Five Favorite Vehicle Ideas for the Next Cars & Coffee

The scene at AutoMotoPlex
What could we do down there? Hmmm…. Photo by Randy Stern

Yes, I had a great time at the opener of MN C&C for 2013.

It was a smaller crowd, with most potential cars parked away from the grounds. The weather provided some interesting challenges – the cold plus threatening skies under rain forecasts. Still, the hearty ones exhibited their rides – ranging from an old Volkswagen Microbus to a rat rod Dodge pickup on a Chevrolet frame to a Tesla Model S.

This was not my first time at MN C&C. My initial breaking training at the Twin Cities' premier regularly scheduled enthusiast event became part of a review for the Lexus CT 200h. Was it worth it? A colleague questioned why I would bring a vehicle for review onto the grounds. I figured I see what reaction it got. Since then, my visits to AutoMotoPlex in Chanhassen were with review vehicles that remained in the parking areas outside of the complex's gates.

But, what if I wanted to bring something to MN C&C – or, any Cars & Coffee event anywhere across the country. What would I bring? What would draw the attention of everyone – from young hooners (or "Rice," as Ricekillers would call some of them) to seasoned enthusiasts with deep collections of their own?

Given my walkaround of the MN C&C opener, I came up with about five – and, yes, this is another Five Favorites – that would be perfect for the next MN C&C. It would spur conversations, debates, opinions, and so forth. It would be one I would be proud to show off.

The five, you ask? Well…

PORSCHE PANAMERA: At this MN C&C, I have seen almost every Porsche ever made on display. There was a 944 and a couple of 968s (or were they 944 Turbos with the latter front end?), a couple of 928s, a slew of 911s and a Cayenne. There were no Panameras that showed up. Someone needs to change that. Granted, not everyone likes the look of Porsche's four-door. There are some aspects of it that fits within Porsche's design tenets, but most enthusiasts are not digging the looks. Underneath that skin is a completely different story. The Panamera has the widest engine lineup of any Porsche on the market – with a diesel, a hybrid and turbocharged V8s, to name a few. Ah, but which one? The GTS? The Diesel? The Hybrid? The Turbo? At least roll up in one.

PAGANI HUAYRA: It is doubtful that any Pagani has ever shown up at MN C&C. Maybe the ones on the coasts, but never here. The thing is – what if one actually showed up? How many deep would the crowds be? Just to admire the coachwork, the astounding amount of carbon fiber being used everywhere! And, the noise from that 6.0litre twin turbocharged AMG V12 – how it could scare the living daylights of the Carver County Sherriff. Not to mention the ease of driving it, thanks to the robotized seven-speed gearbox. The point being is this: It is a pointless and insane piece of machinery. But, we love that kind of thing.

2014 MASERATI QUATTROPORTE: Yes, the new one. Why? Though Maserati is hoping for greater sales on their new four-door flagship, not a lot of people may know why there should be a new one. Let alone rolling up in a new Maserati with a two Ferrari-sourced twin turbocharged engines – a V6 and a V8. Who can skate away from that? It is a trident on the grille?!? That still means something, right? Having seen the new 4Porte in Detroit, there had been some who questioned whether it still has the pull it always had. Does it still have that air of luxury, performance and class as had prior Maserati sedans? Could it still be evocative and produce a growl that trained enthusiasts gravitate to? There is only one way to find out.

TESLA MODEL S: I know, "how original!" Mark, whom I met from the local EV group last month, brought his example to MN C&C. His appearance sparked many conversations and Mark was very happy to discuss the car with interested parties. Given that there are at least seven of these cars on the road in Minnesota, part of about 70 Teslas in the state, including Roadsters, the conversations about the Model S are still fresh on many people’s minds. Also, there is not a retail location to see the Model S, as Tesla has not officially announced any plans for such a facility in this market. Having one of seven is great, but what about another one? Perhaps one parked in another part of the complex to attract another crowd. I will admit that I do not have Mark's knowledge of the vehicle, but having one on the grounds still draw a crowd.

ANOTHER MEDIA VEHICLE: Despite the question asked back in October of 2011, perhaps I should drop a media fleet vehicle into the abyss of the complex. The last two times I went to MN C&C, I had vehicles that would have been laughed out of grounds and out of Carver County. What if I had a hot car in my review fleet? There were quite a few Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ examples there. I could end up with one of them and bring it in. Maybe something along the lines of the Ford Explorer Sport would wrangle some interest. SRTs are no brainers, along with luxury vehicles of note – the upcoming Infiniti Q50 included. As long as it actually starts some conversations amongst the people milling around AutoMotoPlex, a media vehicle might not be laughed out of the place.

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