Drive around the any of the congested boulevards and freeways that partition Los Angeles and before long you’re likely to see everything from vintage Jaguars to old school muscle cars to trophy trucks and everything in between. The inaugural 2017 Los Angeles Classic Auto Show, held on January 27-29, had all that and then some. More than 600 cars representing Southern California’s diverse car culture were on display at the south hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. Here are nine of our favorite rides from the event:
1987 Morgan Plus 8
This particular example built in 1987 is virtually the same as when Morgan first started production of the Plus 8 in 1968. You’d be hard pressed to think of anything else from the ’80s that’s quite as classy (in a proper British sort of wood-framed way). No, your prom date’s taffeta dress with the puffy sleeves doesn’t count.
1962 Shelby Cobra owned by Bruce Meyer
Bruce Meyer, the Grand Marshal of this 2017 Classic Auto Show and one of the founding chairmen of L.A.’s Petersen Automotive Museum, brought four of his magnificent cars for display. The best, in our opinion, is Cobra No. 1 – the first Shelby Cobra ever produced. It is arguably the most sought after American muscle car ever made and the car that launched Carroll’s legend.
1967 Chevrolet Camaro RS Convertible
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Chevrolet Camaro (as long as you don’t count that little gap in production) and we loved this 1967 RS Convertible. With only 65,000 miles on its original 250 inline six, we think this baby’s held up beautifully. Fifty never looked quite so good.
Ford “Moal” Speedway Special
This special project commissioned by Wayne Carini of the show “Chasing Classic Cars” and built by Steve Moal’s Coachworks was fashioned after European racers of the late ’20s and early ’30s. This one-of-one, completely hand-built car is powered by a flathead Ford engine. Every other component was made specifically for this car. The word “bespoke” may be overused by hipsters, but we’re completely fine pulling it out for this unicorn.
1988 Toyota Tercel
We know what you’re thinking. A Tercel? Yes. This subcompact was the first front-wheel drive effort from Toyota and it was virtually indestructible. Bet you had one, or you knew someone who had one, and wishes they’d held onto it (OK, maybe not). Plus, this third-generation model is in mint condition. Not surprisingly it’s a member of Toyota’s not so exclusive 100,000-mile club.
1955 Volkswagen Bus “Samba”
Called the “Samba” because of its 23 windows, this classic VW bus is the perfect definition of a California style restoration. This one’s been upgraded with a more robust engine, classic Porsche Fuchs alloy wheels, and carbon ceramic brakes. This lowrider VW might actually hit its indicated “100 mph” mark on the speedometer.
1941 Chrysler Town & Country “Woodie”
Six hundred of these beauties were built, and this example is one of only 15 said to survive. All of the wood on this “barrel-back” is original. This wagon is powered by a six-cylinder engine and a Fluid Drive transmission. It seats eight, and suddenly we want to take seven of our closest friends canoeing.
1974 Mini Moke
Originally built for the British military as a utility vehicle, the Moke didn’t really cut the mustard. It was only two-wheel drive, underpowered with bad ground clearance, and nowhere near hearty enough for most military tasks. Hence, they became “resort” vehicles, and for a while were the official rental car of Catalina Island. Also, take everything off, and they’re stackable like plastic lawn chairs. One of these would look good in the office.
1988 Ferrari Testarossa
In the ’80s there were few cars more lusted after by pre-pubescent boys than the Ferrari Testarossa. In particular, we love this Testarossa (“red head” in Italian) we found out on the floor. The fiery, 12-cylinder mid-engine sex machine is a showstopper — and a show star, having played a lead role in “Miami Vice.” Its Pininfarina-penned design produced virtually zero lift with no spoiler. Take that, Countach. Even the license plate on this bad boy is perfect.