Have a thing for rare cars from France & Italy?
Then you’ll find this one to be a special treat!

True Southern California car buffs know The Best of France and Italy Car Show.

One indicator of an auto show’s prowess is who shows up. And The Best of France and Italy regularly draws celebrity car connoisseur, Mr. Jay Leno.

And between Jay’s regular attendance and our own Professor, Clinton Quan, you know his one is legit!

Click play below to hear the Prof’s report on this annual Euro car shindig and scroll through the gorgeous pics below while you enjoy the commentary!

Strange yellow station wagon pictured with trophy @ The Best of France and Italy Car Show as part of iDriveSoCal Podcast banner 162

***Transcription***

Recorded in Los Angeles, CA

Best of France and Italy

Clinton Quan: They’ve been putting on this show for quite some time, and it’s just a gathering of automotive enthusiasts who are really interested, in French automobiles.

It’s one of the few car shows that has a real interest in these vehicles. You see a lot of Italian cars. But it’s rare that you see these many French automobiles at a car show.

Immaculate New Red Ferrari

Italian Seductress on Wheels

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! Today’s podcast is an auto show review, Best of France and Italy. This is one of those little obscure ones that the Professor mentions to me and I’m like, “Best of who?” And organizers, awesome show! Fantastic show. Professor sings it’s praises.

You guys could update the website a little bit, just sayin’. It looks like it’s been going on for quite a while because they gallery of the website goes back to-

Clinton Quan: 2001.

Yellow Ferrari front driverside profile

There’s something about yellow super-cars… nice!

Tom Smith: 2001, okay.

Clinton Quan: So at least 2001.

Tom Smith: And Best of France and Italy, obviously, indicates that it’s all French and Italian automobiles.

Clinton Quan: Correct, yes, all French and Italian automobiles.

Tom Smith: And now, this takes place in the San Fernando Valley where?

“…in the center of the San Fernando Valley in Lake Balboa… close to the 101 and 405, near Van Nuys at Woodley Park.”

Clinton Quan: It’s right in… pretty much in the center of the San Fernando Valley in Lake Balboa. So it’s close to the 101 and 405, near Van Nuys at Woodley Park on the west… actually, that’s the east side of Woodley Park.

Tom Smith: Okay, so it’s an outdoor venue.

Clinton Quan: It’s an outdoor venue.

Tom Smith: Through and through.

In the San Fernando Valley

Clinton Quan: Yes. It’s very close to The Japanese Garden, for those of you who are familiar with the Japanese garden there. It’s actually considered probably one of the best Japanese gardens in all of Southern California.

Tom Smith: Really?

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Red European car w/ hood up

Best of France & Italy 2018

Tom Smith: Well, my wife being half-Japanese, I’ve never heard of it, I’ve never been there.

Clinton Quan: Oh, you should definitely check it out.

Tom Smith: Yeah, go check out the Japanese garden and at the same time, check out the Best of France and Italy.

Clinton Quan: Yeah, you can schedule that for next year, and it’s always the first Sunday in November.

Tom Smith: Now, this one… you mentioned this one is… usually has some celebs at it, including Leno, right?

Clinton Quan: Jay Leno usually stops by.

“…right there you have your street credibility…  in addition to the Professor, Leno usually makes an appearance at this one, too.”

Tom Smith: So, I mean, right there you have your street credibility. Not only a Professor, of course, hey that’s all the street cred you need. But in addition to the Professor, Leno usually makes an appearance at this one, too.

Clinton Quan: Yeah, I believe it was two years ago he brought his Lamborghini Mira, and my son actually sat in his Lamborghini and took a photo.

Tom Smith: Well, that’s cool!

Clinton Quan: Yeah, very very cool. It’s one of the classic Lamborghini’s of all time.

Tom Smith: And so, the Best of France and Italy, now… obviously, when we think Italy, we think Ferrari.

Red Ferrari rear passenger profile

Same model as original Magnum PI?

Clinton Quan: Yes. Ferrari.

Tom Smith: Now Alfa is back in the mix.

Clinton Quan: Alfa Romeo.

Tom Smith: But all the pics of the Alfa’s that you showed me, or all the pictures that you showed me, I think I only spotted a few Alfa’s, and none of them were new ones, right? They’re all… these are all classics.

Italian Cars in the United States

Clinton Quan: There were actually brand new Alfa Romeos there.

Tom Smith: Oh really?

Clinton Quan: Yeah, they had the 4C, and they also had the Julia. I just didn’t take photos of those.

Tom Smith: Gotcha, okay. Were there any new Maserati’s there?

