2023 Cars and Coffee Darien Season Closer

This won’t be your typical Cars and Coffee.

We’ve been gearing up for this one all year. Don’t miss it.

Yes, there will be cars and coffee and food. But there will also be music, trophies, raffles, autographs (autographs?) and more. On Sunday, October 8th, at 9:30 am, during our normal Cars and Coffee Darien event, we will take some time to dedicate a brass plaque commemorating Goodwives Shopping Center and the Lock, Stock, and Barrel restaurant as the starting location of the last real Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash.

Come join us and meet some of the real-life Cannonballers and cars that inspired two movies.

The 1981 film Cannonball Run movie was largely based on the exploits of the real-life people who participated in the race that left the Lock, Stock, and Barrel in Darien in April 1979. The movie, written by Brock Yates and directed by Hal Needham, starred some of the biggest names in Hollywood: Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Adrienne Barbeau, Terry Bradshaw, Peter Fonda, Jamie Farr, Mel Tillis, Bianca Jagger, and many others. Cannonball Run was a huge hit and inspired the sequel Cannonball Run II in 1984.

So far, we’ve confirmed that more than a dozen of those Cannonballers will be attending this dedication, including:

  • Pamela Yates, who was the real-life passenger in the Dodge Transcon Medi-van; in the movie, she was played by  actress Farrah Fawcett
  • Brock Yates Jr., who is the youngest person ever to compete in a Cannonball. He was 14 years old, riding in the back seat of the Moontrash 2 Dodge Van in the second Cannonball
  • Dennis “Mad Dog” Menesini, who became infamous when he ignored the starting route (the road) and drove his ’79 Chevy dualie pickup truck through the brush and up the embankment behind Goodwives onto I-95
  • Judy Stropus who, along with Donna Mae Mims and Peggi Niemcheck, was a member of the “Right Bra” racing team. She was played in the movie by actress Adrienne Barbeau
  • Wendy Epstein, who made the trip on 2 wheels. She rode a Suzuki 850 Motorcycle
  • Also…Steven Fog (’79 Trans Am), John Harrison (’79 Lotus Esprit), Gero Hoschek (’79 Jensen Interceptor), Rick Kopec (’65 Shelby GT350), Jim Mullen (Ferrari SWB), Chuck Schmitt (’79 Eldorado), and Brad Niemcek, a veteran of Cannonballs 2, 3, and 4 (Dodge and Ford vans).

Many of the racers will be available for photos and autographs. We’ll also be raffling off 6 Cannonball Run DVDs signed by all of the original racers in attendance. We’ll have the original Dodge Challenger that Brock Yates drove on display, these two (below) newer Cannonball record holders, and a bunch of other Cannonball cars.

Our visiting Cannonballers will be staying at The Stamford Marriott Hotel and Spa – the official hotel of Cars and Coffee Darien. As usual, season sponsors Riley Volvo, Riley Mazda, Riley Motorcycles, The Auto Spa of Fairfield, Stonewall Insurance Group, North American Motorcars, and Premier Auto Tag Services will be on hand and they’ll be joined by October event Sponsors Riverside Sunoco, Allstate Insurance Najmul Sumra, and M&T Bank. And of course, specialty food retailer Aux Delices will be open early for coffee and some truly delicious breakfast treats.

Parking and Admission

Spectators: Admission is $5 for adults. Children under 12 and active duty military are free. Parking is available at the Mechanics Street lot diagonally across the street from Goodwives and other areas designated in Yellow. Just follow the signs.

Exhibitors: Show cars will be parked on-site (green area). The cost to show a car for this event is $25 in advance ($30 day of). Spaces on-site are extremely limited and will be reserved for “interesting” cars, so please RSVP early. Everyone who shows their car gets FREE coffee.

Everyone who attends receives a special commemorative ID badge with a barcode that entitles them to 25% off any food item purchased during the event from Aux Delices and will be entered in a raffle to win one of 6 DVDs signed by the attending Cannonball racers.

Official Hotel

Season Sponsors

Event Sponsors