Luis Fraguada and Tyler Christopherson knew there were a lot of exceptional collector automobiles in Minnesota that were isolated and out of sight. As motor car and motorsports fans, they had a vision of bringing these vehicles together so owners could meet, talk and enjoy one another's cars and company. Their strategy for motivating a critical mass of cars and owners was simple: go onto Internet forums devoted to sporting marques like Audi, Porsche and BMW, and invite people to gather - and drink coffee-the first Saturday of each month (from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.). And, indeed, these cars are emerging from closed garages to amaze onlookers with their numbers, variety, style and sounds.

"Cars and Coffee" began in April 2008 at a Caribou Coffee in Hopkins with an assortment of sports and collector cars and their owners. The event was so successful that the following month brought out 80 cars. In July, fans turned up with 120 cars and by August the number doubled again to 240 vehicles from a variety of manufacturers and eras. That many cars and the larger number of pedestrians overwhelmed the area by the Hopkins Caribou, so organizers found a new location ideally suited to big car events: the Auto Motorplex in Chanhassen. More than 300 cars, plus many additional spectator vehicles, flooded this car haven on Saturday, September 6.

The gathering's success arises in part because it isn't exclusive. Your stock front-engine, rear-drive late-'50s Jaguar XK150 is just as welcome and appreciated as the year-old tricked out transverse-engine, front-wheel drive Volkswagen GTi down the row. Children are present and drivers sport the tousled moussed-up hair of youth as well as the grey and receded locks of the previous generation or two. And it isn't all the young drivers with the new cars and the older ones with classics. Ownership, knowledge and interest are scattered and blended across the years, which is part of what makes the event - and the car hobby - so enjoyable.

Fraguada, who lived in Minnesota in his youth, had settled in Arizona, where he started the precursor to this gathering with the same principles and approach: get enthusiasts together with their cars to meet, talk, learn, have fun. When he returned to Minnesota, friend and fellow enthusiast Christopherson was ready to help out organizing and planning the event. As it turns out, Cars and Coffee grew so big, so quickly, handling logistics, such as where to park what vehicles, takes nearly all of the organizers' time the first Saturday of each month.

The duo behind Cars and Coffee are also interested in motorsports, something some of their attendees either participate in already or have at least considered trying. Fraguada and Christopherson are exploring ways to create competitive opportunities for any of their large C&C fanbase who might like to give it a try. Beyond its social function, Cars and Coffee can also serve as an incubator for various events that car fans and owners might enjoy but have not otherwise explored.

Even if you don't own a special car, it's a fun gathering to take in. Where else could you see dozens of Porsches, BMWs and Audis, plus a VW Thing, Ferrari Lusso, Maserati Ghibli, Smart Cars and a GG Quadster or two... and see it all with a good cup of coffee? For more information, visit

Next meeting: First Saturday of each month, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.