Brown late-model Ferrari

Classic Ferrari – looks like it’s smiling. 😀

Clinton Quan: There were… I didn’t see any new Maserati’s.

Tom Smith: So, okay. I’m kinda directing traffic on this one instead of just letting you explain it to me.

But let’s real quick go through, Italian cars and French cars that are new, in production right here in the United States now. Nothing French, right?

Clinton Quan: Oh, you’re talking about new French automobiles? There are no new French automobiles.

Tom Smith: In the United States right now.

“…in production right here in the United States now. Nothing French…”

Clinton Quan: Correct, yes.

Tom Smith: But Italian, we have obviously Ferrari.

Clinton Quan: Ferrari.

Tom Smith: Lambo.

Clinton Quan: Lamborghini.

Tom Smith: Alfa.

Clinton Quan: Alfa Romeo.

Tom Smith: Mas.

Clinton Quan: Maserati.

Clinton Quan: Fiat.

Tom Smith: Fiat. Is that it?

Clinton Quan: I think we’ve covered everything. I’m trying to think of there’s anything we missed.

Tom Smith: Both of us are looking at each other like “Uhhh…” I think that’s it.

Clinton Quan: I believe that’s it.

Tom Smith: Now, were all of those represented at this particular auto show?

Red classic European sports car

The Best of France & Italy

Clinton Quan: Yes, all of those makes were represented at this auto show. But the majority of the Italian vehicles, I would say, were Ferrari and Alfa Romeo.

Tom Smith: Okay. And then French, we have the Citron.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: Is the primary French. What are the other French cars?

Clinton Quan: Renault.

Tom Smith: Renault, of course.

Clinton Quan: And Peugeot.

Tom Smith: And Peugeot, okay.

French Cars in the United States

Clinton Quan: Yeah, those are the ones that I can think of off the top of my head.

Tom Smith: And both have had their runs as new production vehicles here in the United States.

Clinton Quan: I know Renault and Peugeot, I don’t recall when Citron was last-

Black French classic long-nose sedan

“Home James…”

Tom Smith: No, I don’t think Citron ever was. It was Renault and Peugeot.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: Okay. Just trying to wrap my head around the past and current.

Clinton Quan: Oh actually…

Tom Smith: Go ahead.

Clinton Quan: Bugatti.

Tom Smith: Bugatti! Oh, how could we miss that one?

“…how can we miss the ultra-exclusive automaker, Bugatti?”

Clinton Quan: Yeah, how can we miss the ultra-exclusive automaker, Bugatti?

Tom Smith: Right. You know Bugatti, and it’s funny, my folks were just in town to help babysit our son during this past weekend which was our First Annual Symposium for Hope for Stomach Cancer the stomach cancer patient advocacy non-profit that my wife and I put together.

Followed up by the 5k’s of Hope run-walk. If you didn’t make it out, please do make it out for future events. The Race Against Stomach Cancer, I think we’re gonna have it every year in November.

Tom Smith: But at any rate, I’m totally digressing. I apologize.

Yellow European station wagon with trophy

We all live in a Yellow Submarine, A Yellow Sub…

My folks were just out, and I was talking with my step-dad. He was saying “Boy, you know you really…” because they’re from suburbs of Chicago.

And now they live in the deep north woods of Wisconsin, where you hardly see any import vehicles, much less a lot of Benz’s and BMW’s.

He was commenting on how you just see those all the time. He’s like oh yeah, they’re always out here.

Head-Turning Cars in SoCal

But when you just mentioned Bugatti, for some reason it made me think that’s the one… So you mentioned Bugatti, and I was thinking about the conversation that I had with my step-father whereas that’s the one vehicle…

Or one of the few vehicles that even we here in Southern California kind of crank our heads around going “Whoa, hey, did you see that one?”

Immaculate New Red Ferrari

Totally worth posting twice!

You see a lot of Ferrari’s, you see a lot of Lamborghini’s. Even a McLaren from time to time. But you see a Bugatti on the road, that’s a pretty memorable experience. I don’t think I’ve seen many.

Clinton Quan: That’s an extremely… that’s on a whole other price level, so that’s why it makes it so incredibly memorable and special.

Tom Smith: Yeah.

Clinton Quan: You’re talking about a car that easily exceeds one million dollars, so that’s in a whole other-

“You’re talking about a car [Bugatti] that easily exceeds one million dollars…”

Tom Smith: Entry level.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: Do they even make-

Clinton Quan: There’s only one model.

Tom Smith: One model of Bugatti that’s out now?

Clinton Quan: Right now, yes.

Tom Smith: Okay. All right, well totally digress.

So it’s the Best of France and Italy, and hey, we’re talking about France and Italy. And the Midwest. And Hope for Stomach Cancer. But I gotta plug that thing, you know!

