Highline Autos’ Cars and Coffee in Scottsdale, Arizona is a monthly treat for the car enthusiast. So much so that it has become a staple of car culture in the Phoenix area. We went car spotting to pick our favorite GM engine-shod rides from the 200-some vehicles in attendance.
Images courtesy of Tom Stahler
For the year-round population of Phoenix, one of the best car shows is the Highline Autos Cars and Coffee. It occurs the first Saturday of each month, in the popular High Street shopping district. Flanked by boutique shops and restaurants, it’s a great place to see a car show and enjoy brunch. Highline has undoubtedly gathered a diversity of cars and car culture all together in one place.
Scottsdale, Arizona, is best known to car fanatics for the famed Arizona Car Week. Notable auction houses like Gooding, Barrett-Jackson, and RM-Sotheby’s pitch their tents in the desert to great excitement and insane bidding wars on cars. Cottage events have joined the fray with eye-catching concours and other assorted meets. Enthusiasts from all over the world escape the January cold and descend on the sprawling Southwestern city to spend quality time around raw horsepower.
The first car that caught our eye at this installment of the Highline Autos show was this sixth-gen ZL1 Camaro. Wrapped beautifully in a two-tone purple-to-black fade, the young lady who drove it was a bit disappointed as she lamented, “I had detailed it last night and it sat under a tree that dropped sap on it.” We’ll forgive her this time as the 6.2-liter LT4 made a wonderful noise.
The next pick, also a Camaro, was a 1968 restomod. The unbadged original body remained, but in the glossy lipstick-red monster’s engine compartment sat an LT4. Add to that, modern suspension components, LED lighting, beefy tires, and 20-inch racing wheels, it was a beautiful 21st-century interpretation of a bowtie classic. Clearly, a lot of time and effort went into the nearly flawless build.
Like most car shows these days, there were C8s aplenty. We had to stop, though, and have a look at the pretty LT2 engine in one of them, surrounded by carbon fiber. A lovely sight, makes one wonder what Zora Duntov would have thought about these cars during the inception of the marque, 70 years ago.
At yet another turn, we spied a 2017 Chevrolet SS — with a 6.2-liter LS3. We love the understated sedan, but clearly, the corporates at GM were not as thrilled. It was a disappointment for the Detroit brand, but an absolute hoot for owners of the sleeper sedans. The car only saw four model years and a total of 12,860 sales.
The Holden/Australian-built SS was amongst the last of the performance four-door sedans produced by GM that featured rear-wheel drive and an available manual 6-speed transmission as the Cadillac CTS-V went away in 2019 (with Cadillac dropping the manual transmission option in 2015). This example, however, sports a seven-speed automatic.
The car’s owner, Gary Blythe, is perfectly happy with the car — despite not getting his first choice of color. “I wanted blue, but it is a great car. A real sleeper! Out on the road, no one expects the burst of speed.”
While not an LS or an LT, this ’73 Camaro still caught our eye. This restomod is quite intimidating with a supercharged small-block 350, aluminum heads, and manifold. It features many 21st-century upgrades for an old-school rod. This stylish second-gen with the big Barchetta smile on the front turns on the “way back machine” to my mom and dad’s 1970 Rally Sport — but with serious oomph.
Lastly, this C7 caught our eye not just for the color and cool decor on the hood insulator, but the 6.2-liter engine with a Cordes Performance racing cowling made us wonder what other modifications had been done. Sadly, we didn’t meet the owner. Your guess is as good as ours, but from our observation, it at least had American Racing long-tube headers and an MSD Intake. Combined with an aftermarket tune, this C7 is easily making an additional 60-plus horsepower.
While the summer months can be daunting in the desert, the faithful still venture out — as the mornings are still in the 80s. Most of the top-notch shows appear to have unacknowledged cooperation with one another, scheduling unique Saturdays each weekend to fulfill fans and car owners alike.