Maybe the weather has a lot to do with it, but California is one of the hottest beds of car culture in the world. Especially Southern California. As someone born, raised and currently living on the East Coast, I’m always jealous of what West Coast car enthusiasts have access to. Thankfully, the second episode of the new season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports is all about Los Angeles, so you can at least get a small taste of it.
Not only is Los Angeles close to miles and miles of the most perfect driving roads imaginable (Angeles Crest Highway and the Glendora Mountain Road, just to name two) but it’s also home to countless pockets of different scenes and aftermarket shops. One of them, of course, is Singer.
For those of you who have been living under a rock, Singer is the tuner shop that basically rebuilds 964 911s from the ground up. At a quick glance, a Singer car looks like just another clean, vintage 911. But once you get in close and notice the details, you could lose hours just admiring them.
Mike Spinelli, the lucky bastard, gets a chance to get up-close and personal with one of Singer’s cars. Only he was allowed to drive it, but Singer’s test driver, Seamus Taaffe, kindly drove me back to the location up Angeles Crest Highway after lunch between shoots.
Oh. My. God. I had never ridden in anything that felt so planted on the road and cornered so flat in the turns. With the re-worked flat-six screaming raspily behind us, Taaffe kept it in third gear, which he lovingly called the “magic gear.” We did the entire run in third gear, and he did not do it slowly.
I would upload a video here, but the truth is that I was having so much fun I simply fucking forgot to shoot one.
Singer is great. The ACH is great. But for all of the sunny and good things Southern California car culture has to offer, there are also dark sides to it. Like street racing, which we’ve covered on this site before.
In recent years, street racing has taken the form of sideshows, where people block off prominent intersections and do stunts in their cars. It’s extremely dangerous behavior that results in countless injuries and sometimes even deaths. Fueled by notoriety on social media, I’m not sure there is an easy way of fixing the problem.
Alex Roy conducts an extremely in-depth and fascinating investigation into street racing, the culture and what sort of efforts the LAPD is putting into stopping it. He delves into why people do what they do.
And finally, I explore Pasadena’s ArtCenter College of Design, where I could pretend for a few short hours that I was talented enough to attend that wonderful place that’s filled with so many talented people.
You can see all of this and more on the LA episode of /DRIVE, airing this Sunday, Oct. 28, on NBC Sports at 8:30 p.m. EST.