Red European sports car parked in grass

Best of France and Italy

Clinton Quan: Somehow you’re able to link everything together.

Tom Smith: I try. I try. Thank you, thank you, Professor.

So this show’s been going on for a while, and per their website and the gallery, since 2001.

So quite a number of years, and it’s one of those underground shows that the good Professor, with his finger on the pulse of everything happening in the automotive world here in Southern California, knows about.

Casual Non-Judged Show

And, shared with us. It was posted on the iDriveSoCal Events page.

Tell us about the show. You’ve been going for a number of years, right?

Clinton Quan: Oh, I’ve been going for a number of years. I live in the Valley so I’m very close. I feel like, if there’s one show I gotta go to, this is it, because it’s so close to where I live.

Beige European four door

Euro-sedan… kind of Pinto-esque

This is a non-judged show, so it’s not like a concours. Very casual show, people roll in at different times of the day. Some people get there really early, before 9:00.

Tom Smith: It’s just a one-day thing?

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: Saturday or Sunday?

“This is a non-judged show, so it’s not like a concours. Very casual show, people roll in at different times…”

Clinton Quan: It’s Sunday. It’s always the first Sunday in November, and it officially starts at 9:00, and the official time it ends is 4:00, but usually it’s over well before 4:00. Probably 2:30-3:00.

Tom Smith: And this is a free show?

Clinton Quan: It is a free show.

Tom Smith: Come and go as you wish.

Clinton Quan: It’s a family-friendly show. It’s a pet-friendly show as well.

Tom Smith: Perfect.

Clinton Quan: So a lot of the owners, they’ll bring in their cars, as I mentioned, much earlier than when the show starts, and some people, they bring it in much later, 10:30 or 11:00.

Tom Smith: And as far as some of the pics that we’re gonna post, there’s one that is a really goofy looking, kind of classic space-age station wagon taxi. Had a yellow submarine theme.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

“…there’s one that is a really goofy looking, kind of classic space-age station wagon taxi. Had a yellow submarine theme.”

Tom Smith: That was one of the French ones, a Citron, right?

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: And then the… couple of new Ferrari’s, which were wow.

Clinton Quan: Ferrari 488, yeah. That’s one of the current Ferrari’s.

Personal Collections on Display

Tom Smith: Gorgeous. Were those-

Clinton Quan: 660 horsepower.

Tom Smith: Was that someone’s personal ride, or did a manufacturer bring that out, or did a dealer bring that out?

Clinton Quan: That is someone’s personal ride. Almost all the cars are personally owned. I think it’s rare that you’ll see a manufacturer’s vehicle at a show like this.

Grey 2-door Renault hatchback

Renault taking cues from Volkswagen Golf

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: What do you know about the show, how this one got together? I mean, obviously, these are hardcore…

Clinton Quan: Yeah, I don’t know if there’s a single person that organizes this event, or if there’s a committee for the Best of France and Italy.

But yeah, they’ve been putting on this show for quite some time, and it’s just a gathering of automotive enthusiasts.

Tom Smith: And it goes-

“…they’ve been putting on this show for quite some time, and it’s just a gathering of automotive enthusiasts.”

Clinton Quan: Who are really… who are really interested, obviously, in French automobiles. It’s one of the few car shows that has real interest in these vehicles.

Tom Smith: Meaning Italy and France?

Clinton Quan: I mean, specifically French automobiles.

Tom Smith: Yeah.

Clinton Quan: You see a lot of Italian cars, obviously, in concours and the Art Center Car Classic, which is covered. But it’s rare that you see these many French automobiles at a car show.

Tom Smith: Now being at a park, are there any vendors that come out there as far as coffee or lunch or whatever? Is it kind of like bring a picnic?

Clinton Quan: Oh, yeah! There’s actually, usually, they have two… I think two or three food trucks, there’s a coffee shop vendor.

“…it’s rare that you see these many French automobiles at a car show.”

Tom Smith: Okay! So it’s somewhat organized.

Clinton Quan: And there’s also… there’s a number of individuals that bring out parts for French and Italian automobiles.

Swap Meet Element

Tom Smith: Oh, really? Vendors selling parts for… wow. Okay.

Clinton Quan: So, it’s sort of like… almost like a swap meet that they put on.

Tom Smith: Interesting.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Black European 2-door convertible with top up

Classic Fiat?

Tom Smith: Especially when you consider the level of vehicle, because that’s… I mean, some of those cars are museum-worthy. At least their rarity if not their condition, I don’t know.

Clinton Quan: Correct, yeah. I would say the rarity. So this is a great place to go find some parts for your vehicle, where you normally wouldn’t be able to find.

