HomeThe MarketA Malibu morning at Fireball Tim's Wheels & Waves

A Malibu morning at Fireball Tim’s Wheels & Waves


Sunday morning in Malibu. Down the hill through dense fog and into a lovely English light-box sky — flat white — like the expensive light created in a photographer’s studio. Reflections are pure. Color is represented in its truest form without the brilliant flare that changes the F-stop in your retina and gives you a darker version.

It is a fantastic time and place to photograph cars — anywhere is a great place to look at and talk about cars with knowledgeable aficionados. The brick-paved carpark in front of the Malibu Kitchen in the 7:00 a.m. chill of a Pacific beach winter morning is as authentic a European recreation as we get to experience locally.

It is not a huge gathering, but it is an eclectic collection (short on overly precious exotics and long on really cool stuff— with characters to match) worthy of the drive from anywhere in SoCal.

The purpose of the carbs (carburetors, please) and caffeine assembly (this one was Fireball Tim’s Malibu Wheels & Waves) is more about car mortals than car metals. Cars are everywhere, but early on Sunday mornings, before the coffee maker in your kitchen is even switched on, car people are out and eager for the discourse on their life-sustaining subject. Even in Malibu these conversations eventually move around to less auto-specific subjects.

Michael Axon brought his McLaren, C-type and XKR-S
Michael Axon brought his McLaren, C-type and XKR-S

At a recent gathering, the most popular participant was the guy who brought his C-type Jaguar, his Jaguar XKR-S and his McLaren MP4 12C. As soon as the enthusiastic line began to shorten, I moved into place for a chat. I know some stuff to talk about. So does Michael Axon.

Michael is an aircraft and production engineer with a story worthy of a two-volume set, but at this end of the second volume it is dominated by an international architectural measurement (AsBuilt) business and the creation of an AsBuiltCloud accessible to clients with hundreds of locations in the file system worldwide 24/7. Being a native of Manchester, England, his tenacious roots keep him “grounded” in the old country and his personal, growing, post-war English Car Collection is his flag to wave.

Incidentally, nothing in the collection leaks anything — I looked. And everything spends time on the road. A former Jaguar test driver, he gives his friends a Mulholland ride to remember. Eat breakfast after the ride.

Larry Crane
Larry Crane
Larry Crane has been an automotive literature aficionado from childhood. Car books and magazines represented most of his reading experience. He moved to Southern California in his early twenties to be close to his favorite cars. After a WestPac stint in the Navy, he was offered a position redesigning Motor Trend magazine. Then, for Steve Earle, he created America's first vintage road racing magazine as both editor and designer. FromVintage Racer he joined Road & Track and then David E. Davis Jr., asked him to help create a new kind of car magazine, Automobile. After 12 years, Crane took his family back to Los Angeles to create his dream magazine, AUTO Aficionado, which attracted an impressive cadre of the most influential members of the collector car hobby until the national economy made that one impossible to continue.

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