In recent years, I’ve been seeing quite a bit more car culture tourism. I get emails on a weekly basis asking about the places and shops that I visit in my Speedhunting travels, and I know Dino has it pretty bad too since he lives in Japan and many people from all over the world can only dream of checking out the roots of JDM car culture.
But what if you’re an F1 driver and you want to experience Los Angeles car culture?
If you’re Daniel Ricciardo, you hit up your friends at Donut Media and have them help plan out an amazing day of car culture in Southern California, the result of which can be seen in the clip above.
Daniel is just like any other car guy, and for his short summer break he decided to hang out with his mates from back home in Australia. But instead of him going there, Daniel invited them out to Los Angeles for some fun in the sun. In true Speedhunters fashion, I tagged along for the ride.
We started out in downtown LA at the ID Agency, who had arranged some nice lowriders for Daniel and his friends. The ID Agency is also the group who helped organize the Momo Rally I was on last year.
I’ve hung out with racing drivers from all walks of life and motorsports disciplines, and Daniel was just like any other one of them.
My buddy, James Kirkham from Donut Media, was also along for the fun.
I brought over a copy of The Drive book for the guys to check out before the ride. I think they liked it.
What amazed me was how genuinely happy Daniel was to be sitting in a car like this. He’s driven pretty much every exotic car under the sun, yet this was a completely new experience for him.
Daniel was a happy man as he hit the hydraulics and bounced down the street. There is no escaping that signature smile.
Our first stop was some authentic Mexican food in Boyle Heights at El Tepeyac Cafe, which is an East LA hotspot.
Here Daniel was explaining how he had to make so many steering corrections just to keep the lowrider driving in a straight line. That’s all part of the fun, bud.
While El Tepeyac is known for many things, its Monster Burrito is the signature dish.
The cruising continued after lunch, and soon enough we were headed out to Beverly Hills.
We entered a nondescript building on Rodeo Drive to check out Bruce Meyer’s personal collection of cars.
Who would have known that a garage like this was hidden in the middle of Beverly Hills?!
This is seriously my absolute dream garage. Could life get any better than this?
I had no idea that Bruce’s collection included so many iconic cars.
I watched him race this thing on the salt at Bonneville a few years back.
This was actually one of Clark Gable’s personal cars.
His luggage is still in there with the tags perfectly intact. How cool is that?!
There were so many impressive cars in the collection, but the 1979 Le Mans-winning Porsche 935 has to take the cake. Bruce once drove this car on the street from Beverly Hills to Culver City for the Luftgekühlt event.
And check out this Le Mans-winning Corvette, still with tire marbles all over it and even the champagne stains from the winner’s circle.
If you haven’t figured it out already, the theme of this collection is Le Mans-winning cars.
The engine bay in this Bentley reminded me more of an intricate espresso machine than a combustion engine.
Here’s Bruce showing us photos of time his friends pranked him by pretending to be the FBI and DEA as they confiscated the 935 he’d just bought. When you have billionaire friends, they will go through great lengths to play jokes.
Of course, Daniel could not leave without driving at least one car from the collection, and Bruce brought out one of his many ’32 Fords for him to cruise around Rodeo Drive in.
It blended in quite nicely, don’t you think?Supercar Thrash
Our next stop was PZero World in West Los Angeles. This is basically the most high-end tire shop I have ever seen.
The shop sell an assortment of wheels, but only Pirelli tires.
You make think that only luxury and sportscars are welcome here, but in reality PZero World will fit and maintain any car with Pirelli tires.
We stopped by for two reasons: one was for the espresso, the other was for the supercars.
The last part of the tour was a run through the canyons after a drive up the coast, which of course meant we needed some suitable cars for the drive. Daniel’s friends picked up a McLaren 650S…
And Daniel himself got behind the wheel of a brand new Aston Martin Vanquish V12.
Let me tell you guys, this GT car sounded awesome. Every time Daniel accelerated past us it was a pure V12 symphony.
These suckers were thirsty though. Here’s my buddy Jacob Agajanian from Donut Media filling up the McLaren.
See, F1 drivers are just like us!
I grew up around the Santa Monica area, so we had soon entered my old stomping grounds. Whenever me and my buddies needed to let off some steam we would head up to Malibu for some of the best canyon roads California has to offer.
I decided to show Daniel one of the trickiest and twistiest canyon roads in the area, also known as Tuna Canyon Rd.
The road is one way, and it descends all the way to the beach. It has over 100 tight and twisty corners for your motoring enjoyment.
While the McLaren and Aston are suited to more open roads, the boys still had a blast, and I think everyone had a chance to experience real Southern California car culture.
It was cool to play tour guide for a day with Daniel and the Donut Media guys. Who knows, maybe one day the tables will turn and the Red Bull Racing F1 driver will show us a bit of Australian car culture.