For a better experience please change your browser to CHROME, FIREFOX, OPERA or Internet Explorer.

The Cool So Cal Car Scene

Regardless of the fact that the Big 3 all reside in Detroit, Michigan, the Mecca for the automobile is located in California. Whether you’re in denial about this isn’t Redline Review’s problem. We have hard evidence, in the form of this story and other articles on the site that will attest to the fact that the epicenter for cool and fast cars is California, and perhaps even more specifically, Southern California.

On the first Friday of March 2010, Redline Review set out with camera in hand and Kiwi buddy, who goes by the code initials of RC, riding shotgun. Our destination on this scintillating, pre-spring Golden State day was Family Classic Cars, in San Juan Capistrano. Every first Friday of the month, the vintage, collectible and high-performance pre-owned car dealership hosts a free VIP invitation only cocktail party that FCC calls First Friday. Hors d’oeurves, beer, wine and dessert are served, in addition to there being live music. What’s more, VIPs are surrounded by automotive finery from around the globe.

We ate, drank, did some serious bench racing with new and fast friends, shot photos and admired all the vehicles at Family Classic Cars. Of course, we also introduced the 100s of VIPs to Redline Review. We’re sure many new RR members are staunch supporters of the site as a result of our efforts.

RC and RR had so much fun at First Friday, we decided to get up super early the next morning so we could go to Cars & Coffee, which is located in Mazda North America’s headquarters in Irvine. This is a free show ‘n’ shine that you have to get there by 6:30 or 7 am to see all the vehicles before they leave. Despite a 40-minute drive from Oceanside, we managed to arrive early enough to see a good 70 or so percent of the automobiles at the event.

Rather than waste time by eating breakfast before we made haste to C&C, we left Irvine with sufficient time to dine at The Harbor House a bit south in Dana Point. RC had eggs, hash browns, English muffin and a ham steak, while yours truly polished off a prodigious plate of French toast, scrambled eggs and bacon. My Kiwi mate eyed the French toast, but next time he should order the right breakfast.

From Dana Point in south Orange County, we flew on land in a 2005 Saab 9-3 convertible to the Miracle Mile section of Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles to visit one of the greatest automotive museum’s in the world, the Petersen Automotive Museum. RC has been to California four times, though he’s never been to the Petersen. We remedied this faux pas with a too-quick tour and promised to return the next time there’s a new exhibit, which will be later this year.

Our last stop before dropping RC off at Los Angeles International Airport for his return flight to New Zealand was to a very trendy restaurant in Santa Monica to meet a Kiwi buddy of RC. We met JF at the jam-packed eatery and bar (many Kiwis are never too far away from beer and alcohol) and thoroughly enjoyed the food, people watching and conversation. In fact, not 10 minutes after we sat down for lunch, we realized that actress Meg Ryan was seated at the table right next to us. No kidding! From that moment forward, RR’s chief and still-humble scribe spent most of his time staring at the stunning actress. We actually had an opportunity to meet Ms. Ryan before she departed with her girlfriend. Unfortunately, RR was too star-struck to give her a Redline Review card. Maybe we will the next time we dine in Santa Monica.

Enjoy learning why Southern California is nirvana for automotive enthusiasts by perusing the photos below and reading further. Oh, and if you’d like to find out the name of the restaurant where we met Ms. Ryan, drop us a line, dbs@redlinereview.com.

Featured Cars