From the Classic to the Fantastic: Loudoun’s Car Culture Celebrated

In case you haven’t noticed, there are some really cool cars in Loudoun.

And now there are more opportunities than ever to show them off, check them out or just talk shop with fellow enthusiasts. Whether your jam is the latest Lamborghini or a vintage pickup truck, you’re bound to find something you like at a growing list of pop-up car shows in Loudoun.

“We get a real diversity of interests at our gatherings. … We have people who show up with new Lamborghinis, old Lamborghinis, old Dodges, old muscle cars, [Ford] Model As, Model Ts, old pickup trucks. … It’s a very interesting mix,” said LeRoy Schubert, co-organizer of Cars & Coffee Leesburg, one of the longest standing meetups in Loudoun.

The cars and coffee concept is an informal nationwide phenomenon, bringing auto enthusiasts together for early morning meets to connect with fellow car lovers over a cup of joe. Lately, it’s also expanded to cars and brews for not-so-early risers.

The Leesburg group started meeting seven years ago at the now-defunct Dolce Coffee in Leesburg’s AutoZone retail center after a group of Leesburg-area enthusiasts who met at an ongoing cars and coffee event in Great Falls wanted to start something closer to home. The Leesburg event changed locations several times before happily settling in at downtown Leesburg’s Portside Coffee. The relaxed, non-competitive vibe is a draw, attendees say.

“It’s really a grassroots gathering,” said co-organizer Ron Johnston.

Both Johnston and Schubert are lifelong car lovers and classic Corvette owners. Johnston and his wife, Kathy, also occasionally bring his and hers Ferraris to Portside, while Schubert’s wife, Joyce, drives a vintage Porsche. Kathy Johnston says one of her goals is to get more women out to meets, which tend to be guy-heavy.

For Schubert, it’s a common interest in the art and science of the automobile that brings people out—even if they don’t have a classic or high-end car themselves. The group often gets 40 or 50 cars on a Sunday morning, and visitors also drop in with kids and dogs while cyclists stopping for coffee on their way along the W&OD trail stop to chat and take a look.
“We’re not really focused on any one brand or car,” Schubert said. “Sometimes you get a bunch of guys together and they get very competitive. … The people that come to our meet appreciate all makes. They appreciate the car for what it really is as a machine.”

Down the road at Dulles Cars and Coffee, organizer Eric Jacobs has turned his passion into a mission. Jacobs started the meetup in 2015 at a South Riding Dunkin’ Donuts, inspired in part by his beloved 1968 Camaro. The group soon began doing benefit events for a range of nonprofits, and last year, Jacobs took things a step further, launching a charitable foundation in honor of his late mother.

“Our cars and coffee opened up as something for people who love cars to go see other people’s projects, and it actually turned into an opportunity to do great things for organizations,” Jacobs said. “It spring-boarded into something bigger.”

Inspired by his mother, Theresa, who died last year, Jacobs merged his lifelong love of Star Wars and his passion for cars, launching the Theresa Sondra Jacobs Foundation and its Star Wars Rides program. The programs bring Jacobs’ super cool Star Wars-themed vehicles and costumed characters to events and fundraisers providing a fun experience for children and adults with cancer and serious illnesses or disabilities, along with disadvantaged young people.

Jacobs, who lives in Aldie, has transformed his beloved 1968 Camaro into an earthbound version of an X1 Tie Fighter and has modified a Hummer H1 into a rolling Death Star, complete with a turbo laser, smoke and sound effects. Star Wars Rides’ next event is the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer benefit Sept. 15 in Aldie.

Jacobs also shows up every Sunday for the 7 a.m. Dulles meets, usually in that beautiful black Camaro.

But there are also local options for folks who aren’t early risers—or for enthusiasts who prefer a brew with their Bentley. C4 Cars & Coffee Community Carfest takes place Saturdays at Crooked Run Brewing’s Sterling location. Sponsored by the NovaDubs Volkswagen enthusiast group, the Mid-Atlantic Drivers Club and Crooked Run, the event includes cars from a wide range of models and eras and offers coffee and breakfast as well as craft brews.

And if you want to start even later, Ashburn’s Cars and Cigars chapter hosts monthly Saturday afternoon meet-ups at revolving eastern Loudoun locations featuring more than 200 cars along with local brews, live music, food trucks and, yes, cigars.

And whether they’re coffee- or beer-focused, all of the pop-ups are kid-friendly, welcoming families for cool cars and tasty treats.

“We are open to everyone who has something they want to bring to a car show—from antiques Model Ts to the latest super cars and everything in between,” Jacobs said. “Everything with wheels and a steering wheel—gas, diesel, even electric—and people who have a passion for vehicles like I do. The car community is amazing.”

Join in the Cruisin’

  • Weekly Cars & Coffee Leesburg: 9-11 a.m. Sundays, Portside Coffee & Bakery, Leesburg. Details:
  • Weekly Cars and Coffee Dulles Landing:7-9 a.m.Sundays, Dunkin’ Donuts at Dulles Landing Shopping Center. Details:
  • Weekly 4C Cars & Coffee Community Carfest: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, Crooked Run Brewing in Sterling. Details:
  • Monthly Cars & Cigars meetup: second Saturdays at locations around eastern Loudoun. Next is 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, D.C. Prime in Ashburn. Details:

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