Our first visit to a Fuelfed event, the so-called Coffee and Classics just north of Chicago in Winnetka, was not a disappointment! Not that it was expected to be, as we’ve seen several Fuelfed decal wearing cars in the area that foretold of some incredibly lovely classics. The flavor of car at Fuelfed’s meet is vintage European, predominately pre 1980 German, British and Italian to be precise. If you love pristine air cooled 911’s, BMW 2002’s and Alfa Romeo’s of the 1960’s, you would most definitely be in a happy place during a Fuelfed meet. So let’s get right into it, here’s some of our favorites!
The featured marque for this meet was the British carmaker Lotus, so it seems like a fitting place to start. While there weren’t a large number of Lotus on hand, there was this perfect little Elan S2. If you ever thought a first generation Mazda Miata would be nice if it weren’t so darn big, then the Elan S2 is exactly what you’re looking for. It is shockingly tiny, the steering wheel and shifter are closer in size to what you’d see in the Morgan three wheeler, than what you would get in that 1989 Miata. It sit’s so low to the ground, you could almost step directly into the driver seat without touching the door. Even the tail pipe is rendered in miniature; a paper towel roll could probably double as a muffler in a pinch. I may be poking a bit of fun at the little Elan, but it is quite the pretty little thing to look at. The dashboard a continuous slab of gorgeously knurled wood, it’s like having an expensive office desk turned on edge in front of you in the driver seat. I can’t help but think of Jimmy in Better Call Saul and his obsession with getting that Cocobolo desk. This Elan is one of those cars that just elicits a smile when you see it, it just looks like tons of fun! If I’m smiling just staring at it, I can’t imagine the joy it brings to the owner when they drive it.
While I have an appreciation for cars of the 1960’s and 1970’s, I have to confess that there are not all that many I would actually want to own. Perhaps it’s just a “before my time” kind of thing, but most cars of those eras just don’t resonate with me in the way that the proceeding decades of 80’s and 90’s do. There is, however, one exception to this, and it’s the Alfa Romeo GT Veloce. I really can not explain why the car does it for me, but the curvaceous box with it’s big doe-eyed headlights and coiled serpent badge, is one of the few 1960’s cars I actually would hope to someday own. It feels odd to see this car as sexy for me, but I do. It’s kind of like if someone asked you as a kid in the 80’s if you thought Julie Andrews was hot, but at that time she was basically a grandma, you’d of course shout “no way, shut up dude!”. Later though, you’d watch Mary Poppins and realize you might have a thing for umbrella flying, british nannies. No? just me?
There is no question that Porsche has to have one of the most loyal and fervent followings of any brand of car. There is no shortage of companies that have dedicated themselves to the servicing, restoring, preserving and/or re-imagining of the iconic Porsche 911. We came across the work of one such company, based in Buffalo Grove, IL called Perfect Power Inc. Perfect Power does all of the above, and the 911 Carrera they brought to Coffee and Classics was a blazing green powerhouse of a car. It appears to be in the category of track ready resto mod; with some nicely modernized but true to the original touches in the interior, a bigger rubber footprint, and the addition of some aero bits hinting at higher performance intentions. I have yet to be fortunate enough to join the ranks of air cooled Porsche ownership, but having seen Perfect Power’s handy work, I know who I’ll be checking in with when the time comes!
The Opel GT is like the C3 Corvette’s European cousin. It’s a bit thinner than it’s American counterpart, not quite as brash or loud, and it wears funny shoes. Stylistically, I always thought I should like the Opel, because it is so similar to the C3 Vette, which I love. However, something in it’s proportions just seemed odd to me, it’s silhouette gives the impression of being really thin and long, it’s a bit too lanky, like a clown’s shoe (but not in the BMW Z3 good sort of way). The little red Opel GT at Coffee and Classics however, was somehow much different. Perhaps it has lived so long in the states, that some of our culture has started to rub off on it. This GT seems to have widened it’s stance, making it look instantly muscular, like a stalking tiger instead of a sulking house cat. The raised tail, adds ever so subtly to the natural lip that finishes off the slant cut rear end, thus accentuating and enhancing the cars backside. The louvers on the rear window are a nice touch too, adding an extra bit of mullet-chic to the whole package. Mullets were still cool then, right? It even ditched the goofy shoes and now rides on a set of HRE wheels that would be an upgrade to any car it graced. I’ll need to get more details on this car, as it completely changed my view on the Opel GT, so if you know anything about it, please hit me up!
It’s not often I come across a Lancia in my days covering car shows and meets. When I do, I tend to take notice and try to spend some time to take it in. Given the scarcity in the U.S. market, it is really no surprise that Lancia is a brand that is mostly foreign to me. I knew very little about the company and it’s cars, but I know the names and the shapes. It’s like recalling stories your grandfather told you; there may be names and places you recognize, but the world it all takes place in is unfamiliar. Lancia’s Fulvia HF is a car that saw success in rallying using unorthodox methods. Front wheel drive and powered by a V4 engine, it would win international rally races and dominated the home Italian races for nearly a decade. With that in mind, I just gazed at the car, appreciated it, respected it, even if I didn’t fully understand it. Plus, how can you not love little elephants on the badging?
Finally, as we parted the show, we came across this Grinnall Scorpion. It’s like a modern day version of the modern day Morgan three wheeler. Also, it looks like an angry banana.
Thanks as always for reading, hope you enjoy it and keep scrolling for tons more photos!
– photos: Robert Sixto and Hex Hernandez
-writing: Robert Sixto