When the first Caffeine & Classics event kicked off three years ago, you can be sure that Protecta Insurance, the team behind the event, would never have predicted it to become as big as it has. It seems the formula of a late start and a ‘come and go as you please’ philosophy has been a successful one that’s gained a huge following.

The event has now cemented itself as the largest monthly car meet in the country, and on Sunday, February 28 at Smales Farm Business Park, it celebrated its third birthday.

While it’s not uncommon for Caffeine & Classics to have in excess of 500 cars in attendance, there was anticipation that the birthday bash would be the biggest one yet. With heavy rain the night before, and threatening skies on the morning of the event, the turnout was probably down on what it could have been, but we’ve heard the total was still somewhere near 800 cars, forcing extra parking to be used. 

Part of the reason behind the event’s success is the range of vehicles it’s open to. There’s no restriction on age, origin, or engine type. For example, these two rear-engined machines couldn’t be more different, despite their engine location.

With the theory of ‘anything goes’, a lot of car clubs have made the event a regular club meet, including the American Muscle Car Club who always have a great turnout.

It’s not just American or European vehicles that flood the car park on the last Sunday of every month — a large number of classic Japanese vehicles also attend. 

While not every car is everyone’s cup of tea, it’s great to see all the owners happily paying respect to each other’s vehicles, and when you come across cars such as this Mazda 323, it’s easy to see why hot rodders and restorers alike were both impressed.

With the event being so big, it’s easy to not even see cars that you know are there, and just when you think you’ve seen it all, another wave rolls through the gate.

The event is not about trophies or awards, however, to us, this XB Falcon was up there with our favourite cars this month. While the wild colour scheme first grabs your attention, the car is a whole lot more than first meets the eye.

The number plate tells half the story, but, peering in the window, you soon start to see the extent of XR8 components that the owner has grafted into the car. The seats, the entire dashboard, and the centre console are all sourced from a late-model Falcon, as we can only imagine the engine is also.

With no strict parking rules, it’s simply a matter of finding a park wherever you can, which can create quite a spectacle as contrasting vehicles are lined up. How’s this for the big and small of things for example?

Of course there are the organized ones who purposely show up together to park together, such as these beautiful Karmann GHIAs and immaculate Starions. When was the last time you saw a mint Starion? Let alone two! All up we counted four, if you were wondering. 

A bunch Of VW owners took things a step further, with no less than four Combi and caravan combos all parked together, each different from the other, yet attracting an equal crowd. 

Speaking of crowds, it was pretty hard not to stop and look at a KITT replica!

While the interior of KITT was cool, we actually loved the Monte Carlo–spec Mini. How cool is this in a rally-style car? 

The graphics make it hard to know if it’s just a replica, or if it really has attended the event. Either way, it was a standout, and not just among the 20-odd Minis parked together. 

Also grabbing attention was this pro-street–style Torana. We’ve got no idea what times it runs, but it certainly looks the part. Does anyone know if it’s actually raced? 

Is it just us, or is that engine bay just begging for a pair of turbos?

Another standout, to us at least, was this ’69 Camaro. The stance and wheels were bang on. Well done to its owner.

I guess that’s what the event is all about: being able to check out other’s rides, and cars that you wouldn’t normally see, or show off your own. You never know what you’ll find, or who you’ll meet along the way.

Regardless of whether you’re into new or old cars, the range of what you’ll see is impressive. From 1912 Model T Fords to the latest supercharged Camaro and 2016 Mustang, the event truly does cater for every automotive enthusiast.

Check out the Caffeine & Classics Facebook page to keep updated and we’ll see you there again next month.

Todd Wylie

Todd Wylie has been involved with NZV8 magazine since before the first issue was printed, and has been the editor for the last eight years. Growing up in the heyday of the Jap-import scene, he's not adverse to Japanese vehicles, having worked for NZ Performance Car previously, as well as owning a few well-known examples. These days he cruises at a slower pace in a 1956 Cadillac Coupe and dreams of building a Model A tudor.