2009 has been the year that the American auto industry was temporarily rescued from its deathbed by an infusion of Federal money and the “Cash for Clunkers” program.
And this year has also seen the return of cruising on Van Nuys Bl., which was once the heart and soul of the auto culture parade in Los Angeles.
Ironically, it has been the needy dealers who gave. Thanks to the empty lot generosity of defunct Rydell Chevrolet and the newly resurrected Van Nuys Cruising Association, literally hundreds, if not thousands of vintage cars and restored vehicles are now congregating and parking near the corner of Burbank and Van Nuys Boulevard.
In Ralph’s parking lot, 4&20, the Mobil station, and all along VNB north of Burbank to Oxnard, there was an enormous and enthusiastic collection of car lovers and their cars.
Culturally, these events may be nothing more than big car love-ins. But one could not help but notice the American flags, the overwhelmingly white faces, the fat and freckled faced ladies in the lawn chairs, the crew cuts and blue eyes, the NRA, POW, McCain/Palin and Marine insignias, the smiling LAPD officers… the subconscious nostalgia for a San Fernando Valley that exists no more. This was on the night that Obama spoke his big speech on health care, and one wonders who in this crowd might be grumbling dark thoughts about the coffee complexioned leader of the free world.
But all that is nonsense. Pure speculation. This is all about having fun, isn’t it?