LA Auto Show’s Best and Brightest Moments
By Thomas Bey
Los Angeles’ car culture is so complex, it’s beyond comprehension for visitors. On a recent visit, a friend living there met me at my hotel’s bar for a quick drink before we went out. I caught him calling for a ride.
“The club’s, like, four blocks away,” I said.
He nodded. “The club’s, like, four blocks away,” he echoed, only in protest.
His car dependency made mine look like recreational experimentation. But a vice can be nice, and LA’s auto show is proof. It was the first car show on the west coast when it debuted over 100 years ago, and it’s evolved into one of the best anywhere. The cars were amazing, naturally, but diversions at the 2010 LA Auto Show were highlights in their own right.
10. What’s LA without celebs?
Former LA Laker A.C. Green and LPGA great Michelle Wie represented the tall athlete sector with their respective appearances. And we’re still bemused about the fact that Lotus chose an unlikely combo of celebrities to unveil their new models, including the Baldwin Brothers, Kiss‘ Paul Stanley, Demi Moore and Sharon Stone. (pictured here, sans celebrities)
9. Kids Fun Zone
If you have kids, then you know. When they’re along for anything you find remotely interesting, you’re guaranteed a critical meltdown within minutes of arrival. Nissan came to countless parents‘ emotional rescues with their Kids Fun Zone. -phew-
8. Test drives
Ford, GM, Kia, Land Rover and Toyota hosted test-drives where attendees experienced the vehicles in a variety of courses, not to mention the rare opportunity to drive in LA without eight-lane, hour-long standstills.
7. Design Challenge
Southern California is a hotbed of automotive design studios, and this year’s Design Challenge included entries from Germany and Japan. If the contenders are any indication, we’ll soon be driving cars inspired by the movie Tron.
6. EV + LA = BFF
Green cars made a large but carbon-considerate footprint again this year, as LA has become one of the popular showcases for clean diesels, electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids. Fisker’s Karma and Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV were among the anticipated debuts.
5. Fix(ate) it Again, Tony
Say what you will about Fiat’s stake in Chrysler, at least it means the Fiat 500 finally comes to the States. What’s the big deal? Remember the initial buzz over the MINI Cooper, and why it was justified? (pictured, right)
4. DUB’s in the house
Or at least in Kentia Hall, anyway. If you ever wondered what becomes of huge signing bonuses, the DUB Magazine Celebrity Car Showcase offered some answers with athletes’ and musicians’ tricked-out rides on display.
3. Go from “pedal power” to putting the “pedal to the metal”
You just can’t see all the LA Auto Show cars and complacently drive home with what you have. That’s exactly why tuners and aftermarket vendors were on hand with the goods to make life a little less ordinary.
2. Why fly when you can Volt?
What’s cooler than the Chevy Volt scoring Green Car of the Year honors at the show? The fact one was road-tripped from Detroit to LA by a GM exec and an engineer. It wasn’t for the PR, but because they had that much faith in their product.
1. Wow factor
Have you seen the C-X75 concept car from Jaguar, below? Nuff said.
(Thomas Bey is a freelance automotive journalist whose features have also appeared on AskMen.com and AOL Autos.)