Car Spotting in Southern California, April 2017 edition

My wife and I spent a long Easter weekend in Santa Monica and its immediate environs, primarily to visit her family. For me, it’s always an adventure to go to California. For this native New Yorker, a stroll down the street is its own car show. The climate has, for the most part, ensured that automobiles survive for a very long time.

My life-long home turf of metropolitan NY/NJ suffers from the ravages of snow most winters. To be more precise, we suffer from the road salt liberally applied as the result of the snow. All this salt is not kind to vehicular sheetmetal, causing it to rust. Since salt is not needed in most of the Southwest, it’s not unusual to see 30, 40, even 50 year old vehicles still being pushed into daily-driver service on the streets of California.

As the designated driver for much of the weekend,  I was left with little time for strolling and picture-taking. Many cars from the ’60s and ’70s were spotted but not photographed. For the few instances when we were on foot, usually to or from a meal, my cell phone caught some neat old cars. Here are a few of the more interesting ones.

This first-generation Ford Bronco looked completely restored to stock condition. Given that the market currently values these things in the $30k-50k range, it was a surprise to see it unattended. However, it did have “The Club” on the steering wheel.

This 1969 Cadillac Coupe Deville didn’t need The Club. Paint was gone from most of its horizontal surfaces, several lenses were busted, and rust had eaten the hood’s leading edge, leading me to suspect that the car may not have been native to the state. Note the coveted ‘black plate’.


This early ’70s BMW 3.0 coupe looked too nice to not have been restored. The lucky owner drove it to church on Easter morning, as I found it in a church parking lot. It looks minuscule next to the Range Rover. Yes, the parking lot is carpeted. 

The biggest surprise for me was this early ’70s Alfa Romeo GTV, parked on the street in a residential area of Santa Monica. The paint was weathered, the wheels rusty, the windows dirty, and the chrome lackluster. Yet, it didn’t give the impression that it had been sitting there long. With no visible rust, this is a $25k car back east. I was tempted to leave my phone number….


All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.