I’ve been attending All Makes Welcome for about three years. It’s essentially a once-a-month car meet, but describing it as a car meet is like saying that cars need wheels to move. While correct, there’s a lot more to it than that. All Makes Welcome is a relatively informal and almost entirely unstructured morning gathering the last Saturday of every month. One of its allures is that all makes are genuinely welcome, so you get to experience a healthy mix of what the Southern California automotive scene has to offer. That being said, last month’s event had a BMW theme to it, raising the always-high BMW attendance numbers to even greater levels.
The event is held at, in front of, on the side of, across the street from, and near the Good Time coffee shop in Long Beach, California. But just like All Makes Welcome is much more than a regular car meet, Good Time is much more than just a coffee shop. In addition to great coffee, you can buy a variety of other things like beer, wine, food, clothes, and plants.
Attending the event has become a ritual and I do my best to make it every month. At 6:30 a.m., it’s a nice 40-minute drive for me to get there, and despite my return trip home doubling that due to traffic, I still look forward to it every month. I enjoy All Makes Welcome to the point where I felt compelled to write about it. And maybe a little more about what I think it represents—both actively and passively.
Since many car meets are called Cars & Coffee, one might suggest key factors are—wait for it—-cars and coffee. And that would make sense here, too, as All Makes Welcome was originally named Autos und Kaffee. Like I did, you may initially be thinking that allowing any type of vehicle to attend a car meet is not unique. However, when I start to think about many of the other events I’ve attended recently, the openness All Makes Welcome welcomes has elsewhere too often yielded to slight pretension and perhaps even curious, biased, and even naïve decision making about who can attend.
I’m not saying that simply because the folks running the 400-car South OC Cars & Coffee told me to park my Daytona Violet E36 Touring in the side lot next to a Honda Odyssey and Toyota Camry, but yeah, that’s certainly part of it. I believe that for automotive enthusiasm to proliferate, we need to let everyone show off their cars, regardless of whether they aren’t up to a level “we” might prefer. One generation has complained that the following generation doesn’t like cars. Outside of that being far too broad of a statement, it might appear that way because a generation seemingly in control has prevented that continued expansion.
At All Makes Welcome, it really doesn’t matter the camber of your wheels, whether you’re bagged or static, whether you bring a stock Porsche 964 or an RWB 964, or whether you call your rust “patina.” It’s much less a supercar and hypercar meet, but they’re certainly welcome and definitely admired when they attend. For each BMW E9, you can find an F80 M3, often with both drivers admiring the others’ car. You might see a Kei car trucklet parked on the sidewalk behind a 2002 next to a first generation Scirocco.
Perhaps most important (or maybe most relieving) is that there isn’t an arrangement for your cars. The Porsches don’t need to be grouped together, the Hondas don’t need to be parked together, and so on. BMWs mingle with Mercedes who mingle with Datsuns who mingle with Fiats. Space is definitely at a premium, but outside of some helpful hands guiding cars to where they know space is available, you can park where you like. The neighbor across the street, Chris Geer with Urban Americana, opens his small parking lot for cars to park until 10 a.m. when his store opens (which is incredibly cool). That’s a win-win for everyone as Chris usually drives his blue BMW E9 to his store these days!
Alan Gomez, All Makes Welcome founder and owner of Commodity, the predecessor to the Good Time coffee shop, remembers the event’s early days. “Originally, I started it as a way to drive business for my café,” he says. “Then it evolved and we used it as somewhat of a mindset for the place: all makes welcome, all people welcome. I love bringing the community together. It gives me something to look forward to every month.”
As the event name suggests, Gomez has often arrived in different vehicles, including a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia and a 1987 BMW 535iS, each equally appreciated by the crowds the last Saturdays of the month.
Jeff Siojo found a nice parking spot up front for his Z3 M coupe.
Good Time partner and All Makes subtle patriarch Ben Lau has admired how the event has evolved. “All Makes Welcome is really about community and friends,” he says. “It’s great to see enthusiasts from all over come together here. We try to just give people a place to gather without the structure they might find at other places. We don’t have a lot of space but people are low-key and all support each other.”
Lau, also a BMW CCA member like Gomez, has been a BMW fan for more than twenty years. He currently owns one of the nicer slightly modified 1600s in the area as well as a Laguna Seca Blue E46 M3, so he certainly appreciated the recent BMW-theme there. “It brought together the Southern California community in general, but it was definitely neat to see the old generation and new generation of BMWs all coming together. Same goes for the passion that we see there with BMW and car fans of all ages.”
