The ArtCenter College of Design, right here in SoCal, is one of the top schools for transportation and automotive designers around the world.  So it’s logical that the school host an annual exhibit showcasing the works of it’s best and brightest.

From concepts to classics.  Exotics to muscle.  This year’s ArtCenter Car Classic provided something for everyone.  And rightfully so, as the theme of this year’s car show highlighted the school’s 70-years of contributions to the automotive industry.

This is a favorite of iDriveSoCal’s Professor, Clinton Quan, and he, of course, was in attendance and joined me for this iDSC podcast.  Click play below and scroll down to enjoy the pics of these awe-inspiring works of art!

Long-nose futuristic beige 2-door coupe pictured as part of the iDriveSoCal Podcast 147 banner ArtCenter Car Classic, 70-Years of Design Influence

***Transcription***

Recorded October 30, 2018, in Los Angeles, CA

70-Years of Automotive Influence

Clinton Quan: Some of the most prominent automotive designers in the world…

What was great about this car show because it was celebrating 70-years of the colleges Transportation Design Program, you got to see a little bit of everything. There were American cars there, European automobiles, Japanese cars, even Hyundai, that’s a Korean car.

Black classic looking coupe parked in the grass at the ArtCenter Car Classic

Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States, Southern California. Tom Smith here with the good professor Mr. Clinton Quan, say “Hello” Clinton.

Clinton Quan: Hi Tom.

Tom Smith: Hello my friend. We are podcasting this evening at an undisclosed location downtown Los Angeles California. We’re covering the ArtCenter College of Design their annual shindig that the good professor goes to each year. Did we cover this last year? No, we didn’t cover this last year.

Clinton Quan: No we did not.

Tom Smith: But we talked about the College ArtCenter of Design in one of our podcasts that we did, yeah on why Southern California is the not only the automotive capital of the United States… But also the automotive capital of the world; because of all of these reasons. One of these reasons being that we have the College ArtCenter of Design, am I saying that right?

Clinton Quan: ArtCenter College of Design

“Some of the most prominent automotive designers in the world…”

Tom Smith: ArtCenter College of Design here in Southern California which has put out a number of names that we know of but…

Clinton Quan: Some of the most prominent automotive designers in the world.

Tom Smith: And for those of you listen to the podcast myself included, Chip Foose right is one of the names?

Clinton Quan: Well I don’t know if he graduated from ArtCenter.

Tom Smith: Oh really?

You Know the Vehicle Designs

Clinton Quan: I don’t know right off the top of my head. He’s very well known.

Tom Smith: Was Fisker from there?

Clinton Quan: Yes he was at the event.

Tom Smith: No, no, but did he graduate from the school?

Clinton Quan: I believe so I don’t know why he would be there.

Dark green Ford Mustang G.T. 350 parked in the grass at the ArtCenter Car Classic 2018

Tom Smith: What I’m getting to is there’s a lot of designers that have graduated from this school and we might not know the name of the designers.

But, we definitely know the names of their cars that they’ve designed. The names of the manufacturers they’ve designed those cars for.  And, we’ve seen their cars as the entire world has seen their cars driving around roads, again all over the world.

Clinton Quan: I mean if he didn’t graduate I would assume he has some relationship to the school.

Tom Smith: And it just so happens that Henrik Fisker and I don’t know if it’s Henrik or [pronunciation] Henrik, how they pronounce it.

Clinton Quan: That’s a good question, I don’t know.

Tom Smith: But nevertheless, the Fisker Karma was, well there’s a whole history about that and they had a Fisker Karma there. I digress. ArtCenter College of Design has an annual automotive show and you go every year.

Clinton Quan: Yeah, almost every year.

Tom Smith: And that’s what we’re covering in this podcast. This years show, which the shows always the end of October right?

Clinton Quan: Yes. End of October it’s usually either the last Sunday in October or the second to last Sunday in October.

One of SoCal’s Biggest Shows

Tom Smith: Okay, so if you hop on the iDriveSoCal website, the events page, it’s there. If you subscribe to the newsletter we always have it as one of our events we highlight. It’s there as well.

