Car folks blame shopping centers, while shopping centers and cops blame car folks.
The idea behind 'cars & coffee' is not new. It's the inevitable result of having thousands of car fans all located near one spot. As car enthusiasts, we like to get together and appreciate each other's cars, whether it be a Porsche 911 GT3, a ratty Mercedes-Benz CLK coupe, a Mazda Miata, or a classic Austin Mini. Or to make fun of Dodge owners.
The Malibu Cars & Coffee started the same way at the Malibu Village Mall. According to the LA Times, the car meet has been going on for 15 to 20 years, and it started as a small meeting between Jerry Seinfeld and Spike Feresten, one of the show's head writers. Seinfeld even got a show out of cars, coffee, and comedians.
Malibu's Cars & Coffee exploded during the lockdown in 2020. Keep in mind that indoor gatherings were a no-go, parks and beaches were closed, and golf courses and hiking trails were also off-limits. Other outdoor venues were shut down because of complaints of noise and traffic. The only place car lovers could congregate was the Malibu Village Mall parking lots near the Malibu Kitchen.
The owners of one Malibu shopping center are angry over the weekend car meets. As a result, the maor asked the sheriff's department to look into the problem, so he called what he thought were the leaders of the meet; Seinfeld, Feresten, and Matt Farah. The latter two have excellent podcasts if you're looking for something to listen to while driving.
Lt. Branded from the LA County Sheriff's Department was put in charge of the investigation and warned the trio that if they were organizing car shows and the resulting traffic was costing a lot of money, it would come back to them.
Deputies and private security have started putting up barricades to battle the resulting traffic mess and handing out fines for petty things. "They are selectively enforcing these rules, at a whim, closing off parking lots because of the type of people going there," said Matt Farah. "On Saturdays, these lots are even more slammed, but with people who have surfboards instead of sports cars. They aren't keeping them out," he said.
There doesn't appear to be a resolution to this drama. The car people take issue with the shopping center owners, and the center owners and the sheriff's department blame the car folk.
While the idea of Cars & Coffee is something we'll always applaud, there has been some iffy behavior that has given the concept a bad name. Examples include cars spinning into crowds and fights breaking out.