Earlier this month, the global automotive auction platform Collecting Cars teamed up with YouTube channel Throttle House to host one of the biggest car meets Ontario has seen in years. The early Sunday Cars & Coffee event drew in well over 1,000 cars to Oakville’s Safe Auto — the luxury automotive storage and transportation facility and Canadian management partner for the digital auction platform. While the turnout was expected to be substantial, the crowd size exceeded all expectations, especially considering the rainy morning forecast.
Through the morning, most eyes were on the rare metal and modified masterworks scattered throughout the facility, but the more hardcore of automotive enthusiasts on site were keeping eyes peeled for one of the car world’s most beloved journalists and presenters. Chris Harris — of “Top Gear” fame — made his first trek to Canada in time for the event, and we were thankful to steal a moment of his time to get his first impressions of the show. “More than anything I’m surprised” stated Harris as we sat down in a quiet corner of the facility. “I didn’t know what to expect from Canada. I was kind of thinking I’d turn up and there would be a few dozen cars or something, but there’s clearly a hunger in the community to get these cars out on the road.”
It wasn’t solely the size of the crowd and volume of cars that caught Harris’ eye — big car shows are nothing new when looking at the global car scene. “The diversity of what’s on display here is really cool. While I appreciate the modern exotic stuff, it gets a bit boring after a while — it becomes more about peacocking, and I’m not interested in that.”
Putting on a show like this is always a bit of a balancing act. To Harris’ point, yes, a sea of Ferraris, Lambos, and Mclarens does get a bit boring to someone who’s exposed to exotics on the regular, but in trade, not all enthusiasts have this same exposure. Those in attendance arrived from all walks of life, and while some were wowed by the appearance of an all white Bugatti Veyron, others couldn’t take their eyes off of things like a Toyota Century, a Unimog, or the many other obscure European or Japanese rarities scattered around the facility.
When pressed for a favourite of the show, Harris showed little hesitation. “There’s two that jumped out at me right away — the lightly modified [Mercedes-Benz] 500E, and the old [BMW] 6-series out front here. I love cars that remind me of my childhood, and I’ve always loved the Mercedes W124.”
No matter what corner of the car community you’re from, it seems Collecting Cars has tapped into every corner of the market. Rather than holding out for the next big Porsche or VW meet, these sort of come one, come all events are where it’s at.