When I moved to LA, I discovered it has a thriving early Saturday morning car show culture. On any given weekend, multiple parking lots across town fill up with classic and special interest cars free for the viewing. By starting the gatherings around 7 AM, and breaking up around 9, these events make use of empty parking lots across town, and end before the shopping crowds arrive. The process is very organic- There’s no show registration, no vendor booths, and no show fees. People simply show up around seven, and then head out to their morning errands after nine.
Last Saturday, I scheduled a CC Meet-Up at the Palos Verdes Coffee and Cars event on LA’s Palos Verdes Peninsula. The 7:30 start time proved a bit daunting for our CC readership, but I arrived camera in hand, to capture suitable Curbside Classics.
Joining me at the show was one time contributor Joe Latshaw, posing here in front of an early Chevy II Nova convertible. Joe comes from a family of Mazda fans, and wrote a very comprehensive CC article on the 2nd generation Mazda RX-7 that I’ve linked here: Mazda RX-7 F3CS. He also drove to the show in a very nice Mazda B2600 Pickup. Perhaps he’ll write a CC article about his truck sometime (hint hint).
There were more than 100 cars at the show, but as I said in the car show clue yesterday, I’ve tried to ignore the standard car show fodder of Mustangs and Camaros and find some unusal vehicles (although if you squint, there’s the typical line up of Ford pony cars posed behind this 1970 Pontiac Bonneville convertible).
I neglected to photograph the front of this Mercury convertible, but the tail light panel may be this car’s best feature. Up front, the owner posted a placard declaring it to be a factory 429 car, making it a rare ride indeed. Given the size of the car, even seven liters of power may not provide it with linebacker speed.
After looking at two Detroit based boats, here’s a West German version of an automotive boat. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the Amphicar, but seeing one in the flesh is always a bit surreal, especially when you see two propellers hanging below the back bumper. I’ve seen footage of these cars plowing through the water, confirming they are amphibious. Still, the the thought of driving one of these down a boat ramp and out into the water strikes me as the height of foolishness.
This rig may be my personal favorite. It’s the right generation, it’s completely stock, and the stepside bed is unusal. Even more unusual…
It’s a long bed, rather than the typical short bed. The early morning shadows make for an uneven shot, but the first picture masks that long wheelbase.
Here’s another long wheelbase rig, but there’s no shadows hiding this Cadillac Eldorado. Who can deny the purity and power of these lines? My camera just lept up and demanded I take a picture.
This Pontiac could be a typical car show muscle car, but three things set it apart. 1) It’s a Tempest. 2) The front fender emblem does NOT read “389.” 3) The wheels are steel. Throw in that unmatchable mid-sixties Pontiac style, and I just had to post it.
Why did I follow up the Tempest with a ’49 Dodge? Well, it’s a study of contrasts- Extreme style, meet extreme practicality.
In yesterday’s Car Show clue, SeattleO asked “Is that Larry Wood’s Nash?!” Well, as a matter of fact it is. Larry Nash worked as a Hot Wheels stylist, and built this car to provide a traditional exterior look combined with a modern driveline. For more information, check out this Hemmings Motor News article.
This post war Buick also dropped by, and also provided a very traditional exterior appearance. Could it also have a Chevy V-8 underhood?
Not at all! Other than the plastic coolant overflow tank, this engine bay contains a completely stock straight eight, coupled to a Dynaflow transmission.
This ’32 Ford does have an upgraded driveline, but it’s a period project, rather than a modernization. Its flathead V-8 includes increased carburation and forced induction. Despite the rough finish, there’s some nice detail work done on this car- Notice the multiple holes in the front axle to reduce weight.
I’ve included a couple of exotics from the show, just to give you a taste of the incredible variety I see each month. I had many options to choose from, and I made my choices based on which ones spoke to me.. In this case, the Nissan GT-R easily blocked my view of that blue Cobra.
Clearly, this Porsche Carrera GT outshines that red Ferrari off to the left.
Finally, a BMW Z-8 diminishes that black Ford GT. It’s hard to believe Z-8 production ended twenty years ago, since the car looks as current as a new Cadillac. If I encounter this car on the street, I’ll take a full set of pictures and give it the full CC treatment. I think it’s a mesmerizing car, with gorgeous bodywork!
Speaking of mesmerizing and gorgeous, here’s a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing. Frankly, I don’t care for this car in red.
It looks so much better in a midnight blue. Yes, there were TWO Gullwings at the show last Saturday morning. I imagine a couple of folks out there wish they had gotten up a bit earlier last weekend, and checked out that 7 AM car show.
Feast your eyes on this shot. This interior detail proves that at one time, Mercedes deserved the tagline “Engineered like no other car in the world.”
Here’s another purpose built racecar that was made available to the buying public. I’ve no idea how this Ford RS200 came to Southern California, but it certainly pegs the exotic meter. Rumor says it is one of 200.
Notice the Oregon plates. I’m pretty sure you’d face a loooong uphill battle trying to convince the state of California to title this foreign exotic in state.
Speaking of Oregon, I think I know a fellow up there who really likes this exotic. I wanted to ask the owner to open the hood, but didn’t get the chance. Maybe he’ll bring it up again next month, and I can take some pictures of the running gear.
In closing, I’ll provide you with a few Chevy El Camino pictures, the “Official Curbside Classic of Los Angeles.” All of these Caminos were at the show, and none of them appeared in my posting from last month, which had twenty other El Caminos. I’m telling you, these things are all over my neighborhood.
Here’s El Camino two. Be sure to check out the cars in the background of these pictures- It helps give you a feel for the amazing variety here at this monthly car show.
And in closing, El Camino number three. I really like the one piece headlights someone added to this car. Chevy used similar headlights in the Monte Carlo LS and the final boxy B-body Caprice. They may have been the same units, since they replaced square headlights in those cars, and appear to bolt into the grille of this Camino.
Well, that ends our tour of the Palos Verdes car show. I hope you enjoyed it, and I’ll try to share a couple more California shows in the near future, while the rest of the country suffers through the long nights of winter.