Fall in Los Angeles is a special time. While pretty much the entirety of the population of the United States begins to experience plummeting temperatures, inclement weather, and the need to spend a lot of their time indoors, we Southern California denizens are usually still enjoying warm days, throwing barbeque parties, and enjoying plenty of special events.
With the ongoing pandemic though, we, like everyone else, have had to forgo many of the things that make this time of the year special. One such casualty of the current state of affairs that has had a particular significance to me has been the ongoing cancellation of most of the big automotive events in the area. This has included the grandest event of all, the Los Angeles International Auto Show, which hasn’t been held since 2019.
It was with great delight then that I learned that the show was once again going to be held in 2021. And so, on Monday, November 22nd I hopped in my car and headed downtown to the Los Angeles Convention Center to check it out. Here are my top takeaways from the show.
Chevy had an absolutely enormous display at the show to accommodate their massive fleet of cars and trucks, but without question, the most notable vehicle Chevy brought was their brand new 2023 Corvette Z06. Having just been announced a mere month prior, I was both pleased and surprised that the car was in attendance.
The new top dog of the Corvette line is not for the bashful or faint of heart. Underneath the show car’s special, pearlescent white-painted bodywork lurks a monster: the new LT6. A flat-plane-crank, 5.5-liter, double-overhead cam V8 engine that revs to 8,600 rpm and puts out an astonishing 670 ponies and 470 lb-ft of twist, the LT6 is the most powerful normally aspirated V8 ever dropped into a production vehicle.
All that muscle is routed through a Tremec-designed eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with a 5.56:1 final drive ratio and an electronic limited-slip differential. Together, these niceties are good enough to propel the Z06 to 2.4 second 0-60 launches, 10.4 second quarters, and a 200 mph top speed. Those are some no-joke numbers right there.
Outside, the Z06 sports a 3.6-inch wider body in the rear than the Stingray, which helps the bodywork cover the massive 345-series rear tires mounted to 21-inch forged aluminum wheels. Up front live a pair of 20-inch wheels wrapped in 275/30 rubber.
Other differences include a bespoke front fascia with a large, carbon fiber splitter, a unique rear spoiler, a modified rear fascia and a different design to the side intake surrounds. I can attest that this is one aggressive-looking car. What’s more, an available Z07 Performance Package ups the ante, with a huge rear wing, deeper front splitter, front end canards, underbody strakes, unique FE7 suspension, larger brakes, and optional carbon fiber wheels.
Chevy also brought several Stingrays and Camaros to the show, including a magnificent convertible in Caffeine Metallic brown, and an LT1 Camaro in dazzling Rapid Blue.
FoMoCo brought a dizzying array of cars, trucks, and SUVs to the proceedings as well. Of particular note were the multitudes of Mustangs and Broncos present.
As far as the former was concerned, there were various and sundry Ecoboost V6 and Coyote-powered GT models in both fastback and convertible configurations, a Mach I, and, of course, several Shelbys on hand.
At the main Ford display, there was a GT500 draped in glorious Ford Performance Blue with a pair of black stripes running longitudinally over the top. Meanwhile, at the nearby Galpin Ford stand (Galpin is Los Angeles’ premier blue oval dealer) we were treated to a GT500 custom painted in a raucous, day-glo lime green and fitted with the Carbon Fiber Track Package including its outrageous (and outrageously expensive) exposed weave, carbon fiber wheels.
Changes to the GT500 for 2022 are not major, though there is a new color on offer in the form of Code Orange, and a limited Heritage Edition model, which sees the car painted in historic Brittany Blue and given a number of add-ons not available in a normal GT500. Sadly, the Heritage Edition was not present at the show.
Ford’s contributions to the show also included a large gang of Broncos. Two-door, four-door, Sasquatch, non-Sasquatch, custom, and stock models were all present. What a great looking SUV it is in person.
Like the GT500, the Bronco is largely unchanged for ’22 save for some color changes, with Hot Pepper Red Tinted Clearcoat replacing Rapid Red, Velocity Blue replacing Antimatter Blue, and Eruption Green, an emerald hue, making its debut.
Other Ford standouts at the show included a pair of Mustang Mach-Es and a spectacular Ford GT supercar.
Not one to let their rivals outshine them, Stellantis brought some noteworthy new models from all of their American brands. While the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer, and Grand Wagoneer were all present and accounted for, most pertinent to our conversation were the offerings from Stellantis’ performance division, Dodge.
Checking in at the top of the Challenger range is the SRT Super Stock. On hand at the show was a loaded example of one, dressed in Smokeshow gray over black Laguna leather.
Essentially an ever-so-slightly detuned Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the Super Stock features the Demon’s 6.2 liter supercharged eight, packing 807 ponies (just one less than the Demon boasted on pump gas) and all the former car’s bells and whistles. It should be no surprise then to learn that it is the quickest, currently available muscle car in the world.
Just how quick? Try 0-60 in 3.2 ticks, and a 10.5-second, 131 mph quarter-mile – bone stock.
Blessed with widebody flares, the SRT Performance rear spoiler, Mopar hood pin kit, and meaty 315/40R-18 Nitto NT05R drag radials, the Super Stock looked every bit the part of a drag strip hunter/killer. Sitting nearby it was last year’s Challenger Drag Pak, a purpose-built, non-street legal, factory dragster, and a car you certainly don’t see every day.
Also on hand was the brand new 2022 Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Jailbreak. If you haven’t heard about the Jailbreak, it’s likely because it was only announced a week ago, and put on public display for the first time at the LA Auto Show.
The Jailbreak is essentially a normal Hellcat Redeye, but one that for a nominal fee, you can build exactly to your specification, with no restrictions whatsoever in terms of color combinations, stripe options, wheel selections and packages.
The Jailbreak at the show was painted in F8 Green over a black and grey interior, with Granite-pocket wheels, yellow calipers, and black, Scat Pack T/A style side stripes – a combination that would previously have been impossible to build. All Jailbreaks will come with a special plaque on the dash denoting its identity.
For Charger fans, Stellantis was kind enough to bring a slew of America’s only four-door muscle car, including an exceptionally clean-looking 2022 Charger Scat Pack Widebody in Granite Metallic.
The last notable vehicle in the Stellantis lineup was a very rare ride indeed. In fact, it was the first, and quite possibly the last time I will ever see one since a mere 3000 were produced in a one-year-only run.
The whip in question was a 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, and what a car it was. Destroyer Gray with matte black, over-the-top dual stripes, red leather and Alcantara interior, all-wheel-drive, and 710 ponies from the blown Hellcat 6.2. I envy the folks who nabbed one.
All-in-all, this year’s LA Auto Show was a rousing success as it always has been in the past. In spite of the ongoing coronavirus concerns, the manufacturers nonetheless showed great vigilance in presenting their wares to us. Here’s hoping that next year’s event will be even grander.