Los Angeles Times to Publish June 21 Commemorative Special Section Chronicling Southern California's Car Culture

LOS ANGELES, June 20, 2006 – The Los Angeles Times on June 21 will publish "Cars," a special automotive section looking at Southern California's love affair with the automobile, from its colorful car salesmen and iconic highways to its racing culture and emergence as the center of the motorcycle world.

An online version of the section will be available June 21 at latimes.com/cars125, and will showcase nearly 100 photographs – the largest photo gallery ever assembled for a single Los Angeles Times special section.

This section is the fourth in a series of eight special or themed sections marking The Times' 125th anniversary.

The "Cars" section will include:

  • The Automobile Time Machine – Automotive Critic Dan Neil hops into the first true automobile – an 1886 Benz Motorwagen – and contemplates how that "park bench on three wheels" helped change the future of Southern California. Latimes.com video: Join Dan Neil as he tours Pasadena in the Motorwagen.
  • Wildcatting Auto Designers – From the prototype electric cars of almost 100 years ago to today's modern speedsters, the region's designers have influenced car design the world over.
  • Mulholland Drive – With its panoramic views of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, the iconic Mulholland Drive is not only the driveway to the stars, but a highway back into local driving history. Latimes.com video and audio: Mulholland Drive through the eyes of filmmaker David Lynch and the music of REM and Tom Petty.
  • His Dog Spot – From Cal Worthington to Madman Muntz, automobile dealers for decades have amused television audiences with a wonderful blend of exotic creatures, cheap stunts and unbelievable bargains. Have they disappeared for good? Maybe not. Latimes.com video: Classic TV footage of Madman Muntz and Cal Worthington and his "dog," Spot.
  • Dune Buggies – More than any other vehicle, the dune buggy symbolizes the carefree California lifestyle. Originally available for less than $1,000, today's tricked-up versions can cost upward of $35,000 and come with a lot more baggage.
  • Motorcycles – Los Angeles is the hub of the motorcycle universe. Almost every Japanese manufacturer, design studio and major motorcycle publication is based in the region. Southern California is the nexus of racing, recreational riding and safety design, and the birthplace of the modern motorcycle.
  • "Red Asphalt" – Long before reality TV made its debut, this driver's education safety film has nauseated generations of teenagers with its gory accident footage. The CHP believes the film, now in its fifth remake, may not only be one of the most viewed videos of all time but an effective reminder that speed kills.
  • Automotive Art – Art Critic Christopher Knight profiles the 20th century pop-art that best represents our fascination with the motorcar – from Ed Keinholz's "Back Seat Dodge" to Ed Ruscha's "Twenty-six Gasoline Station" to Michael C. McMillen's "Central Meridian."
  • Patt Morrison – Op-Ed Columnist Patt Morrison takes a whirlwind tour of Los Angeles' auto culture, without the traffic and congestion.
  • Only in L.A. – Discover unique Southern California auto-mania: a bookstore devoted to cars and a nail salon/auto mechanic – the places where you'll find the car fanatic.
  • Automobile Museums – A guide to the fine automobiles on display in private collections and public museums, from Oxnard to Orange County.
  • Lost: A Photo Essay – A look at Southern California's once proud racing culture, from the Santa Monica Rally to Agricultural Park.
  • The Time Line – A list of Southland automotive firsts: the first car, the first crash, the first drive-in, the first used-car ad, the first Sig-Alert and more. Latimes.com interactive trivia game: Find out how much you really know about driving in Los Angeles, from points of historical significance to details about the Southland's roads.

Upcoming Features

In its August 13 issue, West magazine, The Times' Sunday magazine, will publish its list of the 100 most powerful people in Southern California – those who have the utmost influence in shaping the region. West also is soliciting public nominations for that list. An online ballot is available at http://www.latimes.com/west.

On September 12, The Times will publish its fifth 125th-anniversary themed section, "Education," which will examine California's role as a leader in the education field, re-trace the history of the state's higher education sector, with a focus on local universities, and feature an insightful report on teaching and learning.

Other future sections will focus on fashion trends, the people who have made Southern California what it is today, and the pervasive influence that Los Angeles has had on the world.

About the Los Angeles Times

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of nearly 2.2 million and about 3.3 million on Sunday. With its media businesses and affiliates – including latimes.com, TheEnvelope.com, Times Community Newspapers, Recycler Classifieds, Hoy, and California Community News – the Los Angeles Times reaches approximately 7.6 million or 58 percent of all adults in the Southern California marketplace every week.

The Los Angeles Times, which this year marks its 125th anniversary covering Southern California, is part of Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB), one of the country's leading media companies with businesses in publishing, the Internet and broadcasting. Additional information about the Los Angeles Times is available at www.latimes.com/mediacenter.

Bill Bonner

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