LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The L.A. Classic Auto Show returned to the Los Angeles Convention Center for its second annual event, and although this year’s attendees faced a rainy weekend, there was no doubt that the show’s bright spot was provided by the Orange County Mustang Club. That’s because one of the show’s two floors in the South Hall was dominated by a single nameplate – the Ford Mustangs that belonged to members of the club.
This second annual L.A. Classic Auto Show, held over the March 2-4, 2018, weekend, proved a worthy successor to last year’s inaugural event. The show is the brainchild of Michelle and Mike Brewer from the “Wheeler Dealers” cable TV show that is aired on the Velocity Channel, which also happens to be the major sponsor of the event.
The Urban Expositions Company, based out of Connecticut, was the primary organizer of the show. Their team, led by Michael Carlucci, won praise from participants for doing an outstanding job handling the crush of classic cars arriving on load-in day and was credited for making the process run like clockwork.
With just over 1,000 classic cars on display at this year’s show, Ford Motor Company products were well-represented -- more than any other automobile manufacturer, in fact. Not only was California’s Orange County Mustang Club (OCMC) present and well accounted for, but there were also several other Ford / Lincoln clubs in attendance. They included the Mustang Owners Club of California (MOCC); the San Gabriel Valley Mustang Club (SGVM); Originals Mustang Club; Early Ford V-8 Club of America; Lincoln & Continental Owners Club; Long Beach Model T Club; San Fernando Valley Model A Club; as well as many individual-owner Ford and Lincoln automobiles not affiliated with a specific area club.
Overall, there were 41 different car clubs of various makes that had cars on display at the show, including several foreign car clubs representing such brands as Austin Healey, Alfa Romeo, Citroen and Jaguar.
The quality of the cars on display here ranged from some very nice daily drivers all the way up to high-end collectible show cars. The OCMC had 28 vehicles on display in the club’s main booth and an additional eight vehicles in the “All Girls Corral.” This was an area dedicated to women-owned cars anchored by the ladies of the “All Girls Garage” Velocity TV show. A few of the other TV celebrities such as Chip Foose and Dave Kindig had their cars on display at the show as well. (Chip Foose and Mike Brewer are both members of the OCMC.)
Within the club’s main display vehicles ranged from a 1964½ Mustang convertible to an Irwindale Speedway Pace Car. Several original-owner cars and one-owner cars were also in attendance. In the All Girls Corral some of the standouts included a 1964 Falcon convertible, a Boss 302, a 1970 Mach 1 and a ’32 Ford Cabriolet. The OCMC took home the “Best of Show Car Club – Domestic Clubs” award for the second year in a row. Judges felt that the OCMC’s overall display and how the club’s cars were arranged by year was the standout of the show.
Over the three-day show weekend, all of the TV celebrities from Velocity had time reserved on the stage to talk about their automotive experiences and then each took time to answer questions from the audience afterward. Mike Brewer served as emcee for the entire weekend. The show’s format of having the celebrities easily accessible to both show participants and attendees alike was a real draw. Every morning there would be a group of TV show celebrities walking the show floor, looking over the cars and collections that were on display. Not only did they meet and talk with people, but they also all had autograph-signing sessions each day, which drew large lines. They even took the time to take plenty of pictures with their fans.
On Sunday, the final day of the show, the entire celebrity group was brought on stage to hold a panel discussion with the audience. The final hours of the show were reserved for the awards presentation. Some 20 special trophies were awarded across several specific classes. The OCMC was honored to take home three of the trophies, including Best of Show Car Club, Best Hot Rod (’32 Ford Cabriolet) and the Best Woman’s Car in the Woman’s Corral (70 Mach 1).
OCMC STORY & PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY PAUL MONTESANO / TOM BAKER / LARRY RHINEHART