Published by LA CAR
Editor: Doug Stokes
Publishers Roy Nakano and John-Fredrik Wright
Executive Editor Roy Nakano
Senior Editors John Grafman and John-Fredrik Wright
Managing Editor Zoran Segina
International Editor Bill Wright
Editors-at-Large Reed Berry, Brian Kennedy, Glenn Oyoung and Sean Spear
Senior Contributing Editors Chuck Dapoz, Harold Osmer and Harvey Schwartz
Contributing Editors Brad Brownstein, Mark Dorman, Eric Dorman, Tommy Grafman, BT Justice, Derrick Lim, Joseph Manalili, Christopher Merlo, Greg Nakano and Ashley van Dyke
Photographic Editors Gabriela Moya and Harvey Schwartz
Video Director-Editors Bobby Holland, Harold Osmer and Robert Shoji
Contributing Photographer Albert J Wong
Web Technical Consultant Larry Flaharty
Automotive Technical Consultants Robert Shoji, Gary Summers and William Bullitt Wong
Sacramento Correspondent Derrick Lim
Detroit Correspondent Christopher Merlo
Europe Correspondents Bill Wright and John-Fredrik Wright
Road Warriors Mark Dapoz, Susie Ling and Richard Uyekawa
Webmasters Emeritus Larry Flaharty & Kevin Nakano. Special thanks to Larry, who designed the current site, and Kevin, who designed the original site back in 1997.
LA CAR’s editorial office:
618 West Palm Avenue
Monrovia, CA 91016
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LA CAR began in 1997 as an online magazine about the LA car culture, and has evolved into an automotive review service. While it remains deeply rooted in this motor city, LA Car’s reports, reviews, and essays appear in the Huffington Post affiliate, Patch, Yahoo News, and other media sources that reach an audience far beyond Los Angeles.
Our body of work includes automotive product reviews, directories, consumer tips, information on car laws, and articles on car design, car performance, automotive history, the new hot rod culture, and other items of interest to the car enthusiast. As a commercial entity, we’ve managed to integrate our advertising sponsors in a manner that doesn’t overbear on our publication or partners (e.g., no pop-ups). In addition to the work published on its site, LA Car can supply a steady stream of writings to its partners. It also maintains a comprehensive digital photo library. For more information, contact the LA Car Managing Editor.
The views expressed in this publication reflect the opinions of the author(s), and not necessarily those of the entire publication staff or the agencies they work for. LA CAR makes no express or implied warranty on the performance of any products or modifications described in this publication. Some of the journalists recording this journal and making the journey through the Southland culture are:
REED BERRY is known professionally as The Traffic Guy. Since 1988, Reed has taught humor-based traffic violator school classes throughout Southern California and has served as keynote speaker at safety conferences across America. A recognized traffic safety expert, Reed’s growing list of TV interview credits includes Fox News Channel, NHK News in Japan, Eye-to-Eye with Connie Chung, and BBC-TV in London. Reed was the co-creator and co-host of Traffic Jam (KRLA 1110 AM, Los Angeles).*
CHUCK DAPOZ is a native Detroiter who loves import tuners. LA is home, but he spends a lot of time in Motown as a sales and marketing consultant. Because he can’t wait to see the latest and greatest, you can count on him attending the Tokyo and Detroit auto shows. Chuck says he’s the black sheep of his car-crazy family because he works with a keyboard and not a wrench; we’re not complaining.*
JOHN GRAFMAN spent far too much of his youth thriving on the canyons that connect the valley to Malibu. This antisocial behavior has evidentially scarred him for life. Nevertheless, using his powers for good rather than evil, John has spent the past dozen or so years working on models for numerous automotive design studios on the west coast. You’ve seen his work on the exterior and interiors of some of your favorite concept and production cars. You can now see his imprint throughout LA CAR.*
TOMMY GRAFMAN spent most of his childhood following his older brother John Grafman, but chose different directions when it came to cars. His first car was a 1977 Camaro. Following the path down the dark side, he then bought a 1969 Chevy Chevelle. With a little help from his friends, he rebuilt the car, turning the Chevelle into a street rod. His path down the dark side was now complete. For more than a decade, Tommy has been the Production Director for multiple publications. He is the co-owner of MacMyDay (An Apple, Macintosh, service, sales, consulting, and training company).