Tom Smith: Now is this the type of show where we’re gonna be able to see vehicles from Peterson or Mullen or any of the museums, or not likely? More just personal rides?

Clinton Quan: It’s possible to see cars from a museum. I think I may have seen some vehicles from some of the museums in prior years.

“…this is a great place to go find some parts for your vehicle, where you normally wouldn’t be able to find.”

Tom Smith: All right.

Clinton Quan: Yeah. There’s a really wide and vast collection of automobiles. A lot to see.

Tom Smith: At this particular show.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: Because I was gonna say, overall yeah, obviously. That’s why we do a lot of podcasts.

Clinton Quan: Yes, specifically for this show. This park is … it’s pretty spacious, and they … the cars are really, really spread out.

Red Ferrari w/ targa top off

Pre-Original Magnum PI Ferrari

Tom Smith: How many cars are typically… so, and I didn’t see any stanchions, either. So people just pull up on the grass and it’s kind of like, as you mentioned, spread out, find a spot?

Clinton Quan: When you drive in, there are volunteers that will designate where to park your vehicle.

Tom Smith: Where your spot is.

Clinton Quan: Yeah, they have a section for Ferrari’s, they have a section for Lamborghini’s.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Automotive Brand Separation 

Clinton Quan: The French automobiles, those are all separated as well. They have categories.

Tom Smith: How many vehicles do you usually see at this show?

Clinton Quan: That’s a good question. I would think, at least a couple hundred. 300 or so?

Tom Smith: Really?

“…the fact that they’re just in the parking lot, no stanchions, that kind of casual environment…”

Clinton Quan: Oh yeah, there’s a …

Tom Smith: Wow!

Clinton Quan: There’s quite a few cars at this show, yes.

Tom Smith: So, I mean, you figure two, three hundred cars, each car usually brings a multiple of two, three people, right? Five, six people maybe?

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: I mean, are we talking about those kinds of numbers attending the show?

Clinton Quan: I have no idea what the attendance is. Yeah, I don’t have any numbers on that.

Tom Smith: Okay, I’ll let you off the hook on that, Professor.

Orange European 2-door

European General Lee coupe minus the graphics???

Clinton Quan: But there’s definitely … there’s quite a collection of automobiles at the show.

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: So what else about the Best of France and Italy out there in the San Fernando Valley? I gotta get to this show.

The pics are really… they’re good-looking cars and the fact that they’re just in the parking lot, no stanchions, that kind of casual environment, that excites me.

“Even if you’re not into French cars, but you love Italian cars like Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s…”

Clinton Quan: It’s actually on the… in the park, not in the parking lot.

Tom Smith: Yeah, that’s what I meant. Sorry.

Clinton Quan: Yes. I know what you mean.

Tom Smith: Thank you, appreciate that.

Clinton Quan: Well, I would say if you wanna see some really unique and interesting French automobiles, this is certainly the car show to go to.

French and Italian Cars for Sale

Even if you’re not into French cars, but you love Italian cars like Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s, Fiats, Alfa Romeos, some of the classics, the ones you normally don’t get to see at… such as a concours.

Then this is the show where you’ll be able to see those vehicles.

“…if you’re looking to maybe get an older Alfa Romeo and maybe get a good deal…”

Tom Smith: It’s on the Professor’s list, so you know it’s worthy of checking out.

Clinton Quan: And if you’re looking to maybe get an older Alfa Romeo and maybe get a good deal …

Tom Smith: Was there a lot of good sales going on there, too?

Clinton Quan: They are from .. I wouldn’t say a lot, but there are cars that are for sale.

Tom Smith: All right.

Clinton Quan: So, you might be able to find something really special that you wouldn’t see at another show as well.

Tom Smith: All right, fantastic. Anything else before we wrap?

Clinton Quan: I think that’s it!

Red Euro coupe

Best of France and Italy 2018

Tom Smith: Professor Quan on the Best of France and Italy, 2018 style. Thank you as always.

If there’s anybody out there that is interested in this genre, that also knows how to build a website, I think you knock on the door of these organizers because the show is much much much bigger and better than what’s represented. All due respect, guys, but than what’s represented online.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

“…I may have seen some vehicles from some of the museums in prior years.”

Tom Smith: The website could use some updating. This show is a really really cool one. So with that being said, again all due respect.

Way to put on a great show, guys. If there’s anybody out there that’s interested in helping… sounds like a volunteer gig.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: But you know, a passion project nonetheless. Without further ado. Professor, thank you again. For iDriveSoCal, I’m Tom Smith. Thank you, as always, for tuning in.