High Octane Weekend

High Octane

The last thing that New Canaan residents want to see are more cars downtown, but that won’t be the case on September 8, when Pine Street is overrun with rare, vintage and exotic makes. Gleaming classics and sexy sportsters will pull in for the fall Caffeine & Carburetors event, one of six annual auto gatherings hosted by Zumbach’s Gourmet Coffee. Previous events have attracted 400 world-class vehicles and drawn some 2,000 spectators from New Canaan and surrounding towns.

Zumbach’s owner, Doug Zumbach, founded Caffeine & Carburetors in 1995 as a gathering of enthusiasts minus the competition and judging that accompanies many auto shows. “I enjoy it when people see cars they had back in the day or models they would like to own, cars that kids dream of,” says Zumbach, who drives a 1972 Porche 911 T and races a 1977 Porsche 930 Turbo. He says he never knows what cars are going to show up at an event. Last June, one of four existing Batmobiles rolled into town, sending young fans into a frenzy.

Although the event attracts Chevys and American pickup trucks, the majority of vehicles are high-priced European models: think Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lotus and Mercedes. Last spring, Mercedes Benz USA President and CEO Stephen Cannon, who lives in New Canaan, arrived in a 2014 Mercedes S-Class, a preproduction model that had never been seen in North America before. “Stephen always comes to these events when he’s in town,” says Todd Brown, who handles communications for the event. “He parks whatever he’s driving and talks to people as if he were a car salesman.” caffeeinandcarburetors.com

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