The good professor went, actually, I think it was, you went to the show last year and you ran into Jay Leno. We have a picture of you and Jay on iDriveSoCal.

iDriveSoCal's Professor, Clinton Quan, at the ArtCenter College of Design with Jay Leno

Clinton Quan: That is correct. Yes.

Tom Smith: This is a big, it’s a big show and each year…

Clinton Quan: Oh this is considered one of the biggest shows in Southern California now, the ArtCenter Car Classic, yes.

Tom Smith: So it’s called the ArtCenter Car Classic?

Clinton Quan: Yeah that’s the official name of the car show.

Tom Smith: And is it free or is there a fee at the door?

Clinton Quan: No, it’s definitely not free. It’s I believe it was $40 this year.

Tom Smith: Okay. And there is a theme each year?

Clinton Quan: There is a theme each year.

Tom Smith: And this year’s theme was?

“…this year’s theme is celebrating 70 years of the transportation design program at the ArtCenter College of Design.”

Clinton Quan: And this year’s theme is celebrating 70 years of the transportation design program at the ArtCenter College of Design.

Tom Smith: So, it’s not just automotive design, they design everything then?

Clinton Quan: Yes. But obviously, this one focuses on automobiles, this particular car show.

Tom Smith: Right, right, okay. So celebrating 70 years, so for 70 years this school has been, their automotive design program has been in existence for 70 years?

Clinton Quan: 70 years. That is correct.

Tom Smith: I mean you think about how long the automobiles been around, you go what, a little over 100 years?

Clinton Quan: Correct. Its been around for a little over 100 years.

From Classic Cars to Concept Cars 

Tom Smith: Okay, interesting, interesting. And I saw some pictures of the show. Some really cool cars.

Clinton Quan: We’re talking about classic cars to current concept cars.

Tom Smith: Yeah, Yeah.

Clinton Quan: And that’s what’s great about this show.

Tom Smith: And the concept cars are really neat. I’ve always marveled at concept cars, right. I think everybody has.

Clinton Quan: Yes, and normally a brand new car show such as the LA Auto Show, you can’t get that close to a concept vehicle. Here at the ArtCenter Car Classic, you can get right up to that concept vehicle.

Tom Smith: There is one that had suicide doors it looked like you almost had your head inside the thing.

Clinton Quan: Yeah, that’s the 2018 Hyundai, I’m not sure if I’m pronouncing this correctly, Le Fil Rouge, I believe it’s called.

Tom Smith: Sounds very French for a Korean automaker.

Clinton Quan: Yes, it definitely has a French-sounding name to the vehicle. It was unveiled, well made it’s US debut this summer at the Concours d’Elegance of America.

Tom Smith: Oh, so that cars been making its rounds?

Clinton Quan: Yes, but only since the summer of this year.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: Alright. There was, was it the original Lamborghini Countach?

Clinton Quan: If it wasn’t the first year, it was definitely one of the first Countach’s.

Tom Smith: Okay, and that’s a very iconic car.

Clinton Quan: That’s one of the most iconic designs and it’s certainly the most famous Lamborghini. I remember growing up, one of my very good friends, that was his very favorite car. He had a poster back in his bedroom, and that’s the car I remember

Tom Smith: That was an 80s thing, wasn’t?

The Mullin Collection Represented

Clinton Quan: Yes. It was a car people dreamed about.

Tom Smith: Yeah, so the story about the 1930s Voisin.

Clinton Quan: 1934 Voisin C27 Aerosport

2-Door classic and contemporary styled vehicle parked in the grass of the ArtCenter Car Classic

Tom Smith: Okay.

“…1934 Voisin C27 Aerosport.”

Clinton Quan: Owned by Peter Mullin.

Tom Smith: So Peter Mullin, is an obviously a very successful, wealthy person.

Clinton Quan: Entrepreneur, philanthropist, I believe and he has his very own automotive museum in Oxnard, which is my personal favorite.

