Bruce Hatfield has a vision for what cars might look like in the future, and he’s not particularly excited about it. “A transportation module will show up at your doorstep and take your blood pressure, respirations, all that. Then you’ll tell it where you want to go and it will take you there,” he predicts.
For some, this might sound like a pleasant alternative to the stresses of rush-hour traffic. But to Hatfield, former president of the Hendersonville Antique Car Club and a classic-car enthusiast, it’s no future he wants to live in. To that end, he’s helped establish “Cars and Breakfast,” a monthly gathering of autophiles at Dixie Diner in Hendersonville that Hatfield describes as an “informal get-together open to anyone with an old car or an interest in cars.” The aim? To celebrate timeless automobiles, and to keep them from going the way of the Dodo bird. “We want people — especially young people — to stay involved so these cars don’t end up in a scrapyard or a museum,” he says.
“Cars and Breakfast,” which occurs on the first Saturday of each month, has been going strong for about a year now. It draws anywhere from 15 to 20 people, and is often used as a launching pad for bigger events later in the day — on the Fourth of July, for instance, some of the regulars went to a barbecue at Lake Toxaway. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly limited the number of car shows to be attended — the annual Independence Day show in Brevard, for example, was canceled — but hasn’t stopped the guys from convening in the mornings to talk about where to find a good mechanic: “One fella was having issues with his exhaust manifold and was wondering where he could take his car,” Hatfield says.
They also like to rag on one another about their makes of choice. “We always harass the ‘Mopar’ [Chrysler products] guys,” Hatfield admits.
Similar “Cars and Coffee”-type gatherings occur across the U.S., but the local “Cars and Breakfast” group is unique in that it’s not affiliated with one specific club, but instead an amalgamation of folks from different organizations throughout Western North Carolina. Hatfield, for instance, also belongs to the Transylvania Cruisers. Some guys come down from an Asheville-based club, others from the Carolina Mountain Car Club. This hodge-podge ethos jibes with the name of a newsletter Hatfield puts out every month called “No Name, No Club, No Dues, No Politics.” The focus is on bringing people together over a shared interest: keeping the spirit of classic cars alive for as long as possible. “The thing about new cars, they drive you. If I’m getting too close to another car, it will beep. If I’m going over the line, it’ll tell me to get another cup of coffee,” Hatfield says. “But old cars? You drive them.”
For a “Cars and Breakfast” schedule, contact Bruce Hatfield: 828-329-4971 or firstname.lastname@example.org.