The Classic Auto Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center

1941 Chrysler wagon with Chris Craft canoe

Described by its promoters as “everything automotive” the first Classic Auto Show fulfilled that promise with a bewildering variety of over six hundred vintage rides at L.A. Convention Center’s South Hall. The word eclectic seemed unavoidable while strolling past a mighty Duesenberg with a hood longer than the presidential campaign season, an ultra-rare coachbuilt Volkswagen, rows of fresh looking, restored Mustangs and Datsun 340Zs, and the original 1964 Meyers Manx dune buggy prototype.

Like rare cars? Would a restored 1940s Tatra do? Or, how about a 1921 Duesenberg, 1928 La Salle roadster, unrestored barn find 1951 Volkswagen, or a gorgeous 1941 Chrysler woodie complete with roof-mounted Chris-Craft canoe?

Unlike most shows that limit entries to a single category such as stock classics. custom rods, Japanese iron, or European specialties, The Classic Auto Show mixed them all up in a fascinating stew that was certain to entertain all the car hobby segments in one stop.

Well known collector and Petersen Automotive Museum board member Bruce Meyers  served as Grand Marshall, kicking off the show with remarks on Friday. Famed custom builder Chip Foose gave a presentation of his work on Friday afternoon. A question and answer session with stars of Velocity TV’s hottest car shows proved a popular feature. Representatives from prominent national car clubs appeared as well.

Vendors at The Classic Auto Show included the usual car care product manufacturers, along with a company specializing in manufacturing licensed bodies for first-generation Mustangs and Camaros. Available as complete bodies or parts, their use of modern, high-quality steel represents a definite quality improvement on 1960s originals.

The show was presented by Urban Expositions. Senior vice president Mike Carlucci explained, “We’ve done this show in the U.K. for thirty-five years. L.A. is the mecca for the culture of cars. We just knew this was screaming for an event.” As at any show, the cars were the stars, and the line up included stellar examples, including a 1929 Bentley 4 1⁄2 Litre Tourer by Vanden Plas, 1962 Shelby Cobra; 1921 Duesenberg ; 1925 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Picadelly Roadster; 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Town Car; 1928 La Salle 303 Roadster; 1929 Packard 645, and a wild, customized 1960 Cadillac dreamboat.

The show’s dates competed with the iconic Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona. Next year’s exhibition is set for March 2-4. Given their great start, following Classic Auto Shows should turn out to be a can’t-miss-it events.

Story and photos by Jim Cherry