Tom Smith: And we’ve covered that a little bit, so he has that. And that’s not open all the time, right?

Clinton Quan: Correct. It’s only open two days a month to the general public.

Tom Smith: But then he’s also got a private collection of some sort, if I’m remembering right, somewhere in the LA city limits?

Clinton Quan: Private collection in West Los Angeles. That is correct.

Tom Smith: And you’ve seen that?

Clinton Quan: Yes, I actually got to go on a personal guided tour.

Tom Smith: A personal guided tour, of course, a professional has

Clinton Quan: I was the only one on the tour

Tom Smith: Seriously?

Clinton Quan: Yes, it was a one on one tour.

Tom Smith: Did he take you personally?

Clinton Quan: No, no, not him. Someone who works for him, but that’s where his office is.

Tom Smith: How did you hook that up? I didn’t know it was just you on the tour.

Clinton Quan: No it was just me. I was the only person on the tour.

Tom Smith: So how did you hook that up?

Clinton Quan: Well, I read that they were doing special tours of that place and most people wouldn’t know, so I called them up and I was able to go on the tour all by myself. It was just…

The AAA Connection

Tom Smith: Where did you read this? ObscureAutomotiveNews [dot] com?

Clinton Quan: I’m trying to remember. It could have been Westways Magazine. I get a lot of information from Westways. AAA Westways…

Tom Smith: Yeah, I get some ideas from Westways. Doug Schupe, the Senior Public Affairs Specialist over at AAA, we sync up for a number of pieces. Gosh, we’ve done a bunch of podcasts together.

Classic red Lamborghini Countach parked on the grass at the ArtCenter Car Classic

Tom Smith: “Hey Doug, how ya doing? Thanks for all the collaboration.”

Clinton Quan: The latest one on the cost of ride-hailing services versus ownership.

Tom Smith: Yeah, you listened to that one?

Clinton Quan: Yeah, that was very good.

Tom Smith: Well thank you. All I do is ask questions. AAA does some really cool studies and that was a pretty interesting one.

If you haven’t checked out that podcast, AAA did a study on the cost of ridesharing versus vehicle ownership and hands down no matter what market you’re in its still much more efficient to own a vehicle.

Now that’s the general but you know, whatever. You could listen to that podcast when you get a chance. I don’t know what number it is, but it came out relatively recently.

Tom Smith: So, back to the ArtCenter College of Design Classic, is that what it’s called?

Clinton Quan: The name of the show, is The ArtCenter Car Classic.

Tom Smith: ArtCenter Car Classic.

Clinton Quan: Yeah, the school is ArtCenter College of Design.

Tom Smith: Got it, okay. So, celebrating 70 years, a wide variety of really, really cool high-value vehicles there.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: You said there was a fee for entry. What does the day look like? Is it your typical car show? Take me through the day. I’m sure you got there early, right?

More Than Just Vehicles on Display

Clinton Quan: I got there around 11:00. I stayed for a few hours, sometimes I stay almost the entire day. Generally, the show, let’s see, it starts around 10:30 I believe.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: 10:00 or 10:30, usually the media is allowed earlier access. And they usually have a full schedule of events that take place throughout the day.

Tom Smith: So what kind of events?

Clinton Quan: Well, they’ll have panel discussions with designers.

Tom Smith: Oh, okay.

Clinton Quan: So this year they had three different panel discussions. Now, what’s different this year is that normally they have a lot of the discussions inside the college. They have an auditorium.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: And this year what they’ve decided to do is have it outside where all the vehicles are on display.

Tom Smith: That’s kind of cool.

Clinton Quan: Yeah, which is kind of cool. There’s pros and cons to both. Usually, it’s still very hot in late October, so it’s nice to

Tom Smith: How was the weather?

Clinton Quan: The weather was great, but it was very, very hot. It was probably in the upper 80s to low 90s.

Tom Smith: Where’s the school? Is it Pasadena?

“…a full schedule of events that take place throughout the day.”

