Like-clockwork Mount Pleasant cruise fest lets car fans get their weekly rush all before noon

Connor McIntyre displayed his 2002 Porsche 911 turbo at the first Charleston Cars and Coffee event of the new year, held the morning of Jan. 3. The Mount Pleasant cruise-in takes place weekly (Jim Parker/Staff 1-3-2015).

Add it up. Charleston Cars and Coffee meets 8-11 a.m. every Saturday of the year. That's 156 hours, or close to a nonstop week if tallied end-to-end.

So what goes on during these Mount Pleasant Towne Centre-based cruise-ins, which don't have trophies, drawings, paid admission or food and drink on site?

As one car enthusiast put it Jan. 3, "It's fun. You talk for awhile, get something to eat and go home."

The event's rather frequent - albeit voluntary - schedule, singular location and limited formal amenities don't seem to diminish interest.

According to attendees last Saturday, as many as 100 cars had pulled up during the early part of the cruise-in at Mount Pleasant Towne Centre when rain chased off dozens of vehicles.

Yet maybe 20 cars stayed on as the showers passed over.

"It's like the United Nations of car shows," Connor McIntyre said. He brought his 2002 Porsche 911 turbo to the Saturday event in Mount Pleasant. "She's my baby," he said.

Many of the vehicles on hand Jan. 3, and at quite a few of the weekly Charleston Cars and Coffees, would be considered luxury, exotic, sports models or muscle cars. After the rain cleared Saturday, six or so superfast motorcycles, BMW coupes and convertibles, a Mazda Miata, Mustangs, Camaro SS, Corvette, Volkswagen, Volvo and a host of Porsches were still there. It's not unheard of to see Aston Martins, Teslas and Ferraris at the semi-informal auto gatherings.

But with all the auto glitz, there was also Craig Elwood's 1992 Geo Tracker soft top, a little worse for wear with a front headlight damaged but otherwise in sound condition. "One hundred and nine horsepower," he piped up, a friendly jab at the adjacent sporty cars with three and four times that engine strength.

"Honestly, this is the most durable car ever built," said Elwood, of Mount Pleasant. "This thing's indestructible, man." The 23-year-old hatchback racks up 36 mpg, he said. "It's a great convertible, too."

Another Mount Pleasant car buff, John White, wheeled his 2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS into a parking spot at the weekly get-together.

His likes about the Camaro can be summed up in a word - "everything." The modern-day muscle car motors "real fast," White said. "It saves gas, too, 29 (mpg) around the city."

McIntyre suggests two reasons for the steady turnout at the East Cooper-based drive-up.

For one, Cars and Coffee is something of an informal franchise. Such morning gatherings using some form of the cars and coffee name are "popular across the country."

Also, the shows are convenient, McIntyre said. All you need to bring is your car, and you don't have to go every week.

"I think it's a really good way to start the morning," he said. "You get up; you see everybody."

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or