Car meets can be tough to run. Organizers have to balance the needs and desires of the attendees, neighboring people and businesses, and property owners. In an effort to keep their event alive, the Coffee and Cars meet in Houston, Texas has taken drastic action. It’s instituted an outright ban on Camaros, Chargers, and Mustangs.
The problem will be familiar to anyone that’s hung around a local car meet. The trouble normally starts when it comes time to leave. Engines roar to life, with the more boisterous attendees revving aggressively. An expectant audience then lines the exits, smartphones aloft, hoping to film something ridiculous. Usually, it’s a burnout, or a hard launch, or someone losing control and wrapping their car around a lightpost.
As much as these antics light up social media, they’re anathema to the continued existence of a local meet. Police and the general public don’t look kindly upon this sort of behavior. Too often, as well, it ends in tears, when drivers with little sense or talent hurt themselves or injure bystanders.
The Coffee and Cars event in Houston takes place the first Saturday of every month at the POST Houston entertainment venue. Organizers have long tried to deal with the issue of poor behavior from attendees. Like most meets, it has clearly posted rules and signage for attendees to leave calmly and avoid horseplay. With this call seemingly unheeded by a select few, the event has seen fit to instead try and ban offenders with a broad-strokes ruling. Thus, temporarily, Mustangs, Camaros, and Chargers will be unwelcome at the Houston event.
The ruling was posted after “burnouts and revving” that took place at the November event, according to organizers. The Autopian has seen private footage of a modern Dodge Charger performing a large burnout near the event. The video, captured by a bystander from a distance, shows the driver of the Charger executing a 360-degree donut in the middle of an intersection. A gaggle of smartphone-toting spectators swarm the vehicle as it pirouettes on the street in a thick cloud of tire smoke.
It’s unclear whether this specific event inspired the ban, or whether it was the combination of multiple incidents. Regardless, the brazen disregard for safety could clearly be seen to reflect poorly on the event. When queried, organizers provided The Autopian with a press release regarding the matter.
“Safety is a cornerstone of our events,” the organizers stated. “We take significant steps to ensure it, such as hiring security officers for each gathering, comprehensive planning, ample event staffing, and clear communication of our rules against reckless behaviors like revving engines and performing burnouts.” The organization went on to decry the current state of events. “Despite our rigorous safety protocols and clear stance against disruptive behaviors, it is disheartening that a minority still chooses to behave in a manner that endangers others and disrespects the community’s wishes and the effort put into each event.”
A model-based ban is an interesting move that plays on stereotypes in the car scene. Mustang owners are so famous for spinning out of control at meets that they functionally became a meme. Similarly, Camaros and Chargers are muscle cars that are beloved for their ability to generate copious amounts of tire smoke.
Recent events have seen multiple cars doing burnouts in the roads surrounding the meet.
Whether banning these cars solves the problem remains to be seen. Right off the bat, it’s easy to see some flaws in the reasoning. It’s curious to ban the Dodge Charger with no mention of the Dodge Challenger, which shares similar drivetrains and a propensity towards burnouts. The Corvette, too, is a capable vehicle for such shenanigans, but it is not subject to the ban.
It may be that the organizers have noted the actions of certain individuals and banned their cars to try and keep them away. As a temporary measure, it could serve as a deterrent to further bad behavior. A preliminary shot across the bow that reminds everyone to pull their heads in, lest they too be banned.
The measure is, nevertheless, not a surefire solution. A video from automotive YouTuber El Ceza shows cars leaving the earlier October meet, with vehicles of all stripes breaking the stated rules. It clearly shows that bad behavior has been an issue at the Houston event for some time. There’s a Lamborghini revving, and an Mk IV Supra doing much the same. We see burnouts from a number of cars, too, including a 1970 Chevy Malibu getting seriously sideways. Meanwhile, the driver of a Hyundai Genesis Coupe is seen oversteering near spectators, thankfully correcting before it hit the sidewalk. It bears noting none of these vehicles would be subject to the temporary ban going forward.
The ban will also surely put well-behaved owners offside. Nobody likes being punished for something they didn’t do, after all. At the same time, the organizers find themselves in a tough place. It’s difficult to identify individuals that break the rules as they leave the event, and even harder to police their entry to the next one. With previous calls to behave unheeded, a new tool was needed. The hope will be that the ban either keeps offenders away, or scares them into behaving, whatever car they show up in.
If the ban fails to quell bad behavior, it’s easy to imagine the event becoming far more difficult to run. As a popular meet, it sees hundreds of spectators lining the streets. It would only take one crash to put the event across every local news channel. It’s unlikely the organizers themselves or the property owner want that kind of negative attention, nor would they want to see anyone hurt.
It’s clear that there’s a whole lot of love for the Coffee and Cars meet in Houston. Here’s hoping that can inspire some of the more excitable attendees to reign in their right foot and leave in a calm and dignified manner.