Clinton Quan: It is Pasadena and it’s very close to the Rose Bowl.

Tom Smith: Alright.

Clinton Quan: So attendees will park at the Rose Bowl for free and there is a complimentary shuttle that will take you from the parking lot at the Rose Bowl to the campus at ArtCenter College of Design unless you’re willing to pay $30.

Tom Smith: Okay. The nuance professor. It’s okay we can carry on from that.

The ArtCenter Car Classic Event

Tom Smith: So they had some talks. What other events were going on? Did they have music, entertainment? Was there the buffets that you love, champagne, caviar kind of thing?

Clinton Quan: They have a lunch that’s set outside, which is nice, so you can enjoy the weather.

Tom Smith: The hot weather.

Clinton Quan: Yes, the hot weather. But they do have

Tom Smith: You can sit outside and sweat while your eating lunch.

“…there’s classic cars, muscle cars… concept vehicles… Something from pretty much every manufacturer, from every country as well.”

Clinton Quan: No, no they…

Tom Smith: Well there’s some really nice cars to look at.

Clinton Quan: They have a covered area where the luncheon takes place.

Tom Smith: Very good.

Clinton Quan: Yeah and then there’s an award ceremony that takes place.

Tom Smith: Okay, that’s what I wanted to get to. There is a competition of some sort?

Clinton Quan: Yes, I didn’t stay for the award’s ceremony, but there is an awards ceremony. Yes.

Tom Smith: Okay, and various categories? I mean I’d imagine you gotta have a lot of categories for

Clinton Quan: Yes, there’s a number of different categories. Correct.

Tom Smith: And is it different depending on the theme for each year’s show. No, I don’t believe it’s different…

Well, I guess they do have to customize it depending on the theme. A little bit, right?

Clinton Quan: Yes, yes. Correct.

Tom Smith: Alright, well very good. What else about the ArtCenter Car Classic, did I get the name right that time?

Clinton Quan: Yes, you got it. Fantastic.

Tom Smith: Woohoo. What else about the ArtCenter Car, and by the way, we’re gonna have, I think you snapped about 15 different cars. We’re going to have them on iDriveSoCal.com. There are some really, really, really cool cars.

Concept Cars and… Flying Cars

Both vehicles that were produced but these are such high-end vehicles that they weren’t mass produces, so there’s those. But then there’s also the concepts that are one-offs or maybe two or three offs at tops, but really neat stuff.

I mean there’s some Jetson types things in there that are… Well, that Hyundai we were talking about. Oh yeah, yeah, that Alfa Romeo.

And, you know it’s interesting because some of these cars, and I just mentioned Jetson’s… like is it real or is it hype? Are we going to have flying cars? Are we going to have vertical take-off and landing?

Clinton Quan: I think it’s gonna be a long time, it’s gonna be quite some time.

Tom Smith: Some people say, “I think it’s gonna be a really long time,” but then other people say, “hey look, some of the redesigned buildings that are being put together right now around LAX have reinforced roofs in order to accommodate vehicles that will be taking off and landing from the roofs.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: Vertical takeoff and landing vehicles.

Futuristic looking red sport coupe concept vehicle with tinted windows parked in the grass of the ArtCenter Car Classic

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: I mean that’s the crazy thing. And when you think about that and a show like the ArtCenter Car Classic and some of the prototype vehicles they have there, that look like they could be the interior of a flying car.

It just kind of tickles my fancy a little bit as an enthusiast as I am. The odd niche of enthusiast that I am. That’s scared of heights but can’t wait to see a flying car. Yeah, I don’t know.

Clinton Quan: Well, what was great about this car show because it was celebrating 70 years of the colleges Transportation Design Program, you got to see a little bit of everything.

Something for Everyone

There were American cars there, European automobiles, Japanese cars, even Hyundai, that’s a Korean car.

Tom Smith: Yeah.

Clinton Quan: So there’s classic cars, muscle cars, we saw the photo of the Ford Mustang. Concept vehicles, so a little bit of everything. Something from pretty much every manufacturer, from every country as well. So this was truly a celebration of ArtCenter College of Design.

