Dry air, and a temperate climate, combine to make southern California a vintage vehicle mecca. On a recent trip, after about a year locked down by the Pandemic, the contrast between home on the east coast, and life in the west were more sharply defined, so of course we had to make a list….

  1. Car culture is apparent everyday. From my unscientific count on one day, 50% of the vehicles driving around have some visible modifications. This ranges from wheels on a Chevy Caprice to a tricolore Ferrari, to a slammed vintage Datsun pickup. This does not even count the inumerable sportbikes and cruisers with wild paint jobs and matching helmets. A Walmart parking lot on a Saturday could be some kind of strange eclectic car/bike show back east.

  2. Air-cooled Volkswagens are still vintage cool, but they are also still viable daily transportation. The VW Bug in particular is not at all rare on the streets and even on the freeways. They appear in all conditions from pristine, to “how-is-that-still-running?”. Type 3s and 4s are also spotted here and there, parked on the street, or cruising in the slow lane. Buses are less often sighted as daily transport, but they seem to emerge on weekends. They are joined by Beach buggies and Baja buggies, and Things.

  3. Vintage anything is still viable transportation. VW aside, in a week we saw 2 Volvo P1800s, 4 BMW 2002s, 2 vintage Lambretta scooters, too many vintage Datsun and Toyota pickups to count, 4 BMW K1100s, 8 Mercedes Pagodas, 2 Porsche 356s, 2 BMW /5s, 3 vintage Toyota LandCruisers, 2 Corvairs, 4 70s Corvettes, too many 60s and 70s muscle cars to count, and the list goes on….

  4. A cool drive or event for your vintage vehicle is close by and frequent. A run through the canyons, or along PCH, or a track day, or a run across the desert, is no more than a few hours away. Pickup trucks full of vintage dirt bikes, and trailers carrying show cars were all common sightings, on their way to a ride or an event. No effort is needed to immerse yourself in the vintage iron culture.

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