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This is "Cars and Coffee" turbo-charged on steroids and sucking dow nitrous (sans parking lot) and featuring espresso at about $3.75 (and up) a shot.

By Doug Stokes

Tue, Nov 8, 2022 02:10 PM PST

Featured Image: Some of the most beautiful sites at the LA Auto Show can be seen in Kentia Hall - located below the South Hall of the LA Convention Center.

All images courtesy of the LA Auto Show and theIDagency.

Ah ... early November, fall is in the air, and the leaves on the palm trees are turning and … wait a minute … this is Los Angeles, palm trees don’t have leaves and the real big deal for this almost overwhelmingly car-centric town is decidely not the barely-noticeable change in the weather that’s in the air that the calender (and the ads for Winter Coats in the newspaper) seems to hint at. Nope, the real deal is the hundreth and fifteenth anniversary LA Auto Show set for November 18-27th at the LA Convention Center.

I should really have capitalized the word THE above, because, as you’ll hear from other voices on this aptly-named information hub, this is the biggest thing that happens all year in LA in the time-honored tradition of looking and lurking around five or six hundred new automobiles for hours upon hours, filling goody bags with all manner of slick printed propaganda about new cars, trucks, e-anything with more than one wheel, and not being able to miss (even if you were trying to) hearing about a lofty exercise in car biz newspeak called "Automobility".

...This is "Cars and Coffee" turbo-charged on steroids and sucking dow nitrous (sans parking lot) and featuring espresso at about $3.75 (and up) a shot.

As noted above there’ll be new cars, trucks, with well-spoken, handsome men (with no neckties, white Sketchers, and a 5 o’clock shadow at 11 in the morning), and even more fetching and equally glib young women, all up on stage, handmikes ablaze, each and every one extolling the virtues of new models with old names and new models from faroff lands with strange names ("Vinfast" comes to mind … right, look it up) for twelve or thirteen hours a day (except for Thanksgiving Day when the show is mercifully open from 9 to 4).

And that’s all "upstairs" at the big, bad (that’s good) LA Auto Show that’s been running since 1907 (with only a few, very understandable time outs).

the very green interior of an Impala
Be sure to slip into the fun zone, the bazaar, the Casbah, also known as “The Garage” in Kentia Hall.

And then we have the midway, the fun zone, the bazaar, the Casbah, the utter brazenness of the 160,000 square feet of Kentia Hall* (or "downstairs") where (and let’s let the PR peeps tell their modest way here):

"California Car Culture Takes Center Stage With 'The Garage': The Ultimate Destination for Trend-Setting Lifestyle Attractions at Los Angeles Auto Show."

Whew! Lots of caps in there which means that all bets are off and Cali Car Culture will rule the joint.

This is where the LA  Auto Show would loosen it’s already loosely-fitting necktie (if it were wearing one) and hang out with the aftermarket crowd and all the denizens that inhabit that astral plane. This humbly-named ("The Garage") side feature to the (mostly) staid new car part of the show is where true believer car fan(atics) will go to pick up on trends that started earlier in the day, check out special equipment (including massage chairs, e-bikes, scooters, and tattoos) hang with the high performance crowd, and meditate.

We’ll go back to the official release on the subject here for a minute:

"Presented in a fun, lively atmosphere, The Garage will also feature live music, DJs, dancers, retail shopping and additional promotions exclusively offered at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Kids will be treated to a playground with luxury ride on cars, collectibles, master puppeteers and hard-to-find toys."

And so I ask you, what more can you possibly need or want in a car show? Of course they had me at: "hard-to-find toys". And there’s a promise in there somewhere of motorboats being on display too.

But wait … we already mentioned body art and full-immersion "body massage" chairs that go for $10,000 - but that’s not all. How about stands/exhibits samples of vegan leather and bamboo accessories, along with "representatives" from Cutco  Knives, Leaf Filter, T-Mobil, and (perfect after a long morning trudging around actual automotive-themed exhibits) beds from our friends at Mattress Firm.

image of a Corvette in Kentia hall
Can she haul? Yes she can in Kentia Hall.

As tradition would have it, the LA Valley mega-dealer Galpin Motors will lord it over thousands of square feet of "Galpinized" rolling stock there with a show of machines that predictably as sublime as they are ridiculous … but ALWAYS entertaining.

The best part is that all the above swirling fun and frivolity "downstairs" in the rockin’ room known as Kentia Hall is included in the admission price to the big (staid, corporate) car show on the main floor.

Obviously anyone considering a visit to all/any of the above really should get a good night’s sleep prior, perhaps do a little carbo-loading early on the day of, wear "sensible" shoes, and dress in layers. As always, (zoo, park, concert, court appearance, DMV, Costco) pacing and hydration are the key to a happy, healthy, sustained visit.

image of rows of toys displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show
McDonalds just started offering Happy Meal toys for adults, but The Garage in Kentia Hall has been offering toys for young and old all along.

About The Author

Doug Stokes's profile picture

Doug Stokes

Doug has a long and wide-ranging history in the motoring business. He served five years as the Executive Director of the International Kart Federation, and was the PR guy for the Mickey Thompson's Off-Road Championship Gran Prix. He worked 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, and spent over 20 years as the VP of Communications at Irwindale Speedway. Stokes is the recipient of the American Autowriters and Broadcaster’s 2005 Chapman Award for Excellence in Public Relations and was honored in 2015 by the Motor Press Guild with their Dean Batchelor Lifetime Achievement Award. “… I’ve also been reviewing automobiles and books for over 20 years, and really enjoy my LA Car assignments.” he added.

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