The 2018 LA Auto Show is so broad, expansive, and exciting, it was no problem picking a dozen best-of-show cars. Now, here are our favorite different cars — weird cars, to put a finer point on it — from LA 2018. These are the vehicles with oddly creased surface detailing, massive grilles, or wrongly sized rims for the vehicles riding on them.
Weird doesn’t always mean bad. There’s a Mitsubishi with unusual character lines, a lot of them, and it’s an important and probably successful car. On the other hand, when you take a Ford F-350 chassis and turn into a $ 2.5 million rolling pleasure palace and game-station (main photo), it’s more than just “unusual.”
Los Angeles is the must-see auto show in the US. California is the trendsetter for fashion, style, movies, and cars. LA isn’t swayed by deference to the hometown automakers get in Detroit, Frankfurt, or Tokyo. Southern California is home to millionaires that make the show happy-hunting grounds for Bentley, Porsche, and Maserati. LA has a massive multi-ethnic youth culture. California is the state most concerned about the environment and traffic jams, so buyers pay attention to EVs, plug-in hybrids, and partially (soon fully) autonomous cars.
In 2016, show organizers merged the two press/trade days with a Connected Car Day to create a four-day Automobility LA extravaganza that captures the future of the automobile, not just what’s new this year. Some automakers in parallel created their own daylong tech backgrounders, such as Nissan and the NissanFuture day, to explore personal transportation’s future as well as bring in a well-known Hollywood name, such as Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street, I Tonya). Robbie is Nissan’s brand ambassador for electrification and the Nissan Leaf (see, not everyone in Hollywood drives a Tesla.)
Factoid from the Nissan day: In most corporate buildings with employee parking, the average employee’s share of personal and common space is 150 to 200 square feet. The employee also gets 350-400 square feet outside for parking. In other words, cars take up a lot of space in urban and suburban areas, and maybe there’s a smarter way to move people…without taking away all our cars.
Not all about the LA Auto Show was weird or offbeat. For a moment of serenity, stop by one of the Italian automakers’ booths and look at the upgrade options for seating and upholstery. Here, at the Maserati booth, are 23 leathers to help build a bespoke car.