The roaring engines of more than 50 exotic supercars will herald the birth of a new motoring event in Canberra this weekend.
Presented by local community group Project Supercars, Cars and Coffee Canberra promises to showcase the very best of European culture in the form of an art exhibition on wheels.
Gleaming machinery by revered car manufacturers Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Porsche will begin rolling in at the Celestino Café in Fyshwick from 8 am on Saturday, 19 March, before setting off through the city from 10 am.
Project Supercars manager Martin Tanti says it will provide members of the public the chance to get up close and personal with all those cars that were on their bedroom posters as children.
“Canberra is home to so many really good events, but I feel we miss out on the European supercars,” he says.
“This is going to be its own regular event, dedicated to the truly exotic supercars. They’re like a Van Gogh artwork. They’re pieces of moving artwork.”
Up to 70 per cent of the precious metal (and carbon fibre) on show will belong to Canberra-based owners who are itching to get the supercars out of the garage and spend time with fellow enthusiasts. Others are coming from Sydney and Wollongong.
The Cars and Coffee model has a precedent in similar shows taking place around the world and, after a trial run at Double Shot café in Deakin last year, Martin is doubling down on the advertising and sponsorships for 2022.
“We had a really good reception in 2021, and that was with no advertising whatsoever. We had over 100 members of the public driving past in Fyshwick and stopping in,” he says.
Martin adds they will be leveraging the occasion to raise money for local charities, selecting Lifeline Canberra as this year’s recipient.
“We’ve all had a hard past two years and I thought this is the perfect opportunity to link back in and give back to the community.”
Martin himself has owned an exotic supercar almost since he could drive, starting with a Porsche 911 Turbo at 19. He currently has a Volkswagen Golf for daily driving and a black Lamborghini Gallardo for special occasions.
“I like working on the cars and I’m passionate about them. I just worked my way up to what I have now,” he says.
His story begins – perhaps predictably – in Italy, when Martin’s grandfather (‘Nonno’) bought his first car, a little Fiat. When he moved to Australia, he was forced to leave the car behind at the mercy of the Mediterranean elements. It quickly fell into disrepair.
“Then 10 years ago, he brought the car over to Australia and restored it,” Martin says.
“My family has always been into cars and I want to continue that legacy.”
Martin himself has lived in Australia all his life, but spent most of 2019 in Italy near the city of Modena, famous as the hometown of Ferrari. It was there he truly grasped the level of passion Italians have for their cars (and their coffee) and first felt inspired to bring some of that passion home to Canberra.
“I was driving in Italy doing crazy speeds and the police officers wouldn’t even look at you. The economy over there is built on cars. They don’t want to book you when you’re driving a Ferrari because you’re clearly supporting the economy!”
The reaction in Canberra isn’t quite as supportive, but everywhere he goes, Martin’s Lamborghini leaves a trail of cameras and turned heads.
“I’ve even had people follow me to petrol stations, pull up and ask if I mind if they take a photo. That alone is a great indication we should do more of this in Canberra.”
He wants to see the show become a motoring fixture in Canberra, up there with Summernats and Auto Italia.
“We’re planning to hire out the Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) next year and bring in some cars worth $5 million or more.”
On Saturday, 19 March, members of the public can come to Celestino Café and Gerhards Quality Cars in Fyshwick from 8 am, or take up a spot along Commonwealth Avenue to watch the supercars purr through from 10 am.