Lifestyle

We Found the Perfect Place for a Cars-and-Coffee Afternoon

When ECQ is lifted, that is.
IMAGE ALVIN UY
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When Aston Martin wanted to hold its first curated event, it knew exactly where to have it. Karrera Showroom is a newly opened café and automobile curio mini museum located in Bloc 10, a strip mall nestled in the quiet part of Filinvest Alabang right beside FEU Alabang. The venue’s skim-coated cement walls and exposed steel beams and posts offer a very industrial look that blended well with the building’s architecture and overall vibe of the place. 

Photo by Alvin Uy.

The idea for the Karrera Showroom came about at the height of the first ECQ (enhance community quarantine) last year when owner Alfredo Roa spotted this location in Filinvest Alabang and decided that it was the perfect setting for the concept. “We only started public operations last May as there were many business permits that had taken time to complete as well as construction and design changes,” he tells Esquire Philippines. “I have some partners that come from various back grounds in art, retail and logistics but share a common bond in car enthusiasm.”

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He said the concept itself was first conceived many years ago from his travels to Europe and Japan. “I visited different car museums and was inspired by the environment,” he says. “I recall as a student in Munich, I would spend hours doing email work inside the BMW Museum in front of the greatest race cars and vintage collection of BMWs. That was a very cool and inspiring experience I wanted to take home and share to people.”

Photo by Alvin Uy.

ECQ was about to happen when we visited so we missed the chance to sample its food and beverage offerings including a mini bar that offered some wine and whisky selections. “I wanted to take this idea of a museum cafe with different cars and curated brands from around the car scene, new and old,” Roa says. “As a car enthusiast, we have similar interests whether it’s food, lifestyle or culture. I wanted to take these interests under one gallery and showcase them.”

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Inside, there’s a well-curated mix of classic cars, automotive art, memorabilia and merchandise and a vintage turntable set peppered with repurposed automotive furniture from Gruppe Collective. Among the furniture on display there was a car seat from a classic Mercedes-Benz front seat repurposed from a W123 classic sedan and an original Mercedes-Benz alloy wheel called the Benz 2 and the cylinder head of an M117 V8 engine places on a glass tabletop. There is even a couple of arcade games on temporary display from Man Cave PH.   

Photo by Alvin Uy.

Photo by Alvin Uy.
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Roa explains that some of these classic cars and automotive art collection on display are actually for sale and are under consignment. These are displayed on rotation every few weeks, like an art gallery. The Delorean is owned by his partner JJ Atencio while the red Alfa Romeo is from his personal collection. There was also a 356 Speedster tribute car that is for sale under consignment. These cars are reminiscent of Hollywood cars.

The Delorean, for instance, was the star in the three Back to the Future movies, while the red Series 3 Alfa Romeo Spider is a later version of the Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider that Dustin Hoffman drove in the movie The Graduate. A similar 356 Speedster was car number 42 named “Natalie” in the Gone in 60 Seconds remake with Nicolas Cage. Even the V12 engine-powered Aston Martin Vantage S from Aston Martin Manila had a James Bond vibe to it. Karrera Showroom posted a video of some of its earlier displays on YouTube.

Photo by Alvin Uy.
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Photo by Alvin Uy.

Roa’s passion extends not only in hosting friends and car club members who frequent the place as he also owns a boutique car shop called Garage 2233 based in Makati. “We primarily do BMW and Porsche service and upgrades. We do special builds for air-cooled and BMW Ms. We specialize on 3.8L and 4.0L engine builds on air cooled Porsche 911s.” Roa and his partners also organizes the ETCC (European Touring Car Championship) where they advocate and promote gentleman motorsport for all European cars and drivers from various skill levels from beginners to professionals and share the experience of camaraderie and friendly competition.

Photo by Alvin Uy.
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For more details check out the Karrera Showroom, check out its Facebook and Instagram. You can head out there when restrictions are lifted and grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine while enjoying its displays and chat with like-minded gearheads. There is ample parking space just beside the café where sports car owners just chill and hang out.

 

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