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One Lap of the Web: Car creatures of the Hollywood Hills

Thu, 24 Apr 2014

-- Jay Leno, presumably back from filming McQueen's Jaguar XKSS, now places his chin atop the front seat of a 1925 Doble E-20, which, being steam-powered, fulfills Leno's interpretation of alt-fuel. Abner Doble built his first steam car while he was still in high school, and by 1915 the Doble Detroit had set new standards of reliability, convenience, noiselessness, and speed -- in 1925, Howard Hughes drove Leno's Model E to 132 mph.

-- Los Angeles, car culture capital of the world, has its fair share of hipsters, eccentrics, airheads and Chrysler LeBarons. Photographer Ryan Schude roamed the streets of Burbank, Pasadena, Elysian Valley and Glassel Park for his "Them and Theirs" series. The portraits include props and whimsical details alongside hipster motorcycles, Subaru Brats, and unfortunate short shorts. (Sadly, Leno was not photographed.) If you ever see any of these cars spinning down the Glendale Freeway, give 'em a wave. Chances are, their whimsical owners are probably on their way to an audition, a spin class, or one of any number of things Angelenos are purported to be heading to on a regular basis. If they could, that is.

-- Seventy-five years ago, Los Angeles opened what would be "the nation's last great rail station," the Parkinsons-designed Union Station, on May 3, 1939. Influential Disney animator Ward Kimball, who loved trains so much Disneyland later named a locomotive after him, filmed the only existing footage of the opening ceremony across downtown LA. A parade ensues. This year, Union Station plans a major redevelopment in the hopes that it can finally, succinctly prove 1980s New Wave songs to be the lies they are.

-- Lastly, here's a rotary turbo-13B-powered, used-to-be-a-Bugeye-Sprite autocross terror driven by SCCA Pro Solo champion Jeff Kiesel -- who raids the SCCA St. George Match Tour while wearing his 12-year-old daughter's baby doll T-shirt because he lost a bet. It's not known whether said shirt shaved off precious grams and increased aerodynamic efficiency to help Kiesel toward a second-place overall finish.

By Blake Z. Rong