Wirlwind Visit to Los Angeles

Whenever I stop into Los Angeles, I try my best to fill in every hour of my time visiting shops and meeting friends. Southern California is the epicenter to the car world, and it’s amazing how rich the area is with car culture. There are car enthusiasts all over the world, but nothing like how cars permeate every level of society in LA.


My first stop was a little south to Oceanside to visit Tom Shaughnessy. Our relation has been tenuous over the years, and we are now elevated to the status of ‘Frenimies.” He tolerates my visits as long as I promise to pay COD!


Tom’s business as morphed through the years, but he has never stopped buying and collecting old car parts. Most of his collection of parts are for Vintage Ferraris of which he parted out many cars to amass such a collection. Many years ago, I used to be horrified at his nonchalance in parting out good 2+2s, but I now understand the financial motivations. A box of ashtray inserts like this is now worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars!


His collection of used Ferrari parts are legendary, and many of them are not for sale. He keeps the truly rare stuff for himself or to trade for favors to big collectors that give him tips to where the rare Ferraris are hidden. In this business, it more about who you know, than what you know!


Occasionally, when Tom is in a generous mood, he’ll meet me at his warehouse and let me pick though the thousands of boxes of parts looking for a particular part for a customer of mine. It’s an opportunity I never pass up, but I try never to overstay my welcome!


My next stop was to GTO Engineering on La Cienega Blvd in LA. It’s their new repair shop and parts showroom in Los Angeles. GTO started in the UK, but has grown worldwide with their new digs. My friend Eric Sander started working for them after cutting his teeth in LA working on Ferraris for years.


Like all good shops in the Ferrari business, they’re busy working on all sorts of Vintage Ferraris. We tried our best not to get too carried away on the headaches of working one these old machines, but it’s always nice to talk shop with someone else who is in the trenches working on old Ferraris!


The third stop of the day was Exclusive Motorcars on West Pico Blvd. I’ve been friends with Armando and Sean for years, meeting them in Monterey or Cavallino in Florida, but I finally had the chance to see their showroom in LA.


They also have a very nice private workshop out back that they do some work for some clients. Thanks for the tour Armando, and I’ll see you guys at the next show!


Tom Wilson of the GTE Registry met us at EM, and drove us to see the results of the new Peterson Museum renovation. “Interesting” was all I could say, because I felt the scale was a little hard to take in from the space around it. A building like that seemed like it needed more room to breathe, and to admired from a distance, not a crowded city block in the middle of LA, but hey, what do I know?


My final stop was dinner with Ed Niles, Tom Wilson, and Ron Karp before I had to catch a red-eye back to the East Coast. I always enjoy the company of Ed Niles but worry about asking a man in his nineties to get around. He honored us all with his presence and seemed happy to join us for an evening of chatting about old Ferraris! Ed has been buying, selling, and collecting Ferraris since the late 50s, and according to some accounts he has bought and sold around 125 Ferraris! His memory is as sharp as a tack, and can almost tell you about every transaction. Just spending a short meal with him was a real joy and I only wish we had more time. I sat back and savored a good meal with three good friends and recognized how lucky I was to have had such a fantastic visit to LA. It’s a good thing I don’t live here, because I would never get any work done!