the original Mustang body just look so right to me. JPC mentioned how thick the Mustang seat backs are, and how common that was in period Fords. Shortly we came upon a ’67 Camaro that I forgot to photograph and noticed its markedly skinnier seat backs. Now I’ll never not notice that.

This is such a beautiful cockpit.

So is this, from a mid-50s Corvette. It manages to balance feeling raw and elemental with looking thoughtfully designed.

This event was held at a classic car dealer, and of course they invited us all inside to see their inventory. I’ll always stop to look at a step-down Hudson. I just love them.

The light was dim inside, making photography challenging given I was shooting at ISO 100. I shot wide open, at f/1.8, at shutter speeds so slow that I had to be very steady to avoid camera shake. When I managed that, I got great results.

But really, it’s less about the photography and more about the chance to build a friendship. Thanks for suggesting we make this trip, JPC!