Each year, the Niwot Chiefs Cool Car Club gathers in Longmont for its annual Cars & Coffee for a Cause event. Car enthusiasts from all over park their beloved automobiles in the Texas Roadhouse parking lot and spend the day marveling at other restored classics. This past Saturday marked the 4th annual Cars & Coffee for a Cause and drew an enthusiastic crowd.
This unique event is the brainchild of Bill Shaffer, a local UPS driver who sought to make a difference and share his passion for classic cars with other local collectors. Proceeds from Cars & Coffee for a Cause go to benefit the Longmont Humane Society, because, as Shaffer casually stated, everyone loves cats and dogs. Participants and guests can donate whatever they wish. This year, Cars & Coffee for a Cause raised $960.16.
People come for the cars, but stay for the food. The smell of sweet pancakes, sausage patties, biscuits and gravy, and more wafted through the parking lot. Shaffer, a former chef at Boulder’s Flagstaff house, cooked up a delicious breakfast spread that received rave reviews.
A variety of classic cars and new models peppered the parking lot. Fully restored 60’s Buicks, pristinely painted Corvettes, and iconic Trans-Ams stood as shining examples of American manufacturing. Just a few spots over were collections of tricked out Jeeps and recent model Camaros that caught the eye of the younger generation.
The Niwot Chiefs Cool Car Club isn’t your normal car club in the traditional sense. Co-founder, Craig Doolittle explains that this club is a “no meetings, no dues, no commitments, just fun” type of club that is currently up to 175 members. They meet regularly to swap stories, check out each others’ vehicles, and talk about upcoming car-related projects.
What was most impressive about this event was the love, dedication, and commitment each automobile owner put into his or her car. Painstaking restorations, expensive repairs, and astute attention to detail gave these cars a second life. Each has its own personality and is reminiscent of an era gone by. Collectors work hard to capture the vehicles’ essence and stay true to traditional styles.
The cars act as a timeline of our collective social history. They remind us the importance of creating something that lasts. In this current day of cheap and disposable products, car clubs like this offer a fresh perspective to the next generation and show that, with care and attention, a car can last a lifetime.
The range of people intrigued by cars is as vast and varied as the cars themselves. Perhaps we love old, classic cars because they are representative of our ability to dream, create, and invent. Maybe we’re tickled by the bright paint colors, loud upholstery, or bubbly body design that is so completely different when compared to the current day’s vehicles.
Or maybe we are so enthralled with automobiles because they facilitate our access to true freedom. The car is a way to seek adventure and explore, to kick up dust along the way and feel the wind in your hair. For Americans, the car has given us a chance to pursue new horizons, putting the open road beneath our wheels and the old chapter in the rearview-mirror.