For a country as big as America—and during my three-week stay in California alone I realized just how big America really is—I couldn’t think of many other cities where there’d be as many exotic cars driving around like there were in Los Angeles. I can’t imagine New York being too supercar friendly. I guess there’s Miami but I have a suspicion most of the supercars there will be bright colored Lamborghinis and Bentleys.
In L.A., the crazy cars were all very concentrated on one particular part of the city: Beverly Hills. That shouldn’t come as surprise to anyone. The fancy part of the city has the fanciest cars.
Rodeo Drive was the popular stomping ground for those wanting to show off their loud, bright, and obnoxious cars. That’s no way a complaint, I love how unashamedly open everyone was about showing off.
The common folk enjoyed it too, with people on tour buses snapping pics of whatever car was next to them while people on the pavement (sorry, sidewalk) would point and wave. It’s quite different from Tokyo where no one bats an eye at someone in a bright colored Italian automobiles.
I quickly learned L.A. is a city that craves and lives off attention. Once I adjusted and approached the city and the cars that were continuously doing laps around Rodeo, it all started to make sense.
To be fair this isn’t exclusive to Los Angeles. Some of the supercar drivers in London are as guilty but it certainly seems that most (let’s say a good 90 percent) of supercar owners in L.A. take their cars out to show off. Why not? If other cities had weather as consistently good, they’d be the same.
All this means the sort of cars you can see there are much bolder than what you’d find in Tokyo or London. Yes, in Japan we have Lambos with crazy bodykits and a plethora of LEDs on them but no one in Tokyo has felt the need to add decals to a white Porsche 918, yellow fins and grilles to an Aston Martin Vantage, or wrap a Bugatti Veyron with chrome gold to stand out from the rest of the crowd. It’s a different kind of flash.
L.A. was also the only place I’ve been to so far where the ridiculous Mercedes G550 4×4² looked average-sized. There were also quite a few of those driving around. I thought Tokyo loved G-Wagens, but L.A.’s obsession with them are on a whole other level.
One of the most random cars I saw randomly driving around Rodeo Drive was an eighth-generation Toyota Crown, imported and right-hand drive. It looked liked it had literally just got off the boat from Japan. It was actually the second Crown I saw in L.A., the first being Junction Produce Toyota Crown at Fusion Motor Company. It’s nice to see you guys appreciating these things.
That said, seeing a right-hand drive Toyota Crown on Rodeo Drive was just as random and awesome as seeing a McLaren P1 GTR casually parked up on a random road in Beverly Hills.
Speaking of random, I probably came at a good time for spotting around L.A. since it was on the days leading up to and immediately after Car Week. That meant interesting cars were scattered throughout the city. The 300SL parked on a road somewhere in Hollywood showed up at Pebble Beach as well.
At the roof of the car park at the Petersen Museum were a few cars going up for the RM Auctions. It was a shame I didn’t get a chance to get into the Petersen on this trip but it’s definitely on the list for next time. Still, seeing a Daytona Spider, Carrera RS, and GT3 RS 4.0 wasn’t so bad.
The pre-Car Week game was strong in The OC as well. Don’t worry, I’m not scarred by the OC from that “underground meet” as the cars we saw there prior to the meet more than made up for it. It was just good timing we went when Pagani had a party for some of their local owners at their new showroom in Newport.
More than a dozen Pagani Huayras, including three BCs, gathered at the modest showroom. But of course a Pagani party isn’t complete without a Zonda. Luckily there’s on local collector in the OC with three Zondas and he generously took his yellow Cinque Roadster out. We saw later that night at Javier’s for dinner.
The Pagani party attracted a few other supercars too, with a Liberty Walk McLaren 650S, McLaren P1, Ferrari 458 Speciale, and a Porsche 911 GT3 RS in a black and Lava Orange livery were out on the same day. The wide and smoother roads around The OC were a lot more supercar friendly than the mess that were L.A. roads.
As great as all those cars were, hands down the best car I saw on the streets of L.A was the 600 Royale. You may have seen photos and videos of this mysterious car before, you may have not. It’s been seen in Monaco and L.A. a couple times before.
It’s based on the current Mercedes-Benz S600, the interior is identical to the donor car. It’s the exterior styling that’s the main talking point of this car. There have been several rumors surrounding this car since it was first spotted outside.
Only very recently did Henrik Fisker, via an Instagram post (how very modern of him), admit to designing it. And what a design. It’s a Frankenstein of Mercedes design cues with headlights and taillights taken from the SLS AMG, a retro-grille inspired by 50s and 60s S-Class, and side grilles like the 300SL Gullwing.
Never have I seen a car attract as much attention from the valet as this. Valets from other establishments on the other side of the road even came over to have a look. They were looking the car up on Google and YouTube to find more about it. In a city where attention is everything, this is about as perfect as a car for L.A. gets.
As a city to car spot in, L.A. was a nightmare. The cars are all concentrated in one area but if you want to check anywhere else, it’s too spread out. The only logical way of getting around is to drive. I can’t imagine taking public transport to the OC or Malibu is exactly ideal, which then leads you to go into the dreadful traffic.
Yes, L.A. does at least have several monthly car meets such as the Sunset Plaza GT meet, and a couple in the OC and Malibu too. But there’s something about randomly seeing something like a P1 GTR parked on the side of the road or casually having pizza while a one-off Mercedes parks up that’s more exciting than seeing them at a car meet.
For spotting, in my experience, London was the best so far. For meets and general car culture, I still maintain Tokyo is unlike any other. But from what I’ve seen L.A. does pomp and ceremony unlike anywhere else.