As announced here before Thanksgiving, we scheduled a Curbside Classic get together at the LA Auto Show for September 30th. Here’s a report on the show, with a decided CC flavor. To start our tour, let’s look at some cars we found curbside on the way into the LA Convention Center. As you can see, BMW set up their “iExperience” center on Figueroa Street directly across from the event.
Here’s a better shot of the car offered at this ride and drive. Recognize it? Neither did I, but turns out it’s BMW’s new i3. BMW is a bit late to the electric car game, but they’ve made up for it by becoming the first mainline manufacturer to offer a model with a carbon fiber chassis and composite body.
Inside, we met up with Curbside Classic reader and commentator Jim Labue, who uses the screen name “Nikita”. I enjoyed talking with Jim as we toured the show, and discovered that in addition to reading Curbside Classic, he’s an avid aviationist as well. We had an interesting discussion about engines for homebuilt aircraft, as Jim talked about the evolution of powerplant options including Volkswagen, Corvair and Subaru air power as well as a new dedicated powerplant eliminating many of the weaknesses of these automotive based engines.
Contributor Jim Klein was also in the building on Saturday, but due to time restraints could not meet up with us- Maybe next time, Jim!
Sharp eyed readers (along with everyone else) spotted this 1968 Camaro behind Jim in the picture above. This is the Tim Allen Camaro, present at the show to support one of Tim’s favorite charities. Interstingly enough, this “new car show” included an early model ponycar from each of the American manufacturers.
The Camaro included an updated power plant, using the 427 cubic inch LS7, complete with fuel injection. This made the car far more interesting than the other two iconic ponycars.
This first year Challenger sat at the Dodge display to remind attendees that Chrysler has always built “cool” cars (if we choose to forget the ’84 Dodge Charger). Complete with dog dish hupcaps and the 426 Hemi, you’ll find this car filed under “show queen,” rather than “curbside classic.”
Filed right next to it was this Shelby Mustang GT350. Don’t get me wrong, these are beautiful cars, but your authors here at Curbside Classics look for a bit more than just beauty and perfection.
For instance, this Mitsubishi Mirage better fits the Curbside Classic profile. The Mitsubishi display gave me the same “one foot in the grave” vibe I felt at the Suzuki display two years ago (as we know, Suzuki is no longer present in the US market). When I saw this sad little hatchback, I knew I should save it for posterity. I offer this challenge to Cubside writers circa 2034- Find this car on the streets of LA, and post an article reviewing the downfall of the Mitsubishi Brand here in the States.
In contrast, I expect Nissan to maintain a prescence here over the next twenty years, and the Juke may even be an occasional site in future LA. However, this NISMO (NISsan MOtor SPorts) trim package should be very rare indeed. The Nissan product specialist informed me this was the second NISMO package developed for the Juke, but I still haven’t spotted a Juke with the first package installed.
As we know, Curbside Classics focuses on the mundane made notable by rare options, trim packages or colors. Here’s a future Curbside Classic based strictly on color. I’ll make two predictions regarding this green abomination:
1) The Cherolet nameplate will carry forward over the next two decades.
2) The Spark namplate dissappears the next time Chevy updates their entry level car.
Obviously, I’m not sticking my neck out very far- Both predictions are based on very solid automotive history.
On the flip side, here’s a color I like with a roofline I hate. I’ve made this point before, but why would Mini take one of the most efficiently packaged minicars in the world, and WRECK it by removing two seats and adding this ridiculous roof?
Finally, let’s close with this image of the new Lexus and Infiniti front fascias. Is it just me, or did the two companies hire the same stylist?
I’ll have to remember to argue that point in twenty years, when these cars gain CC status.