ALL CARS... ALL THE TIME!
“Just about anything goes at our lunches, but you can’t cross the line. Mean-spirited people and arrogant snobs, regardless of how many cars they may own, are not welcome,” Archie Urciuoli, SARASOTA magazine, June, 2005
(Continued from the Home Page)
We exchanged irreverent banter, vied for bragging rights, bonded and unanimously agreed to do it again. And again. Our testosterone-infused collective grew and interest levels expanded, attracting enthusiasts spanning the full spectrum of the hobby: classics, musclecars, hot rods, high-performance luxury cars, sports cars and exotics as well as vintage and contemporary racecars.
Within a year our group had a name - Sarasota Café Racers – a bi-weekly lunch schedule and a designated eatery. The impetus to turn our motley crew into a slightly more formalized entity came from a column I had read in the August 25, 2003 issue of AutoWeek. In ‘NOW AND THEN’ Denise McCluggage wrote about the “Tuesday Car Table,” at the Santa Fe Grill in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “Tuesday Car table is not a club; it’s a fixed place and time and a floating assemblage of people who are keen on cars.”
Sarasota Café Racers developed into more than just a lunch group. It morphed into a destination, where people who savor life in the fast lane and worship at the temple of torque could come together and break bread with citizens of the right lane. Knowing well the perils of growth and to preserve this unique covenant, we attempted to keep the lowest possible profile. We “flew under the radar” until our cover was blown when word spread to an editor at Sarasota magazine.
The Car Guys Who Lunch were showcased in a six-page feature in the June 2005 issue of SARASOTA magazine: “CAR GUYS, A passion for high-performance automobiles fuels lunches and conversation for Sarasota’s Café Racers”.
We continued to grow and by 2009, the Café Racer informal registry approached critical mass. We had more than 100 passionate enthusiasts of all age groups with diverse automotive interests and from all walks of life. With growth came logistical problems. Finding the right restaurant with “desirable” parking facilities proved to be a lot more difficult than finding hardcore car guys!
“When you come to one of our lunches, you’d best park your ego sensitivity with your car,” Larry Jaworske, SARASOTA magazine, June, 2005
To slow growth down we created a clandestine Vetting Committee. It was charged with overseeing Café Racer applications, conducting background checks (including wiretaps and video surveillance), administering drug tests, issuing provisional “memberships,” enforcing our rigid dress code and monitoring “newbie” lunch manners. Hey, you can’t be too careful!
Sarasota Café Racers is not the first, nor is it the largest assembly of serious car guys. What makes the Café Racers unique among car guy “gatherings” is that its participants are arguably the most diversified, crossing all generational, socio-economic and cultural lines. The common thread is passion and it really doesn’t matter if you’re a Master Mechanic with a musclecar or a Master Of The Universe with a collection of exotics. What does matter is that you are a real car guy who "plays well with others".
An old friend, Glenn Campbell, editor and publisher of the Autowriters.Com Newsletter, has offered one of the best definitions of a real car guy:
“When journalists anoint Bob Lutz and others as ‘Car Guys’ that credits them with the first and highest credential in the hierarchy of autodom authenticity. It is a trait that weaves across station, gender and vocation to unite kindred spirits in a shared affection or affliction, depending on your point of view.”
Sarasota Café Racers is a non-club club which means: no elected officers, treasurer’s reports, bylaws, membership cards, and dinner-dances. We are amped-up enthusiasts who meet for lunch twice a month to exchange thoughts and celebrate the artistry of automobile heritage, styling, performance and engineering. In the process we solve world problems, rant about the latest doofus to turn a seven-figure supercar into a pretzel and transform a mundane restaurant parking lot into a traffic-stopping, high zoot car show. Our raison d’etre is all cars, all the time. And our only rule: be a real car guy - or be gone!
A passion for everything automotive is what drives So-Cal’s fast and furious to the Do-Nut Shop in Manhattan Beach at 6:30 on Saturday mornings, Motown motorheads to the Rochester Hills Breakfast Club at the crack of dawn and Sarasota Café Racers to lunch twice a month. It’s all about cars and camaraderie - and having fun.
Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Martyn L. Schorr
Maitre d’ café & CCO (Chief Communications Officer).