Car Culture: Does Anywhere Do It Better Than Southern California?

Ask anyone who’s involved in the automotive hobby where they’d suggest heading for some really thick car culture, and Southern California would surely be mentioned.

I gave SoCal a try for an entire month, every weekend attending the most highly recommended ‘cars and coffee’ type events. What I found only confirmed what a lot of people say.


Do you want JDM? Southern California has some of the best. Lowriders? Yeah, they have those too.

Maybe Euro or exotics are what you’re after? There is definitely no shortage of these. And muscle cars and hot rods? They’re everywhere in SoCal.


Honestly, whether you’re a general enthusiast or have a niche taste, Southern California delivers on the car culture front. There are dozens of events almost every weekend, but here’s a gallery of shots from some of my favorites.


State of Speed LA fills nearly 400 parking spaces every month at the old Datsun campus in Long Beach, with some of the nicest JDM, ‘90s Euro, and restomod cars I’ve seen.


Then you’ve got South OC Cars and Coffee, which is utterly enormous and brings out some of the nicest cars in every category. Its weekly Saturday turnout is nothing short of impressive.


Cars and Coffee Classics hosts model-themed events in Anaheim, and the one I attended was dedicated to the Mazda rotary. Lucky me! Other makes show up to each theme every month, and they’re all impressive too.


Lastly, auction site Collecting Cars hosts a specialty meet in Santa Monica in seemingly random intervals. These events always attract an incredible array of cars. Scarcity drives demand, right?


I don’t think Southern Californians really realize how lucky they are. What they might perceive as a ‘normal’ car event is likely to be anything but to someone from outside of the area; that’s certainly true of my experience. In fact, the car culture here is making it nearly impossible to leave… Thanks, SoCal.

Sara Ryan
Instagram: pockowokosara



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wish we could've seen more of that red riced neon far right to the red miata


That's a Fiat Abarth..


Haha best comment of the day. I do think thats a neon though. Yellow FD behind the red miata and red neon to the right.


>does anywhere do it better?


Texas, florida, even alabama does it better. Texas is literally all race-built cars with none of that cosmetic-only nonsense that plagues cali. 1500whp cars are a dime a dozen at texas street races, and the (legal) street races are pushing 3500. Drag racing has been there since its beginnings, drifting is everywhere in the state, diesel trucks are abundant, and there's literally tens of thousands of tuning shops everywhere.
The only time south cali was relevant to car tuning was after the fast and furious movies.
Most of the world does it better than south cali.


lol definitely not. HIgh hp cars are a dime a dozen. It's the complete builds that stand out. All the trends and new things that come out from japan happen first here in socal. It's obvious all the events show trade shows are literally in California or next to California. So no most of the world does not do it better than socal. Not to mention everything ships to here.


Where in Alabama do they have the best events?




i kept scrolling back to that rukus with bbs


SoCal does do a great job with car culture. I agree with Sara in that the culture is vast down south. There is a meet for every type of car person and genre. Cars and Coffee-type gatherings are everywhere and no matter what you are in to there is some kind of gathering or show for it. Japan does an amazing job with car events and gatherings but I don't think you see the diversity as much as you see here at events. Look through these photos again and you'll see everything from a Jag to a Porsche to a Skyline and a Mazda wagon – great stuff!!


My Lord we need more of the RX-7 on the cover


Other people look at these pictures and go, "...RX-3, R32, FC, R34, FD, 964, R1, 635CSi, NA Miata..."

I see the same pictures and - keeping mind these shots are from California - think, "...theft recovery, trap car, theft recovery, flaky title, multiple theft recovery, Feds'll be impounding that one later tonight, theft recovery, evidence in RICO prosecution..."


Be careful Sarah! You could lose your Speedhunters license for posting that pic of Ford on this site. Did you forget to filter that one out or maybe it's considered cool and allowed because it's a Euro Ford and not a US Ford product? An article about Southern California car culture and there's not one US domestic made vehicle in it, just Japanese and Euros from start to finish. Yup, just another typical day on Speedhunters. Domestic car culture only ends up on this site when the car is located in Japan or somewhere other than in the US.


My exact thoughts. How are there no Chevy Lowriders, F-150/250/350s, Silverados, American Muscle cars in this shoot?


Because this site only seems to care about Euro/Asian Style. Very Very rarely will you ever see anything American (North or South) that isnt a Euro or Asian styled car. That's why most of their articles take place in Japan with a few Euro articles added in here or there. Articles in the USA are a rarity.


cali is literally the worst place to live as a car enthusiast


It's only bad if you don't know people.... straight up. This is the Capital for car enthusiasts.


Too many typos in that last one.
You are blind, Sir. So, am I. I live in Michigan. I have the best car museum in the country right here in Hickory Corners, w/ a 500-1000 car cruise in every Wednesday of the Summer along w/ more specific genre gatherings almost every weekend. I have the best cruise-in in the entire world right here in Woodward Dream Cruise. You want 4x4 Jeep stuff, come to St Ignace's Jeep The Mac. Do I need to keep going?


Why? What's your experience? I've been here my whole life, except that five years right in the middle. I've always had custom cars and bikes. I have plenty of resources and amigos to sort out any issues or dreams on speed dial. I once tapped a guard rail after sliding sideways on the freeway in my '64 Coupe DeVille on a Tuesday. By the next Thursday, I was picking parts up from chrome and my car was back on the road by the following Tuesday. I was driving a custom classic, damaged it, sourced out the parts, had them restored, had my bodywork and paint done for a fraction of what it should've costed. Other than California, I've only lived abroad, so I can't speak for anywhere else. As far as my geography goes, I have no car complaints...yet.


Man SoCal really gives me a reason why I should go to California in the first place
Don't get me wrong it's a pretty nice place quite beautiful but it's just too expensive there


Yes, Japan does JDM better.
Europe does Euro better.
Also, some euros in Japan capture the essence of euro cars and really well done.
None of the cars in the pictures manage to represent their true roots. They're always 90% there, be it because of wheels, colors, trim, modifications etc. Americans can't really grasp the true essence of these cars and always manage to steer away from making it the best version because of "personal touches"


What's wrong with personal touches?


The only way to truly answer this question is to experience all the options first-hand and compare them side-by side using *objective* criteria.
"Better" is a very squishy metric.. :(


Nice palm tree reflection in the windshield of that RX-3!

lolz at all the sad haters…


Northern California!
Hope you guys covered Saturday's Breakfast Club Rally: Tokyo Calling


Norcal is pale in comparison to down here in socal....everything happens here


I'd love to see more of that MX-6 in the lead photo. I used to have a Maroon one. Never got to do much to it, but there are days I wish I still had it.


That purple 911 Turbo...YES