After humble beginnings in 2014, Car Café has grown from strength to strength, year upon year. The car meet attracts an eclectic mix from supercars to classic cars, month in, month out, come rain or shine.
2019 was another great year for Car Café, so we thought we'd compile a list of our 5 favourite cars that we spotted throughout the year. Of course, it is a near impossible job, especially when you love cars as much as we do, so we'v also added in some honourable mentions for good measure too. Enjoy!
#5 Hummer H1The colossal Hummer is a rare sight on UK roads for two main reasons. Reason #1: They were never sold in the UK. Reason #2: A small country is cheaper to run.
Jokes aside, the Hummer was made possible by a certain Mr Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is all because the legendary bench press enthusiast had a military spec 'Humvee' converted for road use in the '90s, resulting in the Hummer H1.
The H2 was released in the early '00s, but it does not match the original for coolness, value and rarity. We loved seeing this particular example at the July meet in Nottingham.
According to How Many Left this was the only UK-registered example in 2019, making it a bit of a unicorn!
#4 Ford Escort MexicoFast Fords were a force to be reckoned with back in the day, especially in the '70s. Today, ST and RS models fly the flag for the blue oval with textbook gusto.
Sure modern cars are impressive, forever breaking new boundaries, but the craftsmanship and skill required to enhance a classic is always admirable. Especially in this particular fast Ford.
That's because this is not your average 'Mexico. For it has been enhanced, after receiving fresh paint, given wider arches and for good measure, the power now comes from a legendary Cosworth engine, producing 340bhp.
Taking two years to complete, it was well worth the effort, and many people crowded round this particular example when it made the Nottingham September meet.
#3 BMW 2002 TurboThe classic theme continues with the BMW 2002 Turbo. Born in the early '70s, this pocket rocket Beamer came at a time when oil was extortionate, and performance cars were seen as irresponsible.
This was also before the birth of the iconic BMW M division, as the first M car (the BMW M1) came in 1978, so perhaps if BMW didn't produce this 'irresponsible' car, it may never have paved the way for BMW's now legendary M cars.
This makes the BMW 2002 Turbo one hugely significant car and also a rare one. Only 12 were registered on UK roads according to howmanyleft.co.uk, so we were more than happy seeing this fine example at Car Café Nottingham.
#2 Ford Cortina LotusThe theme continues again, with another fast Ford, or should that be fast Lotus? Often called the Lotus Cortina, this was a Ford Cortina turned up to eleven, with a punchier 105bhp engine added by Lotus, along with a gearbox from the Lotus Elan.
Lotus also radically changed the suspension, body panels and added their logo to the rear quarters. Factory cars came in the look you see here; white with a green stripe down each side, classic Lotus Cortina colours.
The interior of this particular example looked very much set up for the track, with a single bucket racing seat, stripped interior and some external weight saving measures. Another tasty classic you don't see very often.
#1 Porsche 911 (993) Carrera RSBorn in '63, the Porsche 911 is the textbook answer to the sports car. Each new generation has pushed the boundaries of what is possible from a sports car.
The 993 generation (made between '94 and '98) was the last generation to feature air-cooled engines, meaning this generation is hugely sought-after, especially in RS specification. This particular example is a 'regular' RS (they also did a Clubsport version) although it does feature factory optioned wing and bucket seats - like a Clubsport version.
'REN 993' is also finished Riviera Blue, a hugely popular colour on any Porsche and one that certainly cements this car as our favourite from 2019. No wonder these cars keep rising in value.
Audi R8 V10 Performance612 rampant ponies hide under the bonnet of this V10 monster. It looks incredible too, and was one of the first on the road when it attended the Car Café meet in July.
BMW M cars are some of the finest driver's cars on the planet, and the 1M is no exception. Short, wide and with the all important manual gearbox, the 1M looks as angry as every M car should. Looks great in Valencia Orange too.
Several examples of the raging bull, in various specifications joined the Car Café meets in 2019. All in outrageous colours, which is perfect for any Lambo. And, let's be honest, who doesn't love it when a Lamborghini turns up to a car meet?
Renault Clio V6 (Phase 1 and 2)
Spotted in both the Phase I and II guise. We love the Clio V6 for its craziness, as Renault took a Clio, gave it blistering wide arches, and dumped a mid-engined V6 engine in for good measure. Legendary.
Porsche 911 (997) GT3 RS
RS in Porsche language stands for Rennsport, which is German for racing, makes sense, as the GT3 RS is basically a racing car for the road. Looks incredible in green too. Incidentally, this sits alongside the number 1 car in the list in the owners garage. Talk about garage goals!
Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R
A few R34 GT-R examples were spotted at this year's Car Café meets. A cult legend, thanks to video games like Gran Turismo and films like The Fast and Furious have ensured the Skyline GT-R will forever be considered a legend. The Bayside Blue example in the pictures was the actual car tested by the likes of Jeremy Clarkson and Steve Coogan, and features a unique, factory red leather interior.
Aston Martin GT8
Hear one of these things start up, and you'll understand why we had to give it a mention. Bright yellow may not be a traditional 'Aston' colour, but the striking colour goes hand-in-hand with the car's race car for the road character. Epic.
Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
A legendary name in American automotive history. The Corvette is a rare sight on UK roads, but thanks to a dealer who specialises in selling brand-new versions set up for the UK market (although they are still left-hand drive) we got to see a handful at Car Café. With a 6.2-litre V8 and 460hp, we are certainly not complaining.
Nissan Skyline R33 Nismo 400R
Our favourite car from last year, and it's no wonder considering its heritage, rarity and value. We couldn't let it hog the limelight again, but if you want to know more, take a look at last year's write up here.
Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec-C Type RA-R
Sitting alongside another rare Japanese beast, this particular Impreza is another incredibly rare car, with only 50 made in Vivid Yellow. It is thought only a handful reside in the UK. Along with the 22B, this is quite possibly one of the best ever Impreza versions Subaru ever made.
Ferrari 458 Speciale
No list would be complete with mentioning a prancing horse. To be honest, quite a few joined us this year; various 458, 812 Superfast and even a 488 Pista could be spotted at the meets. But we really liked this particular Ferrari 458 Speciale. The gold wheels look great and the colour choice is refreshing to that of the regular Ferrari colour of choice, red.
Porsche Cayman GT4
The Porsche 911 may well be the textbook answer for the sports car, but the Cayman is another superb driver's car, and a fantastic sports car. The Cayman GT4 is the range-topping Cayman and is driving poetry. We spotted a few tasty examples throughout the year, which is always nice to see.
Alfa Romeo 1600 Junior
Another gorgeous classic Alfa Romeo. Just look at it. Old Italian cars are just right aren't they, how could we not give this Alfa a mention. And didn't Clarkson state that you aren't a petrolhead, until you've owned an Alfa. This may be a good model to go for, not for everyday use though, it's an Alfa after all...