Tom Smith: And as all the car shows that you go to happen to be, they’re all very like for the serious automotive enthusiast, right?

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: I mean everybody goes to OC Autoshow. Everybody goes to the LA Autoshow.

But these special ones that you pick out, and again the professor basically curates the events page on iDriveSoCal and he’s got some, a ton that I’ve never heard of… they’re always super cool and is this type of show, is this a family friendly event?

Clinton Quan: Oh this is absolutely a family-friendly event.

Red classic sport couple with hood up parked in the grass of the ArtCenter Car Classic

Tom Smith: 40-bucks, you’re like well do I want to take the kids to a Dodger’s game or do I want to go to a car show for the afternoon?

Clinton Quan: Oh it’s $40 for adults. I believe, I’d have to go back and check, but I believe for children it is free.

Tom Smith: Oh okay.

Clinton Quan: Yeah. If it’s not free then it would be a much-discounted rate.

Tom Smith: But definitely something that you want to consider bringing the whole family to.

The Art of Vehicle Design

You know what we need to do with these things, and you need to help me with this.

We’re gonna reach out to all these shows that we’ve covered this past first year of iDriveSoCal. We’re gonna let them know “hey we’re covering you guys” and then we need to get some tickets that we can then give away to the people that are listening.

Clinton Quan: Oh absolutely.

Tom Smith: We get a lot of response from, “hey this sounds really cool, didn’t even know it was going on.” We gotta do that.

Two-door beige futuristic concept car

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: Note to self and to you the podcast listener, and thank you for listening.

Tom Smith: Okay, anything else about the ArtCenter Car Classic before we wrap this one up?

Clinton Quan: Well for me this is a really special show because this show really focuses on automotive design and that’s why I fell in love with automobile design…

Tom Smith: And that’s why your transportation engineer, not a designer.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: Which is a whole another story that I’ve never gotten into but we need to.

“…this is a really special show because this show really focuses on automotive design and that’s why I fell in love…”

Clinton Quan: And that’s why I fell in love with automobiles for me the automobile is a work of art and when you go to this show you can see why it is. You’re gonna see cars from all different eras of the automotive past and current and from all different countries as well.

Tom Smith: And future with the concepts.

Clinton Quan: Yes and future. Absolutely.

Tom Smith: But we’ve yet to see a flying car concept at one of these shows. That’s gonna happen though. I think that’s gonna happen in the not so distant future.

Custodians of Art on Wheels

Clinton Quan: It will happen, yes.

Tom Smith: Alright.

Clinton Quan: Absolutely.

“The cars are going to live on… they are just like a work of art that needs to be kept and the flame of enthusiast needs to continue to burn.”

Tom Smith: Okay. Professor thank you as always. Always wonderful to hear you sharing your passion for all things automotive and your right they are works of art. It’s a neat thing.

Tom Smith: I’m gonna give the Automobile Driving Museum a plug here. And that is the museum in the industrial area in El Segundo, right by the Los Angeles International Airport, also known as LAX, you might know it as.

Dark gray classic Mercedes-Benz Gullwing parked in the grass at the ArtCenter Car Classic

One of the co-founders I was sitting and talking with and he referred to cars, and they have a bunch of old antiques, as you know you’ve been there, but he referred to them as works of art as well.

That they are going to, they already have outlived many of their creators, many generations, and what not, and what some of the museums are or collectors, there’re just simply custodians that are managing these vehicles during their lifetime.

The cars are going to live on, and we’re going to be gone. And they are just like a work of art that needs to be kept and the flame of enthusiast needs to continue to burn. And that’s one of the things that we’ll continue to do on iDriveSoCal with the help of the good professor Mr. Clinton Quan.

Clinton Quan: I will do my best to do that.

Tom Smith: Alright. Thank you, Professor, as always.

Tom Smith: For iDriveSoCal I’m Tom Smith. Thank you as always for tuning in.