Today The Times launches Highway 1, a section devoted to everyone who drives, makes, designs, buys or sells motor vehicles in Southern California. The section will highlight what makes autos a unique, integral and fun part of the region's culture, in addition to looking at the people, trends and other issues surrounding the industry. Highway 1, which is designed to help drivers get the most out of their vehicles, will involve you, the reader, in numerous ways.

The section will appear monthly, usually on the last Thursday of the month. In addition, weekly supplements will appear every Thursday in the Classified section.

Each monthly section will include a theme; today's is the convertible, the quintessential Southern California car. Next month's Highway 1, on July 30, will look at car customization.

Let us know what you think. Write us at Highway 1, Business Section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053. Fax: (213) 237-7837. E-mail: highway1@latimes.com.

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