Cars and Coffee returns

Car show has huge turnout this weekend

Maddie Rowley | 315-4353 | @maddiedestinlog |
Mike Whitehead stands beside his 2016 Jeep Wrangler, which sports a violin decale on the front passenger side and the nose art from the aircraft he flew while overseas. [MADDIE ROWLEY/THE LOG]

People milled about at the Cars and Coffee event on Saturday, zig-zagging in between candy-colored Camaros, souped-up Corvettes and chrome-covered trucks sitting on custom lift kits.

Robert Matera and his 7-year-old grandson, Connor Sebring, travelled from Panama City Beach in his bright green '69 Chevy Camaro to attend Cars and Coffee for the first time.

"This car has been in my family since I was 5," Matera said. "It used to be powder blue, but I had it painted green."

At the Cars and Coffee event in Destin, each car had a story behind it.

Larry Lanham drove from Alabama in his 2014 bumblebee yellow Corvette.

"I bought this back in August with 10,000 miles on it. It’s got a lot of special features on it like the side skirt and the stingray on the front," said Lanham, pointing to the hood. He wore yellow sunglasses to match his car, which was designed by well-known Corvette guru Kirk Bennion.

"His signature is in the dashboard," said Lanham. He lifted up the center console to show Bennion’s signature in silvery ink.

A black and lime green 2016 Jeep Wrangler stood out from the crowd as owner Mike Whitehead, 35, polished beneath the hood.

"I bought this after my 16th deployment overseas," said Whitehead, who tries to off-road with the Jeep at least once per month.

The rugged vehicle had several personal touches installed by Whitehead himself. A small decal of a violin on the passenger’s side represented his passion for playing the instrument.

"I’ve been playing for the last five years. I took it up while I was deployed," Whitehead said.

Perhaps the vehicle’s star feature was the metal black square installed on the front hood, which displayed the faint outline of a ghostly figure. 

"This was the nose art of the plane I flew as a flight engineer."

Luxury sports cars like the orange Lamborghini, silver Lotus, electric blue Maserati, and red Viper drew large groups of people who snapped photos and posed in front of the cars.

Destin Coffee Company served up coffee and donuts from Five Daughter’s Bakery in Santa Rosa Beach during the event.

"We’re trying to do more local events," said Destin Coffee Company co-owner Tom Khan, who donated a percentage of the proceeds from the day to support brain cancer research.

At noon, a cacophony of revved engines signaled the end of the event and cars peeled out of the parking lot in packs.