Not surprisingly, the BMW theme brought out many first-time attendees to All Makes Welcome, like Ejmin “EJ” Elyasian who attended in his Dravit Grey over Silverstone 2020 M8 Competition, replete with Vorsteiner bits throughout. “This was my first time here and I loved it,” he says. “I was always a BMW fan back in my home country. My dad had two 2002 models and taught me all about cars and BMWs. The M8 is my tenth BMW, but I love seeing so many other models, too. I will definitely be back at this event!”
Another recent newcomer was Jon Otterstedt who attended in his recently acquired Z4 35i. “I go to meets as often as possible on weekends,” Otterstedt says. “With four girls in the house and another on the east coast, I try to get out of the house before they wake up and sometimes get back before they’re up for the day. I hadn’t attended this event before, but it was well worth the hour-long drive each way.”
Otterstedt continues, “The street was filled with cars in every direction. Even though it was a small space, there was an amazing number of cars packed around, giving us the chance to find and meet the owners and talk to them. This gives me inspiration for my own build and ideas. It’s better than actual auto shows because we can hear what and why and even how people [modified] their cars. [It’s] kind of a road map for [modification] options.”
Like others, Otterstedt appreciates the variety of makes and models in attendance. He says, “There were so many cars there that we don’t usually see, even for a BMW-themed event. I added to my long list of cars that I want. There was even a Kei car I hadn’t known I wanted until then that was cool. And a really clean Lotus Elan parked on the sidewalk. I ended up parked between two 2002s which was awesome. Cars tend to move so later, I had [EJ’s] M8 Competition next to me at one point.
At the end of the day (or beginning of the morning as it usually goes for car meets), we all just want to feel welcome and enjoy seeing what others brought to share. Otterstedt sums it up nicely, saying, “There are other car shows where anyone can attend where I might feel like I should park down the street and walk up. But here, everyone was there just to enjoy everyone else’s cars. There were no egos; all that was checked at the door. I will be stopping by this [event] often!”Another relatively infrequent attendee confirmed he’ll be attending again soon. Patroon Chapter member Jon de Jesus visited the event in December 2021 when he was in town with his wife, Arsyl, and children, Aliyah and Jarvin. They’ll be returning to Southern California later this month from New York and have already said they plan to stop by again.
“I decided to take the whole fam with me since all four of us were visiting Los Angeles and I had heard of the event on social media,” de Jesus says. “I remember saying ‘these guys know exactly how to extend warm Southern California hospitality.’ We sure had a good time.”
De Jesus continues, “All Makes Welcome seems like your usual weekend Cars & Coffee meet, but the moment you arrive, you instantly realize it is more than that. The cool vibe, awesome group of people and the welcoming attitude of the event will make you want for more. I am envious that this is an all year round gig there as experienced by someone coming from the northeast.”
I suppose the one thing de Jesus wishes were different is that he’d be able to drive to the event one of his five BMWs he owns in New York. We would like that too, as he could choose from a 1977 E12 530i, an ’88 E30 M3, an ’06 E46 ZHP, an ’11 E91 MSport, and a ’21 F22 M-Sport.
One person who has a slightly shorter commute is Long Beach resident Vin Anatra of Hoonigan. “All Makes is the early morning grown up version of the night time car meets I grew up with,” Anatra says. “It’s a large group of enthusiasts and friends that create the scene which we all love. With that comes an organically curated yet unique assortment of the best vehicles to roll the streets of SoCal. I don’t go to that many car meets but when I’m in town the last Saturday of the month, I’m headed to Good Time for one of the breakfast burritos, a coffee, and the familiar faces.”
Anatra actually brought his beautiful Porsche 997 GT3RS to last month’s meet, but his daily driver is an F80 M3. He also has an LS-powered 1995 M3 he uses for Gymkhana Grid and a 1998 328iS for drifting. “But I’ve had more than ten BMWs from a Daytona Violet E30 Touring to modern M3s, though I think my favorite BMW would be either the 635CSi or E92 M3!” Antra says.
“I try to make All Makes any time I’m in town,” says BMW CCA member Marc Marquez, who is from Los Angeles and currently lives in New York City. “I love All Makes because it’s a chill community of friends that can just hang and share the same passion that I have for cars. Getting to see updated mods on friends’ cars from the prior meets is also cool. Since All Makes is only once a month, this leaves a good amount of time to work on our cars to be done and show off any new changes. And since I live in NYC, I make sure to make going to All Makes while I’m here in SoCal a priority. Lastly, the early morning caravan cruises to the meet are one of my favorite parts of going to All Makes. After all, cars are meant to be driven!”
If you’re in Southern California on the last Saturday of the month, Good Time in Long Beach for All Makes Welcome should be your morning destination. In fact, in keeping with the BMW theme from last month, Good Time offers BMW CCA members a 15% discount on everything in the store. So, grab your burrito, your coffee, maybe a bottle of wine, a hoodie, a shirt, and a plant while you’re there! —Kyle van Hoften