Publisher Malcolm Hogan began a website for car enthusiasts in 2004 as a hobby project. Today, Automotive Addicts is a Northeast Florida-based company that provides car news and reviews online to an audience of millions.
“Now I’m really blessed to get a car every week to test drive and review,” he says. “At the time, I was just blogging about car news, but I didn’t ever think it would blossom into what it is now.”
Hogan can trace his love of cars back to his childhood, when he played with Matchbox cars. Later on, in his early driving years, he remembers having to choose between fixing his own car or going without one. Like many young car buffs, learning by tinkering enhanced his interest.
Hogan went to school for computer science, but his love of the automotive world never waned, and he began meeting other people in the community who shared his passion. “The car community in town is pretty tight,” he says.
Senior Editor Chris Brewer agrees: “One thing I love about the car community is that it doesn’t matter where you worship, go to school or work.” Their shared passion for things “that you put gas in” is what brings them together.
They have noticed, however, that the automotive culture in Jacksonville differs from other places because it’s difficult to get people together for events. The city’s decentralized nature sometimes discourages residents from coming out and getting together. They hope that’s changing with Cars and Coffee.
Automotive Addicts Cars and Coffee is a monthly gathering of car enthusiasts from all over the region. They meet in the Florida Times-Union headquarters parking lot every second Saturday of the month from 8 to 11 a.m. The family-friendly event is free and open to the public.
Their car show provides a venue “for the city to wrap around and support,” says Hogan. They typically have 400 cars or more, and its central location in the booming neighborhood of Brooklyn is a good meeting spot for Jacksonville residents.
“The event attracts many local businesses that vehemently support the venue through sponsorships,” says Hogan. To show off their hottest new vehicles, some automotive manufacturers send vehicles to attend the monthly show.
Brewer and Hogan also support the annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “Bill Warner and his team are dear friends,” Brewer says. “We are proud to be affiliated with the Concours.”
They both say there is a lot to celebrate in terms of the First Coast’s car culture. In addition to events, the area supports companies in the auto industry, such as parts manufacturers and a Southeast Toyota facility.
Jacksonville’s car culture, Hogan says, is flourishing.