Menu toggle


12 Dec 2018

Photos by Si Medlicott  

Community Spirit

An all-inclusive petrol paradise is inviting you to drop by and smell the coffee

Parked askew in an open garage dotted with old chairs and other household flotsam is Phil McGovern’s Speed Yellow 993 RS. A daily driver, racking up miles with a concerted disregard for resale, this is one of three air-cooled Porsches owned and run by Phil from his new headquarters and home a few miles southeast of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Anyone with half an eye on the motoring industry’s many social media channels will have seen the hubbub surrounding something called Caffeine&Machine, which opened on 27 October. This is Phil’s ambitious new project, a venue physically vast and sprawling, a concept as compelling as it is complex.
On paper, C&M is a bar/restaurant with rooms. But it’s also the culmination of a lifelong vision and collision of ideas from Phil and his business partners Dan Macken and Tom Ford that aims to create a petrol-driven paradise serving and supporting a diverse and all-encompassing mechanised community.
“If you take it all back to the beginning,” Phil says, “I was 17 and driving a VW Beetle, and I fell in love with this brown 930. Now there was a ladder to go crawling up – how could I go from this car to that car? Wind it forward to now and if a 17-year-old rolled in here in a Fiesta ST some OZ wheels everyone would go ‘Urgh.’
But that was us when we were 17. Same person. Same passion. Same everything. It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got or what your cultural background is, we’re the same. That’s where the inclusion comes in. We’re like a hippy commune with fewer sandals and more V8s.”
Inclusivity is C&M’s cornerstone. Phil and his team have resisted any corporate investment that might compromise their vision. The project depends on accessibility and openness, on input and enthusiasm from all avenues of the motoring world.
The site itself is a former inn, situated on 12 partially wooded acres just outside the village of Ettington. Surrounded by superb driving roads – many of which are used by local manufacturers to shake down development mules – it seems like a natural hub.
Phil began the C&M concept as an after-hours project while working in Dubai, uniting many of the disparate but like-minded car cultures he met in his day job. The sheer scale and turnover of the first handful of events proved there was money to be made, but the complexities of starting a business as a foreign national in the Middle East encouraged Phil and his wife Emma to fish out the atlas.
California was mooted, as were Cape Town, Perth and Seattle. In the end, the UK made perfect sense: “We looked at England top to bottom and said it has to be right in the middle. And if it’s going to be in the middle it has to be on the edge of the Cotswolds because this is the Detroit of the UK, right? We’ve got JLR, Aston, Silverstone, Donington, F1 teams from Haas to Renault and Mercedes and the feeder companies that come into it. This is the perfect place.”
Porsche is a particular passion of Phil’s. Having owned Beetles and VW buses in his youth, it was a natural progression towards the air-cooled flat-four of a short wheelbase 912 – a car he still owns to this day. Phil has been ahead of the curve on classic Porsches his whole adult life, snapping up an unloved 964 RS a number of years ago and not long after the 993, both of which he still drives on a regular basis.
“It was really just me looking at this market thinking that they’re non-taxable, they’re very interesting, you can love them, you can caress them, you can sit and have a cup of tea and look at them, and they’re working better than money in the bank.”
The Club is talking to Phil about holding a number of annual events at the site, mixing with new faces and sharing its own knowledge and passion with a wider audience. The key thing, as Phil is keen to stress, is that C&M is open to anyone, to get out what they put in.
“You go to the Goodwood Revival, which I think is the most amazing event, but just take a look around and see who’s not there and try to understand why. It’s usually because they’ve not been invited or it’s too expensive. We wanted to build something that didn’t have that financial impact. It’s a property, it’s a proposition. If you can afford the price of a cup of coffee, come on in.”

Let us help you unlock the potential of your Porsche

Join now