Cars and Coffee: Learn About Menlo Park’s Automotive Community

Every first Sunday of the month, many Bay Area car owners wake up extra early to secure a parking spot outside Coffeebar along Chestnut Street. This event, known as Cars and Coffee, is one of many monthly gatherings for Bay Area car fanatics, and by 9 a.m. it attracts a variety of unique and expensive vehicles, along with nearly 100 eager spectators.

Khan’s G83 M4 BMW convertible. Photo courtesy of Mustafa Khan.

Mustafa Khan, a Cupertino resident, was one of many car owners in attendance this past Sunday. Khan has been attending Cars and Coffee events across the Bay for a few years, and started going to its Menlo Park event a year ago. “It’s a great place to chat with other owners and meet people,” he said.

Khan brought his newly purchased G83 M4 BMW convertible, but mentioned that he usually brings his McLaren GT. He said his love for cars began when he was a baby and appreciates being able to spend time with other car fanatics. “It’s really nice to have a place to go to hang out with friends who share common interests,” he said. 

Car owner and attendee Cris Moreno also shares a lifelong appreciation for the automotive community. “My dad was really into cars when I was growing up, and I played a lot of racing car games,” Moreno said.

Moreno commutes from Sunnyvale each month, and is particularly drawn to the event’s social aspect. “It brings the community together, and you can be around people from different backgrounds with different perspectives,” he said. 

On the other hand, George Ruiz from San Lorenzo is more fascinated by the unique selection of cars. “You can see a lot of European models, and the wide variety is what I like about it,” he said.

Ruiz’s 1974 BMW 2002. Photo courtesy of George Ruiz.

Ruiz is dedicated to recycling and restoring cars like the 1974 BMW 2002 he often drives to Cars and Coffee. “A lot of these cars need saving, and that’s exactly why I come to these events,” he said. Being able to share his hard work with others means a lot to Ruiz, who arrives at Coffeebar thirty minutes to an hour early to secure the best parking spot for his car.

Wayne Chelsea from Mountain View shares Ruiz’s commitment to the event and has been attending since high school. Chelsea feels motivated to return each month because of the relationships he has created within the Cars and Coffee automotive community. “You can share your experiences and talk about your cars. It’s a great experience,” Chelsea said.

Chelsea’s 2006 Lotus Exige. Photo courtesy of Wayne Chelsea.

After the car show, Chelsea enjoys driving around Menlo Park in his 2006 Lotus Exige and getting lunch with other car owners. “It’s fun to talk to and meet different people. A lot of the same people will show up, so you end up becoming friends,” he said. 

If you are interested in attending Cars and Coffee in Menlo Park or would like to showcase one of your own cars, the next gathering will take place on Sunday, January 7 on Chestnut Street by Coffeebar from 8 to 11 a.m.