from the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

GALLERY—Compared to years past, the world debut offerings at this year’s LA Auto Show seemed to be a tad light. In all other respects, however, the show was bigger than ever. For the second year in a row, the press preview was three days, rather than the two days of yesteryear. The number of press conferences were a record high, as were the ride and drive opportunities. The displays were as dazzling as ever. And from the standpoint of the car-buying public, nothing else in the region comes close. Here are the scenes from the best the show offered.

All eyes on the first show of the model year

AUTO SHOW—As the first major auto show of the model year in North America, the Los Angeles Auto Show is like the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries of the show circuit. The New York show has the largest attendance, Chicago has the most square footage, and Detroit the most debuts, but the LA Auto Show lays claim as the pacesetter—the show that rides the crest of the new model year wave. It’s a distinction it acquired when it moved the show from January to November. The show takes place on November 21-30, 2014, but all eyes were on the press and trade days on November 18-20th.

Lexus RC 350, RC 350 F Sport & RC F

AUTO REVIEW—”The ‘LA’ in LA Car stands for Los Angeles but, for this report, it represents the great state of Louisiana. I have come to the city of New Orleans to drive what could be one of the most exciting new cars on the road, the Lexus RC F, as well as its brethren, the RC 350 and RC 350 F Sport. New Orleans is known as The Big Easy, and that may very well describe the adventure that awaits me. I’m about to have BIG fun in a car that will be EASY to become attached to.” Reed ‘The Traffic Guy’ Berry reports.

Dusty cars the new badge of honor?

BACK SEAT DRIVING— California has a history of setting trends. Hot rods, Kustom cars, import tuners, Cars & Coffee, clean air regulations, skateboarding, gourmet food trucks, palimony. Get ready for another one: Dusty cars as a badge of honor. Who would have thought dust would share space as a status symbol alongside diamonds? Leave it to Californians to make that happen.

Final stretch for the third generation Prius

AUTO REVIEW—“I hope they don’t screw it up.” Those are the words of an engineer that works with Toyota and owns three Priuses (or Prii, as they say among the owners). Model year 2015 represents the final stretch for the third generation Toyota Prius. The car that sent all the car companies back to the drawing board is about to undergo a major change for model year 2016. In the meantime, the current Prius has been honed to hybrid perfection. We review the current model in its final production run.

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