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BACK SEAT DRIVING - AUGUST 2006

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Jul 31, 2006

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Alan Poster and his recovered and restored Corvette ROY NAKANO BACK SEAT DRIVING CORVETTE STOLEN IN 1969 & RECENTLY RECOVERED, NOW FULLY RESTORED August 28, 2006 In January of 2006, Alan Poster was stunned when authorities notified him that his stolen Corvette had been recovered...37 years after it disappeared from a parking garage in New York City. A few days ago, Poster unveiled his fully restored 1968 Corvette during Corvettes at Carlisle, one of the nation's premiere Corvette shows. With $15,000 in donated parts from CorvetteAmerica.com and work done by restoration shop California Classics, the car, now dubbed "Reunion Blues" by Poster, is being rolled out in its newly restored glory. Poster is planning to use his now famous car to promote worthy causes. As a 26-year-old in the late 1960s, Poster indulged himself by buying a brand new blue Corvette for $6,000. Three months later, in January 1969, it was stolen from a parking garage in Manhattan, and since he was unable to afford theft insurance - Poster lost the car and his $6,000. He never imagined he would see his car again. In January of 2006, authorities notified Poster that the car had turned up in Long Beach, California. Apparently, an American collector was selling the car to a buyer in Sweden when a routine Customs check flagged the vehicle as stolen. The collector isn't suspected of any wrongdoing, and nobody knows where the car had been or how many hands it had passed through. With the help of the California Highway Patrol, the Customs Service and the New York Police Department, the car has been returned to Poster. "This is definitely a miracle" said Poster. "Because in speaking to the police, the odds of them finding me were a million to one." The car Poster paid $6000 for in 1968, is now worth anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000 today, according to a Florida classic Corvette dealer. Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Editor

ROY NAKANO: BSD HOT IMPORT NIGHTS IN THE HOUSE August 25, 2006 The world of import tuners shows no signs of letting up. If you doubt this, just check out John Grafman's coverage of the show in these pages. To those fortunate enough to live in the big cities that have their own HIN show, the event has to be seen to be believed. It appears that the organizers of Hot Import Nights decided that everyone should have an opportunity to get into the act, no matter where you live. Accordingly, you can now partake in Hot Import Nights from the comfort of your home. More specifically, you can enter your car, enter yourself (as a model), or just vote on either from your computer keyboard (Car Battles/Who's On Top). Yes, there are cash prizes, boys and girls! To view LA Car's coverage of Hot Import Nights in Los Angeles: Bring On The Night To view LA Car's coverage of the models of Hot Import Nights: Shaping The Show Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Editor

ROY NAKANO: BSD PHOTOS WITHOUT CAPTIONS August 23, 2006 A picture is worth a thousand words, supposedly. There was plenty to take at Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise 2006, but Mark Dapoz decided to concentrate on the most offbeat entries. Here's a few, sans words.

For lots more of Mark Dapoz's photos from the Dream Cruise, click here. Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Editor.

ROY NAKANO: BSD OWNER OF FERRARI ENZO THAT CRASHED IN MALIBU GETS 2 SEPARATE TRIALS August 20, 2006

enzo

In case you're wondering what ever happened to the owner of the Ferrari Enzo that crashed in Malibu, here's the latest: Stefan Eriksson, the Swedish business man charged with crashing the car will receive two separate trials. Eriksson's defense presented various motions at a court hearing last Friday, August 18th, where a motion to suppress was granted. The defense team requested that the gun charge against their client be tried separately from the other charges that their client is facing, because it is an allegation not connected to the DUI or theft cases against Mr. Eriksson. After the hearings, the judge set a status conference for September 13th, where the parties will announce their preparedness for trial and a trial date will be set. Eriksson's defense team consists of high-profile attorneys Jim Parkman, William White and Martin Adams, of the Birmingham, Alabama office of The Cochran Firm; the law firm founded by the late Johnnie Cochran, and California Criminal Law Specialist Alec Rose. Jim Parkman, whose past client former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy was accused of directing a massive $2.7 billion earnings overstatement, and was later acquitted of over three-dozen fraud and money-laundering charges in 2005. Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Editor.

