‘Donut Gang’ in parking lot meets around cars and coffee on Saturdays

Larry Maiorano shown with his 1957 Corvette. (Submitted photo)

At 77 years old, Larry Maiorano is still part of a gang doing donuts with cars in a Queen Creek parking lot.

He’s not spinning his car wheels, riding around in circles, leaving tire marks, though.

He and other car enthusiasts, known as the “Donut Gang,” regularly meet Saturday mornings in the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot for the Cars & Coffee gathering of showy cars ranging from a 1928 Ford Model A to a new, prototype 2019 Corvette ZR1 test car from the General Motors Proving Ground down in Yuma.

Although the group’s been meeting and showing off collector cars since September 2015, Mr. Maiorano says it is not an “organized activity supported by a club or business,” but attracts many wanting to socialize, kick tires and tell stories.

Larry Maiorano shares his love of cars with others who meet for Cars & Coffee in Queen Creek. (Submitted photo)

Those stories and pictures are shared in regular emails to attendees, featuring new “Donut Gang” participants welcomed with their collector cars.

The event has grown to 189 names on a contact list of Cars & Coffee attendees with about four new “car guys” showing up weekly to the venue that averages between 30 and 40 showcased cars, notes Mr. Maiorano.

“In 2015, I wanted to participate in a car event that had no officers, no organization, no dues, no by-laws, no newsletter and no monthly meetings, which is why I started Cars & Coffee here locally,” Mr. Maiorano states in an email, adding that he rotates his ’34 Chevrolet, ’53 Jaguar, ’57 Corvette, ’68 Jaguar and a ’07 Corvette to Cars & Coffee each week.

The San Diego State College University marketing major, who minored in radio and television broadcasting, wanted a reprieve from a busy lifestyle that included being a member of the US Army Signal Corps for three years; working at Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors and retiring from GM after 30 years.

The man whose ignition started the Cars & Coffee gathering was born in France and came to the states at 7-years-old, he says of his background, adding that he married his wife, Cathy, while headquartered in Phoenix.

“I’ve always been interested in cars — all cars — but it was an important part of having a hobby outside of work while I was employed. It provided a distraction away from work. It became even more important when I retired and relocated to Arizona in order to have an interest that kept me busy as well as providing me with new friends of like mind,” says Mr. Maiorano.

His involvement with cars spans across states as he was a director of the Portland Oregon Rose Festival for nine years; on the Portland, Ore., Indy Car Race Committee for 15 years; president of the Jaguar Owners Club of Oregon; and president of the Over The Hill Gang Scottsdale car club when he moved to Arizona, until leaving the club in 2015.

“Old cars do bring back memories, but because I have an extensive automotive library, and have always been interested in every type of car, I find that each one challenges my recollection of their history,” says the car guru.

“Antique cars are generally considered those that were built prior to World War I and brass-era cars are even earlier than that. The biggest difference between older cars and ‘newer’ cars are advanced technology, safety considerations and government regulations. Any car can be collectible if it is sufficiently desirable and in limited supply.”

The graduate of the Powell Motorsport Performance Driving School (GM Mesa Proving Ground) and the Bragg Smith Advanced Performance Driving School (Las Vegas) is not only fueled with car trivia but he even designed the group’s logo.

He drew a replica of an 88-year-old Cars & Coffee attendee’s hot rod with donuts for wheels.

“Old friends and old cars are what we are about,” Mr. Maiorano adds. “We are just folks with collector cars that enjoy seeing each other’s cars and fraternizing.”

An 88-year-old Cars & Coffee attendee’s hot rod that inspired the group’s logo, which is a drawing of the car with donuts for wheels. (Submitted photo)

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