LOS ANGELES – Not everything at the Los Angeles Auto Show is all about brand-new cars. In a city that’s all about car culture, there’s room for everyone.
A huge exhibit on the lower level, called The Garage, has just about everything, from low-riders with hydraulic suspensions and metal-flake paint, to a 1930 Ford inspired by American custom-car builders, but created in a hot-rod shop in Japan in 2003.
A few all-original vehicles are on display, including a 1961 Dodge Polara that was used by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). It was purchased with a Police Pursuit Package, which added a 325 horsepower V8, heavy-duty suspension, larger brakes and wheels, and a calibrated speedometer. Not only is it one of two period-correct 1961 CHP cars remaining, but Dodge only offered the package on the smaller Dart that year. CHP bought enough cars that Dodge built 1,200 of the larger Polara models – “through unofficial channels,” the sign says – for the police.
Another oddball nearby is a 1971 DeTomaso Pantera, now owned by the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles but originally purchased by Elvis Presley. The car wouldn’t start and Presley pulled out a gun and shot it. There are still bullet holes in the floor and through the steering wheel.
MORE RELATED ARTICLES
The Auto Show brings out the full range of the automotive hobby. A 1974 Audi Fox on display has an aftermarket air suspension. There’s a 1991 Nissan Figaro; the model recently became old enough to be imported into the US, right-hand drive and all, and it’s becoming a hot collectible. Owner Beth Molina got it from her husband as an anniversary gift.
While the automakers are here specifically to show off new cars, Subaru also brought along a 1968 360, the minicar that first gained it entry into the United States. It was actually imported by Malcolm Bricklin, who later became infamous for building a failed sports car in New Brunswick, when he discovered that the 360 didn’t weigh enough to pass automobile crash standards.
That’s likely the reasoning behind a few other cars in the lobby. The Los Angeles Auto Show always attracts a few companies trying to get off the ground with a new electric car, and this year, there are three.
The Sondors Electric holds two people in its front seats and one in the back, offers three battery sizes up to a 321 km range, will be sold online and delivered directly to customers, and is expected to start at $10,000. The two-seater Ampere 1, built in California, will go 160 kilometres on a charge and “has the same type of suspension as that of $100,000 sports cars,” but for $9,900.
Both have three wheels, and that’s the ticket: they’re classified as motorcycles, so no car standards. On the Ampere 1, a windshield is an option. Both companies say they’re taking pre-orders, with delivery possibly starting in 2019.
A third newcomer, Bollinger, had its brick-like B1 electric SUV on display. Built in New York, it will have a range of up to 321 kilometres, along with full-time all-wheel drive and a ride height that lifts up 50 centimetres. The company says 12,000 people have pre-ordered one online, although the price hasn’t yet been revealed.LA got weird, man. 12/1/2017 11:00:00 AM 12/1/2017 11:00:00 AM