Cart and truck enthusiasts endured an early-morning chill Saturday to ogle 400 tricked-out vehicles at the Rosedale Promenade.
The Bakersfield Cars and Coffee showcase is held from 7 to 9 a.m. every last Saturday of the month in the parking lot and is set up through social media sites. With car owners and regular attendees combined, the free event attracts upward of 600 people every month.
“This event is for car enthusiasts by car enthusiasts,” said Tony Lopez, who created the event. “There is a huge variety of vehicles. You’ve got the old, the new and everything in between. There are a lot of gems here that you don’t usually see.”
Lopez started Bakersfield Cars and Coffee in 2012 with the help of a few friends to help meet a need for a casual, family-friendly car showcase.
“Me and a handful of friends got tired of what a lot of the car meets were,” he said. “Everything was during the night. Everyone wanted to race all the time and blast their music. This is meant to be a low-key event that anybody can come out to.”
Lopez said he contacted the managers of the Rosedale Village Shopping Center and got their approval to use part of their parking lot for the event, as long as it wrapped up before stores start to open at 10 a.m.
The first display was modest, with about 20 or 30 vehicles, Lopez said. Through word of mouth, he said, the event has grown a lot, especially over the last two years.
“It’s nice to see the changes in the cars over time, the changes in the culture,” he said.
Ignacio Prado — who runs Kern County C10, a group for truck enthusiasts — said members of the group brought out several old trucks for the event.
“We’re trying to keep it old school out here,” he said. “There are a lot of people out here who don’t know there’s a truck club, so it’s a great way to get the word out about it.”
Prado said the event is a real asset for the entire car-loving community in the county.
“This is good for the community and its good for us,” he said. “Instead of doing something on the street or somewhere where it’s not allowed, we can come here and meet a lot of people who have similar interests.”
Shafter resident Ed Crowe brought his 1998 Chevrolet Corvette to the meet, which he worked on to turn it into a race car that can reach speeds up to about 240 miles per hour. Crowe originally bought the car in 2000.
Crowe said he has been showcasing it at the event ever since he first found out about it in 2012.
“Everybody treats the vehicles with respect,” he said of the event. “It’s nice for people to come out, show their stuff and talk with people.”
Attendee Debbie Buchanan came on Saturday to check out all the vehicles on display, especially the older ones, which she prefers.
“I think it’s great that everybody gets out here at 7 in the morning, when it’s colder than hell, and show off their cars,” she said. “You have people who have been working on cars for a long time but you also have the younger people that come out. It’s neat to see everyone together.”
Leo Mason has been coming out to the meets the past three years. Mason likes to take photographs of the vehicles and post them on his Instagram page.
“I enjoy it a lot. It starts off the day and the weekend just right,” he said of the event.
While Mason has never presented a vehicle at the meet, he said he previously owned a 1977 Datsun 280Z that he essentially built from the ground up. He eventually sold it a few years ago after working on it for about four years.
“It was a great, worthwhile experience, but it was a lot of work,” he said.
Lopez said he’s proud of how far the meet has come. He said it draws people from all around Kern County and even some places outside the area such as Lancaster.
“It’s a little thing to help put Bakersfield on the map,” he said.