If asked to choose the major U.S. city with the most engrained automotive culture, which would you pick? When we asked our nearly 36,000 Facebook fans and nearly 34,000 Twitter followers, L.A. beat out NYC, San Francisco and Miami by a long shot. But why? Are our exotic auto fans across the globe just reflecting public perception of Hollywood as the heart of Los Angeles, or are they really in tune with the fact that L.A. was (and still is) the epicenter of global automotive culture? Either way, our love for California and the exciting grand opening of our L.A. hub just months ago have incited an interest in what has made L.A. such an automotive destination both for cars in general and for the exotic auto community.
As much as Angelenos may not want L.A. to be perceived solely as Hollywood, it is actually this community that is at the center of L.A.’s role in automotive culture. The Hollywood sign was first erected as advertisement for the new neighborhoods on the outskirts of L.A.; these neighborhoods, the suburbs, exploded in L.A. and caused massive demand for more and more cars in the region. In addition, it was Hollywood’s dominance in media and the film industry that gave it considerable sway in its portrayal of the automobile; people around the world would most often see cars on the streets of L.A. where nearly all movies were being produced at the time. And as you can imagine, some of the most beautiful imagery and perceptions of the automobile were made in L.A. Whether it be beautiful movie stars, palm tree lined streets or a growing wealthy demographic, the most flattering and glamorous complements to the automobile could be found in L.A.
All of these associations seemed to snowball into fruition as Hollywood depictions became reality, especially as it related to L.A. as a destination for luxury and exotic automobiles. In fact, Harley Earl, famed one-off designer turned GM superstar, called L.A. home when first designing his creations and making a business out of them. So, a key mixture of increasing population, increasing wealth and increased post-war “hot-rod” enthusiasm created the perfect environment for a luxury and exotic auto marketplace, both in L.A. and its surrounding areas like Orange County. You could see proof in this with the fact that some of our favorite exotic and luxury brands made L.A. only one of a few of their U.S. sales operations. But, even more intriguing evidence of this is in some modern interpretations of the luxury and exotic auto market in Los Angeles.
For example, Fletcher Jones Motorcars in Newport Beach has been the largest Mercedes dealership in the world for some time now and has outpaced all other Mercedes dealers in the U.S. in terms of sales by leaps and bounds. In developing the Lexus brand and the LS in the 1980’s, Toyota reps spent most of their time in Los Angeles and Orange County because it was the lifestyle and culture they wanted their fledgling luxury brand to be based off of. And to top it all off, the L.A. Auto Show this November is due to host over 20 world premieres and over 20 North American debuts.
So, after looking at L.A.’s multifaceted and influential automotive culture, the replies from our fans (local and international) that weighed heavily toward L.A. as THE automotive destination is not all that surprising. And for us, we’re not only excited to be in L.A. to share our cars with enthusiastic Angelenos, but also to take a piece of its culture with us to reaffirm ourselves as the Exotic Auto destination nationally and internationally.