SoCal Car Love

The Southern California lifestyle is closely tied to the automobile, and aside from Detroit, there is no American city more identified with the automobile than Los Angeles. Mild weather and wide roads create a friendly environment for keeping beautiful machines.  And what better place for exotics to flourish than in this glamorous cultural center with year round sunshine. Rare and expensive automobiles have always received a ready welcome in the land of sun, surf and stars.

THE PORSCHE MYSTIQUE

Porsche 901 by the Coast

Photo by Jeff Zwart

Porsche may be a German car but it owes its popularity to California. The Golden State was made for sports cars—lots of sunshine, miles of open road and an endless variety of mountain passes. So it’s only fitting that California is the largest car market in the world and that a quarter of all Porsche sales come out of Southern California.

The 911 is the soul of the brand. As the brainchild of Ferdinand “Butzi “ Porsche, the 911 was initially developed as a larger, more powerful, replacement for the popular 365. The sports car has been in continuous reproduction since 1963 and after five decades, there is still no substitute. Thanks in part to its sloping silhouette and bug-eyed mug, the 911 has become of the most recognizable automotive designs for all time. In fact, we’d say the 911 is the practical sports car holy grail. You can quench your need for speed, and drop off the kids at school. You can do track days and road trips, getaways and groceries. It’s just as fitting for the weekend as it is for the 9-5 grind.

THE ROOTS OF A LEGEND: PORSCHE 901

Porsche 901 CMC Model Car

In 1963, Porsche debuted the pre-production Type 901. A year later, when production began, Peugeot protested that they had exclusive rights to all three-digit numbers with a zero in the middle, so Porsche renamed the 901 as the 911.  This CMC model of the 901 salutes the iconic original with perfect proportions and meticulous detailing.  For starters, this weighty metal model boasts a  lustrous finish, a finely constructed engine grill consisting of twelve horizontal and six vertically positioned stainless steel bars,  metal wipers housing rubber blades, a retractable antenna, and wheels which are  removable with the supplied socket driver. The open-and-close trunk and hood are a car-junkie’s delight. The hood opens to reveal a removable carpet cover and spare wheel and on the opposite end, the engine bay is crammed full of wires, cables, and tubing surrounding the replica 6 cylinder boxer engine. As with any CMC model, the interior is just as exquisite as the exterior. The dashboard  features a simulated wooden finish and is complete with legible instruments, a fold-away sunshade and mirror, and upholstered seats in real leather and plaid textile.  If you weren’t obsessed with the Porsche 901/911 before, this scaled-down replica might give you the appreciation you were lacking before.

GLAMOUR, SENSUALITY & SHEER EMOTION

1958 Ferrari 250 California Spider

Photo by Robin Adams

While the Southern California carscape is lush, rich and varied, it’s worth noting that it is home to the most Ferrari dealerships in the world. Californians explore their sunny sprawling cities, mountains, and coastline behind the wheel of their vehicle. Not only are automobiles vital in this symbiotic relationship, but Ferraris prosper in this space that look to cars as an opportunity for expression, an extension of the driver, and an opportunity to enhance the mood on the Pacific Coast Highway with the easy pleasures of sound, speed and fresh air.

If there is any car that gets the heart racing for any Ferrari fan, it is surely the Ferrari 250 California. It is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cars with performance pedigree ever made. The car first debuted at the Geneva Auto Show in 1960, and at the time it was considered a supercar, featuring competition-ready power with a top speed of 145 mph, as well as street-sensible design suitable for sunny California weather. The Ferrari 250 California provides the fantasy of the glamorous, alfresco experience with the performance and luxurious comfort that only the Italians can produce.

A LUCID SELECTION: FERRARI 250 CALIFORNIA SWB

Ferrari 250 California

The Ferrari 250 California is one of few cars that integrate a lifestyle of freedom with a superior engine and elegant styling, and this CMC model is nothing less than an exercise in restraint not to marvel at it again and again. Deceptively simple, the model is crafted from 1,634 single parts and all pieces are gracefully orchestrated like a Beethoven symphony. The flawless, glistening paint, rich chrome and and solid mass  feel anything but fragile. The model features a pebbled leather interior, a textured dashboard with readable gauges nested in metal bezels, and doors that swing easily open but securely shut. Inside the locking trunk, you’ll find a spare wheel fastened down with leather belting. The top is removable, and the wire spoked wheels are each hand mounted with a single nipple. And as if all the obvious details weren’t enough, the undercarriage is masterfully detailed and the suspension is installed on a triangular control arm made of metal. This a superior model, executed with precision and is a must have for any Ferrari lover.

Which is your top pick for cruising through Southern California: Porsche or Ferrari?

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