PHOTOS WITHOUT CAPTIONS August 20, 2006 A picture is worth a thousand words, supposedly. There was plenty to take at Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise 2006, but Mark Dapoz decided to concentrate on the most offbeat entries. Here they are, without words.

Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Editor.

ROY NAKANO: BSD LOS ANGELES COMES ALIVE August 19, 2006 12 World Debuts and Counting for LA Auto Show We knew this would happen. The organizers of the Los Angeles Auto Show finally got around to moving the show dates from under the shadow of the Detroit Auto Show - and flowers are starting to bloom. The show is growing right before our eyes, and it's not even happening until November-December. The 2007 model year show scheduled toward the end of 2006 carries the theme, "A New Beginning." The theme appears to have traction, as Acura, Aston Martin, BMW and DaimlerChrysler are the latest companies to confirm world debuts for this year's show. This brings the total number of automakers planning world introductions to 12, with some having multiple vehicle unveilings. The four new additions join Audi, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan and Volkswagen as companies with production and concept world debuts for Los Angeles. "The show is taking a significant jump in stature throughout the automotive industry" says Andy Fuzesi, general manager of the LA Auto Show. The press days highlights reflect the new stature:

  • A record 24 manufacturer press conferences over two days, with 18 World debuts and more than a dozen North American debuts
  • GM Chairman Rick Wagoner opens press days as MPG Keynote speaker
  • Off-site evening manufacturer media events
  • Yokohama Media Center doubles in size and offers new services

For the first time in the show's history, Los Angeles has received international sanctioning from the Paris-based Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles (OICA). The international automotive trade association has placed this year's LA Auto Show by placing it on the international show calendar. Press days are Nov. 29 and 30, 2006. The show will be open to the public Dec. 1-10, 2006. Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Editor.

ROY NAKANO: BSD YOU READ IT HERE FIRST August 15, 2006 We're not trying to compete with TV's Psych, but we're happy to report that LA Car's prediction back in April (see Back Seat Driving, April 2006) that Ford will produce a non-H version of its Shelby GT-H (that you can buy) has come true. This past week, Ford confirmed production of the Shelby GT as one of nine new product introductions coming in the next six months for Ford and Lincoln Mercury. The for sale Shelby GT (as opposed to the for rent only GT-H) will feature a 4.6-liter V-8 producing 325-horsepower. Production will be limited in volume like all Shelby Mustang models. For the whole story, see Snakes Alive!. Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Editor.

ROY NAKANO: BSD FUTURE OF HYBRID ACCESS IN CALIFORNIA CARP0OL LANES UNCERTAIN August 8, 2006 One year ago, California introduced the program allowing certain hybrid vehicles into the carpool lane without a carpool. The law calls for a maximum of 75,000 decals to be issued. It appears that state officials are perhaps weeks, maybe days, away from reaching that ceiling. "The state has so far received 74,108 applications for an allotment of 75,000 decals permitting hybrid owners to drive solo in HOV lanes," reports David Pierson of the Los Angeles Times. The solo carpool access for hybrids ends in January of 2008. Lawmakers anticipated a reevaluation of the program as the allotment of 75,000 decals reached its capacity. It is possible that the Legislature will increase the number of permits that are allowed. That possibility, however, appears less and less uncertain. The law was introduced as a means to encourage Californians to purchase high gas mileage hybrid vehicles. However, with the price of gas at an all time high, consumers need even less additional incentive today to purchase hybrids. The waiting lists for the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid remain high, despite manufacturer adjustments to increase production. Public sentiment for the hybrid access law has not been uniformly positive. The Los Angeles Times, for one, came out against the law. Even the television series South Park got into the act, with its brilliant portrayal of the hybrid backlash. Moreover, although there appears to be little evidence that the hybrids have clogged up the carpool lanes, state officials reviewing the matter are not likely to want to wait for that to happen. Unlike hybrid vehicles, California will likely extend the law allowing compressed natural gas vehicles to have solo access in the carpool lanes. That's because those are considered zero emissions vehicles - vehicles that have long been allowed solo access in high occupancy lanes by the Federal government. It will be interesting to see how many hybrid owners switch to CNG-powered vehicles like the Honda Civic GX once the hybrid law expires. Once you've experienced carpool access, it's hard to go back. Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Editor.

