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By Brian Kennedy
What did you ever dream about that, when you got it, turned out to be not so great? Toys, in my childhood, were advertised differently than they are today. They were shown doing things that couldn’t really happen, except in a kid’s imagination. Sometimes life’s like that in adulthood too.
But not this weekend in LA.
The Classic Auto Show is everything you’re hoping for, and more. Friday, I spent the day toggling between that and the NHL All-Star festivities (see my write-ups on that all weekend at insidehockey.com), and my time at the car gala was spectacular.
This is Pomona if all the cars were pristine, 100-percent lovely showpieces polished to a gleamingly perfect version of themselves. Everywhere you looked, there was something wonderful, and lots of cars you never see at the typical show or cruise.
In fact, if you’re looking for a club to join, no matter your interest from Mustangs to Brass Era Fords etc., people from such clubs were there. I talked with the folks from the San Gabriel Mustang Club, chatting about their meetings and their club work days (helping someone do something she or he can’t or can’t do alone), and I found good camaraderie there. For you, it might be another marque or interest, but you’ll probably find it here. Minis were also represented—the classic ones—in a very nice lineup and with people responsible for these little cuties’ restoration and preservation standing around to gab.
The show is set up in the South Hall of the Convention Center downtown. Straight down the central aisle runs the Grand Boulevard, a lineup of cars that stretches the length of the huge Hall. It’s got everything, but two I liked were the 1967 Cougar in a bronze hue and the 1968 Maserati Sebring.
Then there’s stuff that’s normally outside my range of interest, like the cars from the Xplizit car club—way over the top customs of modern pieces like an Acura—cars so modded they’re unrecognizable as what they began life being. But that’s worth seeing, if you don’t go to the kind of shows these guys do.
Other examples of the bizarre: How about an electric Porsche 914, a Bricklin SV1 from 1975, or a Back to the Future inspired Delorean? Got it, got it, and got it. And that’s three. You’ll find dozens more amongst the reported 850 cars on display.
There’s also stuff to buy, though not a lot. There’s a literature guy (brochures and old manuals), some car care people, the auto bookseller Autobooks from Burbank, a place to buy racing-style shoes, and a booth with Hot Wheels and some vintage Matchbox toys that might enhance your collection of stuff you never had as a kid because your parents were too cheap. (No, I’m not talking about myself.) Then there was a sign guy, some transport people willing to talk about shipping cars to you or from you to eager buyers, and reps from classic car insurance companies. I am missing some, but you get the idea.
And there are famous people. At least, famous to us in the car culture world. Wayne Carini and Mike Brewer were interviewed by Chris Jacobs, and each talked about the world of classics, whether barn finds are still out there (Carini—yes; Brewer—no, it’s more like garage finds now) in a healthy debate. All have shows on Velocity Network, as you likely know. And each has sessions all weekend, spaced out through the day. Check the website for scheduling if you read this while the show’s still on.
If there were one area I could see improving, it would be to see more pure muscle. Maybe more American cars from the 1960s—Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs (I’m not saying there were none). Maybe another race car or two (there were a couple). And definitely more vendors, though I must say, it’s nice to not have to wade through the junk that is starting to populate Pomona in the vendor booths—I’m not talking about old parts, more like old Monopoly games and long-ago-outdated kitchen junk.
I could go on about the wonders of the show, but I’ll go back today or tomorrow and gather more for you. By then, perhaps you will have seen the show yourself. You’ll agree with me—it’s a dream.