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Early birds get the supercars in Brookline

Posted by Peter Bourassa  April 27, 2011 03:57 PM

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(All photos: George Kennedy for Boston.com) Click photo for larger version.

An early-morning California car tradition has found its way to Brookline.

Those who woke up at 7 a.m. earlier this month were treated to the first "Cars & Coffee" event at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. As most of the neighbors slept their Saturdays away, a high-end assortment of classic American Muscle and modern European supercars showed up.

Cars & Coffee traces its origins back to Georgia, where photographer Ron Rizzi organized the first gathering over a decade ago. More recently, it has flourished in Los Angeles on Saturday mornings, where enthusiasts gather to gawk at and show off niche cars, automotive rarities, and anything interesting on four wheels. It's not uncommon for the car-obsessed celebrity (Jay Leno, for instance) to stop by. Now, thanks to the LA event's popularity, Cars & Coffee has spread across the country.

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Brookline's rendition featured some true rarities, such as the all-new Ferrari 599 GTO coupe, which held court outside the museum's main entrance. However, it was German autos that dominated the scene with a significant showing of BMW M5s, Porsche 911s, and Audi S4s. Other notables included several Pontiac GTOs, Corvettes, and the Lotus Elise. Nearly 150 cars were fanned across the museum's wide lawn.

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"Compared to the Irvine (California) Cars & Coffee, we weren't as large, but we had a similar variety of notable cars," said Peter Ladas, founder and owner of Yuppie Racing, the event's organizer.

Ladas has been organizing automotive events like this since 2005. He launched Yuppie Racing in 2009 to include, as he puts it: "everything from Civics to V10 M5s — and anything in between."

With that kind of spread, Yuppie Racing has been working to improve the image of the younger tuner crowd.

"When people hear 'tuner' they think Fast and Furious, not James Bond," he said. "The museum wanted to work with us, they liked the idea, and want to make [Cars & Coffee] a permanent event."

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Jennifer Arone, the museum's marketing manager, said Larz Anderson needs to attract a greater mix of car enthusiasts.

"Our museum's membership has been an older crowd," she said. "We're really interested in getting a younger generation involved in the museum. We'd like to see this event happen again."

George Kennedy is a producer for WheelsTV, an Acton-based automotive television and web video company.

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