ROY NAKANO: BSD "VW RABBIT, IT'S BACK" (ON PLAYBOY MAGAZINE) August 3, 2006

rabbit

Those who lament Volkswagen's decision to drop Arnold Worldwide and its clever ads will be pleased to know that MDC Partners' Crispin Porter + Bogusky is up to the task. As a part of its "Rabbit is back" campaign for Volkswagen, the public relations and marketing company said it has arranged for the three Playboy bunnies on the magazine's September front cover to appear in a reverse angle shot on the back cover ad sporting the Rabbit icon. Gregory Solman of Adweek reports that polybagged versions of the magazine ship this week. "Clad only in their panties, one of the models, Holly Madison, has the red VW Rabbit icon, which has been used in guerrilla outdoor postings in the campaign, as an apparent tattoo on her bare lower back," reports Solman. "The copy, including the Playboy logo, is in reverse type, suggesting transparency to the front cover, and reads, 'The Volkswagen Rabbit. It's Back.'" "The original idea was to replace the actual the hidden Bunny icon on the cover," said Rob Strasberg, vice president and creative director at the Miami agency, to Solman. "But Playboy said no one messes with that rabbit. So we went back and threw this other option at them." Says Strasberg, the Rabbit is "one of the most youthful cars, and we definitely wanted to keep the male promiscuity of the rabbit in there, so the rabbit made sense and the target matches Playboy." Strasberg informed Adweek that the original idea for the Playboy cover came from Jeff Steinhour, a partner and head of account services at the agency. "The big thought was getting VW to bring the Rabbit back, because we love it. It's playful and fun. It wasn't a leap to go from rabbits to fornication and multiplying. But when you can play with another brand's icon, it raises both brands," he said. Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Editor.

BT JUSTICE: BSD TRANSIT AGENCY TIED TO FERRARI ENZO CRASH CLOSES August 1, 2006

enzo

Officials Still Perplexed How San Gabriel Valley Bus Firm Created Its Own Police Force The San Gabriel Valley Transit Authority has closed its doors for good. That's according to Richard Winton of the Los Angeles Times. "The tiny bus firm with its own police force that became part of the criminal probe into the crash of a rare Ferrari in Malibu - appears to have made its last stop," says Winton. The Times reports that the founder of the agency was arrested in June by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies after going to two separate San Gabriel Valley sheriff's stations and allegedly "pretending to be a police officer," in hopes of recovering vehicles impounded as part of the probe, authorities said. Sheriff's officials now say the agency is no longer operating, but it remains at the center of a criminal investigation that began in February after Swedish businessman Bo Stefan Eriksson allegedly crashed his Ferrari Enzo on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. A judge recently ordered that the rest of the Bel-Air man's exotic car collection - two Enzos and a Mercedes - be sent back to British banks that have claimed ownership of them. In the meantime, attorneys for Eriksson have filed motions to have some of the charges dropped, and hearings are scheudled later this month. Your Back Seat Driving comments can be sent to: Letter to the Editor.

A JOURNAL OF LOS ANGELES & ITS CAR CULTURE

EVO MR

That was LA Car's subtitle when it started back in 1997. Since then, La Car became LA Car. Its subtitle became Reporting From Car Culture Ground Zero, then From The Heart of Car Culture, to today's The Cars and Culture of Southern California. At all times, however, we aimed to chronicle the Southland's spirit - much like one's own journal or diary. Now, the diary section goes daily. LA Car has always been a great source to come back to from month-to-month, to see what articles and reviews have been added to our rather staggering database. With Back Seat Driving, a.k.a. BSD (note the similarity to two well-worn abbreviations, BS and BFD) and Live Wires - Hot & Tender News From the Car Culture (co-located with Back Seat Driving, and updated at least daily), we give you a reason to come back more often (all opinions, by the way, are those of the respective author). So, go ahead and bookmark www.lacar.com. We'll be sure to always provide a link to Live Wires and the latest Back Seat Driving blog entry. In the meantime, welcome to the journal and journey into the cars and culture of Southern California. - Roy Nakano

For past Blog entries, click the following: July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 April 2004

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