Now in its second year at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the L.A. Classic Auto Show looks like it just might stick around for a while. We attended the inaugural show last year and found it to be interesting, if a bit small considering the sprawling space available at the hosting venue. This year, the event expanded slightly into a downstairs room, while the main show in the convention center’s South Hall appeared to remain about the same in size.
Nevertheless, the show packed some interesting classics into the same space where the Los Angeles International Auto Show is held each year. Here are several of our favorites from this year’s show.
This RS2000 didn’t come from the factory with its huge fender flares and deep chin spoiler as far as we can tell, but that doesn’t stop it from looking fantastic. These cars went on sale in the U.K and Germany in 1975 with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder motor making about 110 hp – good enough to propel the little rally box to just over 100 mph. This one looks like it’s capable of more, even if it’s not – we’re not sure on that latter bit, with no info available on this car’s build and no owner in sight.
When’s the last time you’ve seen a Samurai on the road? Chances are it’s been a while. This example appears to be a veteran of several international rallies and seems well kitted-out for just that. Decals hint at a run from Alaska to Panama and another event from California to Serbia, both occurring last decade.
Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
Fox-bodied Mustangs are hot right now these SVT Cobra versions are among the cream of the crop. SVT modifications on the Mustang GT’s 5.0-liter block include GT-40 style cylinder heads with special valves and roller rocker arms, a unique intake manifold, camshaft and exhaust among other things. Suspension was farmed out to Tokico and an upgraded Borg Warner T-5 transmission was also part of the package. An even higher-performance R version was also available.
Built in California by hot rodder and customizer Steve Moal for a client, this “Gatto” morphs some of the greatest ‘50s Italian styling cues (think Ferrari, Maserati and Zagato) in this custom creation. Under the hood is a ‘60s Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 “Colombo” V-12 engine and output is said to be around 300 hp since being rebuilt to 250 GTO spec.
While Volkswagen Karmann-Ghias are hardly rare, with nearly half a million built through the years, this early car from the ‘50s is in far better condition than most these days. We like the period luggage rack, white wall tires and yellow driving lamps too; they’re nice additions that make the car unique without devaluing it.
We’ve seen our share of Datsun 240Zs turned into Ferrari 250 GTO replicas, which is why we had to get a closer look at this car. The nose of this Datsun has that classic Ferrari vibe, especially with the fared-in headlights and semi-circular hood scoops, but this is no straight-forward Ferrari replica. Instead it keeps much of what made the 240Z a winner while adding a few custom touches. Nicely done, we say.
Mini Coopers are instantly recognizable cars and we love the rally-themed versions even more. This clever display by the local Mini club was a fun addition to the show. We’d love to see more like it at next year’s event.
De Tomaso Pantera
Southern California’s Pantera club was out in full force with a whole row of cars, nearly all modified to some degree (par for the course when it comes to these machines). One of the few cars at the show to actually display useful information to the uninformed, this car was built as a race car in the late ‘70s from a standard road car and currently claims 535 horsepower from the 351 Ford Cleveland engine–more than enough to get its 2,800-lb curb weight up to speed quickly, we’d guess.