If you took all of Southern California, turned it upside down, and shook it, you'd be amazed how many cool little French and Italian cars would rattle out.
Inside garages across the Southland, under tarps in backyards, and parked in storage cubicles from Bakersfield to Barstow, these are the best French and Italian cars SoCal has to offer. They gather every first Sunday of November in the dirt and dust of Woodley Park in Van Nuys to celebrate their very existence, and the fact that they started and ran all the way down the freeway. Congratulazioni! Toutes nos félicitations
1967 Bizzarrini Strada 5300. This one, the owner claims, is "probably the last all-original car left in the world."
And next to it, another 1967 Bizzarrini Strada 5300.
The Renault Alpine A110 1300 was made from 1971 to 1976
1956 Abarth Coupe
The Renault Dauphine put France back on wheels in the 1950s and 1960s. The engine was in the back.
Interior of the Dauphine. The name refers to the Dauphine of France, the wife of the Dauphin, the heir apparent to the French throne.
This 1939 Citroën Light 15 Traction Avant was built in Slough, England, to circumvent import duties, a practice that continues today with carmakers around the world.
Dimitris Georgakopolis' 1981 Renault RS Turbo 1.
The R5 Turbo was intended for rallying but they sold some street versions, too.
1986 Renault Turbo 2
From 1951 to 1977, the 2CV AU delivery van kept plumbers, window installers, and electricians in business across la Republique.
Dana Schatts says this 1963 Facel Vega Facel III was ordered by his parents at the Paris Auto Show in 1963.
This 1964 Rene Bonnet Djet II was found in the UK. The owner says it's the world's first mid-engine road production car, with 181 manufactured. It has an 1149cc Gordini engine with Gordini crossflow cylinder head.
This 1953 Nash Healey had a body designed by Pinin Farina.
This is a Fiat 1100 Desiree with body by Vignale.
1966 ASA 1000 GT has been in the same family since new.
The Italian company Innocenti made a number of cars, scooters, and motorcycles over the years since its founding in 1920. In 1974 it made a rebodied, three-door hatchback version of the Mini, styled by Bertone.
This 1961 Lancia Appia Series III is owned by reknowned automotive journalist Mark Vaughn. It's in great shape, having been driven to and from the show without once catching on fire or dying by the side of the road. Word on the street is he'd part with it for the right amount of dough. No lowballers. He knows what he's got.
This Lancia Flavia arrived on the dock in Long Beach just the week before driving to the show. It is flawless.
1965 Lancia Flavia IF Coupe
This Lancia Appia Spyder/Cabriolet has flawless patina.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta was the entry drug for many an Italian car lover. With near-perfect balance and feel, it remains a compelling reason to put up with early Italian engineering. It was manufactured from 1954 to 1965 and included a 2+2 coupé, four-door saloon, estate, spider, Sprint, and Sprint Speciale.
If this Alfa Romeo Milano was in better shape you could say it was a Mint Milano. I'll show myself out.
Love Alfas but want a modern car with air bags and crumple zones? They're still making them. This is the Giulia sedan. Prices start at $45,075 and top out at $81,375 for the mighty 505-hp Giulia Quadrifoglio.
The 4C was the best-handling car in the world when it came on the market in 2015.
Too much light eminates from this Alfa.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Alfa Romeo Giulia TI
There's a story here, somewhere...
Another Giulia TI
Alfa Romeo GT Veloce
This 2000 GTV sold new for $7930
Alfa Romeo GT Veloce
Giulietta Sprint designed by Bertone.
This 1750 GTV sold new for $4970.
The Fiat/Bertone x1/9 was the poor man's, the really poor man's, Ferrari.
1978 Fiat Abarth Group 4 recreation.
The Fiat 124 Sport Spider was made from 1966-1985. It was designed by and manufactured at the Italian carrozzeria Pininfarina factory. It styled by American Tom Tjaarda.
1970 Fiat 850 Sedan
The Fiat Dino 2000 Coupe had a real 2.0- or 2.4-liter Ferrari V6. The car was styled by Bertone.
1964 Iso Rivolta GT
Another Iso Grifo
If you bought enough of these, Ferrari would allow you to buy a 458.
The Lamborghini Espada was pure V12-powered '70s.
A brace of Espada.
Seller says this is the 1954 Paris show car of the 1954 Hudson Italia, 1 of 26 cars built. He's asking $170,000, but that includes a new windshield.
De Tomaso Pantera
Another one bites the Woodley Park dust...
This Talbot-Lago Grand Sport was said to have been driven into the show by Jay Leno himself, but I did not witness that.
Abarth 750 GT Allemano