The Los Angeles Summer Concours on June 4 was something between a highbrow car gathering for monied motoring enthusiasts and an exotic car dealer’s tent sale (albeit with very nice tents). Whichever it was, there were some really cool cars, ranging from contemporary exotics to a small number of truly splendid classics. (There was one Kia K900 but more on that later.)
“It’s not a Cars ‘N’ Coffee,” said co-organizer Keith Previte. “It’s the opposite, luxury and performance in an intimate setting.”
The intimate setting was Gilbert Lindsay Plaza, a concrete and grass space between Staples Center, the LA Convention Center and Figueroa Street that is usually where they park shuttle buses during conventions. But the organizers fenced it off in black mesh, set up some tents, added some of those lounge chairs you see in the clubs up on Sunset and poured in about 70 really cool cars.
Most of the cars were more modern exotics: There was a Porsche 918, a La Ferrari, every kind of contemporary Lamborghini, two Alfa 4Cs, a Lotus Evora in racing trim, a 348 Speciale and a modicum of mighty McLarens.
But it seemed like there were just as many great old classic sports cars, including several you hardly ever, if ever, see in the wild. There was a Toyota 2000GT in white, an original blue metallic Mercedes 300SL roadster, one Ferrari F40, one F50, a BMW3.0 CSL and a nice Porsche 356 Speedster. Auctions America brought two cars it will sell in Santa Monica June 25-26: a 512 bb and a Plexi-Nose 1970 Ferrari Daytona. Fast Cars Ltd., a Redondo Beach sales, service and restoration company specializing in Ferraris, brought some exquisite examples of their work: a red 250 Sport that Alberto Ascari drove in La Carrera Panamericana and Le Mans; a beautiful blue 365 Berlinetta; a blue 250 California Spyder; a silver 1965 275 GTS and a red-over-black 1955 Alfa CSS. Collector Tony Shooshani and the delightful Danielle Alura brought eight cars, our favorites of which were a 1942 Alfa 6C and a 1921 Alfa G1, the oldest Alfa, that Shooshani himself drove in the Mille Miglia Storica.
“At one point the engine was used as an engine for a windmill in Australia,” Shooshani said. He’d done a lot of research on both the cars.
The G1 originally came with a limousine body on it but Shooshani found a reference wherein Enzo Ferrari himself said it shouldn’t have a limo body.
“So I restored it back to what Enzo would have done originally,” Shooshani said.
Everything else on it is correct. When he drove it in the historic re-creation of the Mille Miglia, he noted that it had “no front brakes.” Nonetheless he finished all 1,000 miles, farther up the grid than where he’d started. After that the car was in the Museo Enzo Ferrari in Modena for two years. He just got it back from that tenure and brought it to the LA Summer Concours.
“I love sharing my cars with the public,” he said. “I love driving them, too. We drive that car (the G1) all around Long Beach.”
Ancient Alfas at LA Concours
Many of the new cars at the show were not from private owners but dealers and dealer groups, which explains the Kia K900 from Kia of Downtown Los Angeles and the Infiniti Q50 from Glendale Infiniti. Small price to pay for all those Ferraris. Some complained that there was nothing here that you couldn’t see on the streets of Beverly Hills on any given weekend. Others said the food didn’t show up until around noon. Many who might have come stayed away because of the price, which was in line with the upper-crustiest of the Pebble Beach weekend events at $250 a head. They all had good points. The event was also held on the same day as the Friends of Steve McQueen Car Show out in Chino Hills. But this was the first year; the organizers had to switch to this location with only about three weeks to go; and come on, man, what do you want? Organizers Previte and Bryan Cole only got the idea for the event a year and a half ago. It’ll get better. And LA deserves something like this, doesn’t it? Sort of a Monterey South?
“Los Angeles didn’t have a signature automotive event,” said Previte. “This is the sort of event we need.”
The pair plans to meet with Chad McQueen and others to work out a schedule of events that would create a car week similar to the one we all go to every August up in Monterey. We wish them luck and look forward to next year.