LA celebrates its love affair with all things car

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Gypsy Rose at LA Classic Auto Show | ClassicCars.com
Fabulous and historic: Acclaimed lowrider Gypsy Rose | Larry Crane photos

Let’s get one thing perfectly clear: Mike Brewer of television’s Wheeler Dealer and host of the Classic Auto Show staged for the first time last year and for the second time this past weekend in Los Angeles, shared his own (and arguably the accepted) definition of what a classic car is in the new century.

In a conversation with a Los Angeles Times reporter before the show’s 2017 launch, he described a classic (car) as anything that attracts a crowd.

The Classic Car Club of America would beg to differ to a degree; it has a very specific list of handcrafted cars that qualify (some even even meet Brewer’s criteria) but that ends in 1940.

LA Classic Auto Show celebrates historic love affair | ClassicCars.com
Tim Allen’s ‘Triple Nickel’ | Larry Crane photos

However, the 30,000 L.A. aficionados and car nuts who attended the wildly eclectic LA Classic Auto show last year tended to agree with Brewer. And this past weekend, many came back and brought friends who enthusiastically loved the broad assortment of vehicles on the show floor.

Most resulted in Brewer’s single required response: “Ooooh!” or even a more eloquent “Wow!” or… pick any comment that is delivered with a raised heart rate or simply puts an enormous number of people in a better frame of mind and fills a vast convention center with smiling faces.

The Los Angeles car culture is a colossus of tribes. The one constant chord, beyond a passionate attachment to a specific element of fun-on-four-wheels, is a dedication to craftsmanship in the construction — or reconstruction — of that favorite icon.

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The 2018 edition of our new favorite auto show was a tribute to the clubs that constitute the colossus. Those organizations are the heartbeat of the flow of arcane pieces that allow inconceivable ancient sciences and the vital information that tries to explain how — or why — they seem to work to flow among their faithful.

LA Classic Auto Show celebrates historic love affair | ClassicCars.com
Rolling sculpture by Steve Moal

A walk among the tribal camps gives a sharpened focus on why Los Angeles remains the soul of the automobile world. In a time when its heart has migrated from Detroit to countless cities and towns around the globe where manufacturing is accomplished with a fantastic level of sophistication and quality, the world-wide automobile design community maintains many primary claw-holds on the Pacific coastal terrain. That is where the most ardent practitioners in the car culture create and develop sometimes startling advances in both the re-creation of the old world and the incomprehensible new sciences of the next.

LA Classic Auto Show highlights this year included many interviews and stage discussions with the masters in the canons of our established culture. The Grand Marshal of the event was Steve Moal, a leading figure in both retro-design and fabrication perfection and an articulate spokesman for the art. He was supported by many celebrated personalities rapidly becoming respected voices on the subject: Wayne Carini, Rachel DeBarros, Thomas Douglas, Dennis Gage, Bill Goldberg, Kevin Mack, Elana Scherr, Mike Brewer, Kristin Cline, Judy DeVere, Chip Foose, Randy Kerdoon, Bogi Lateiner, Donald Osborne, Lyn St. James, Cecile Bukmeier, Jessi Combs, Stacey David, Dave Kindig, Horney Mike and
universally respected legend, Don Prudhomme.

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Here, then, are a few images from our invitation into the ecumenical council of the automotive soul.

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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.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you so much for adding a picture of my 2015 Camaro to the selected picutres for your wonderful article. My car was dreamed up when the Camaro design returned to the old Camaro look. Well thats how I saw it and decided to try to give the younger car builders a look at what I saw and hoped that some made choose to follow and continue with the retro look of a Beautiful Ride.

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