Cars and Coffee events have had a rampant surge in popularity all over the world in the past few years, so it was only a matter of time until Adelaide would get in on the act. In the early morning of the last Sunday of the month, a ‘come one come all’ car meet is held in the car park of the Blackwood Woolworth’s, a short drive through the hills from Adelaide’s CBD.
With the event rapidly gaining in popularity over the last eighteen months it was high time that we checked things out. After visiting the previous month’s meet without a suitable car, a secret vow was made not to repeat the mistake again so I ensured that my little Fiat would be ready for May. And not one to go it alone, we kicked things off a little bit earlier than the 8am official start time by spreading the word to a few friends and meeting up at Red Berry Espresso in Glenside. A pre Cars & Coffee coffee, if you will.
With winter just a few days away it was bitterly cold at that time of the morning, so once our coffee was finished we retreated to the cars for some respite and to head up into the hills. I had my roof off and windows down so it wasn’t much of a respite, but the noise of those twin Weber carburetor’s behind me consuming that dense air more than made up for it.
We hadn’t planned much of a long run, only a short squirt through the hills. I was aware that if we arrived at Cars & Coffee too late we wouldn’t find parking spots, so after a quick midway regroup we hit the road once more. It was rapidly becoming apparent that as good as I thought my Fiat sounded, it didn’t have squat on the 355. God bless the flat plane crankshaft, and may Satan curse the turbocharged Ferrari (F40 exempted, of course).
I followed Simon’s classic little Renault R8 Gordini into the meet, and it became readily apparent that even though we had arrived just fifteen minutes after the start time, the main car park was already full.
This VL wagon was freakishly clean and original. It was the 1987 America’s Cup victory commemorative sticker that first attracted me over, but once there I was almost disturbed by the time-warp presented to us.
It was owned by a friendly Japanese gentleman, who purchased it in 2000 and brought it with him when he emigrated to Adelaide two years ago. Despite its brand new condition, he has enjoyably used it and he proudly showed my friend Karl pictures of him in the NSX at Motegi and other Japanese circuits.
I marveled at the low 45,000km showing on the cluster, and he was quick to point out that the car had actually done a tad over 70,000km. When exporting it to Australia, he was overjoyed to finally be able to legally install a 300km/h speedometer and remove the Japanese market 180km/h speed limiter. What a guy.
The NSX-R was conceived by Honda’s engineers as a pure drivers car, one that would remove the concessions to streetability found on the regular NSX and be the most pure embodiment of driving spirit. The suspension was stiffened and tweaked for more rear end grip and stability. Sound deadening, a spare wheel, air conditioning, various unneeded ECU’s and electronics and the stock leather seats were all thrown away, saving around 120kg. Staggered 16″ front and 17″ rear forged wheels were produced by Enkei to reduce unsprung weight, reducing the total vehicle mass to 1230kg. The final drive ratio was increased to aid acceleration, a locking limited slip differential was fitted and the 3.0 Vtec V6’s rotating crankshaft assembly was balanced and blueprinted by the race engine department. It was the first of Honda’s famous ‘Type R’ cars and just 483 were built in the three year production run.
Unsurprisingly, it was a favourite of one Ayrton Senna. That’s all that needs to be said.
It’s good to see a decent Cars & Coffee event getting off the ground in Adelaide, it’s sorely needed. There’s been murmurings about the size of the Blackwood event and whether it will outgrow the venue, all of which are legitimate concerns. But fingers crossed whoever is organising it can find a way to sustain the growth, because now that the momentum has swung it has the potential to become something really special.
Words and photos by Andrew Coles
Side note – there was a pair of rather special Mercedes’ at that first Blackwood Cars & Coffee event I attended in April, but I never managed to post the photos on AGR. These 300SL shots aren’t from the May event, but who’s going to complain? Go Adelaide!
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