BOBBY HOLLAND has a long, award-winning history in the world of imagery, from entertainment to major advertising campaigns. He’s been involved in the automotive industry for over 25 years. Bobby has produced and directed numerous advertising campaigns—both print and broadcast—for automotive manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, Nissan, and Chrysler. Beyond his production assignments, Right Track Motoring, and new media projects, Bobby is an automotive enthusiast.*
BRIAN KENNEDY, Ph.D., always wanted a ’66 Mustang. 10 years ago, he bought one – and he’s been restoring it ever since. Brian extended his passion for cars by covering events for magazines like Grassroots Motorsports, Sportscar, and Victory Lane – e.g., events in Cart, Pro Rally, Formula Atlantic, the SCCA Runoffs, Trans Am, SVRA, VSCDA, and VARA. He’s also profiled a number of cars and interviewed a number of personalities – among them: Gene Felton (IMSA), Hurley Haywood, Jerry Seinfeld, and Nigel Olsson.*
CHRISTOPHER MERLO, a.k.a Mr. Detroit, learned to drive on the streets of the Motor City. Friday and Saturday nights of his youth were spent cruising Detroit’s Telegraph Road and Woodward Avenue while listening to rock and roll resulting in serious addictions to road machines, pop music and road food. For Chris, it’s all about car culture. These days Chris satisfies his various appetites by advising automotive clients and writing their corporate communications.
GREG NAKANO is LA CAR‘s window into the world of import tuners. For four years, Greg served as the crew chief for world record-holding import drag racer Stephan Papadakis. When he’s not on assignment for LA CAR, Greg can be found working in Special Projects for AEM’s (Advanced Engine Management’s) headquarters in Hawthorne, CA.
HAROLD OSMER works as a writer as well as a publisher in whatever spare time he can find. He’s authored award-winning books about auto racing in Los Angeles, has a Masters degree in geography, and holds a black belt in karate. He’s a regular at local car shows and race venues where he’s often seen setting up a table and selling books. His show ride is a 1951 Chevy pickup, dressed to emulate a Spec truck, complete with graphics, numbers, and sponsor decals.*
HARVEY SCHWARTZ has been taking photographs of cars and trucks since 1992 and has a long-time association with LA CAR. Harvey’s work can also be found in Malibu Magazine, Ventana Monthly, Mustang Enthusiast, Muscle Car Power, Corvette Enthusiast, Auto-Traders Milestones, Restyling, and other publicaitons. On the international stands you can find Harvey in Chrome & Flames Magazine of Germany, and AMCAR Magazine of Norway. Harvey’s photo credits are on many online publications. Agencies in New York and England license Harvey’s images of vehicles for book publication, advertising, posters, and calendars.*
ZORAN SEGINA, ESQ., grew up in Eastern Europe, where he owned several Zastava 750s (a variation of the Fiat 600) and participated in local rallies. After a lengthy diet of Yugoslav-manufactured cars, he came to the Mecca of automotive culture – wherein he promptly lost his heart to a tall girl and a short Dart Swinger. He currently commutes around LA in a BMW 633Csi, having made a switch from a Volvo 240 DL with a quarter million miles on the odometer.*
ROBERT M. SHOJI oversees the design and execution of automotive sound systems for one of the largest OEM suppliers in the world. In plain talk, that means he drives new (and sometimes not yet released) cars up and down the California coast, listens to car stereo, and gets paid for it.
DOUG STOKES has a long history in the motorsports and motoring business. He served five years as the Executive Director of the International Kart Federation, and was the PR guy for the Mickey Thompson Off-Road Gran Prix. He did racing PR for both Honda and Suzuki and was a senior PR person on the first Los Angeles (Vintage) Grand Prix. He was also the first PR Manager for Perris Auto Speedway. Stokes helped to open Toyota Speedway (then called Irwindale) in 1999, and is back working with the Speedway now as his PR client through his stokescommunications company. “I’ve also been reviewing automobiles for over 20 years, and really enjoy my LA Car assignments.” *
WILLIAM BULLITT WONG, ESQ., was a high-paying attorney for a high-powered trademark firm, but he gave it all up to pursue his dream of becoming an environmental lawyer. Bill is now Senior Deputy District Counsel for the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which gives him a unique vantage point on cars and the environment – i.e., from the exhaust pipe of a car.
BILL WRIGHT spent his early years hot rodding in a Six-Pack Mopar, but later took to living in just about every country on this planet at one time or another, including Sweden, where he gained first-hand familiarity with the elk avoidance test. He’s come a long ways since his rambunctious days as the managing editor of the Berkeley High School newspaper. Bill proudly serves as the P-A-L of LA CAR.*
JOHN-FREDRIK WRIGHT was born in Sweden, but raised on both sides of the Atlantic. His experience in the automotive industry starts with a summer vacation working as a host at Volkswagen’s premier showroom in Stockholm, Sweden. Later, he worked as an instructor at Swedish Active Driving, teaching safe driving (among others; the renowned elk-avoidance maneuver) and advanced driving techniques. Since the age of fifteen, John-Fredrik claims to be able to count the times spent in a car as a passenger and not the driver on a few hands and feet.*
* Motor Press Guild member