Sunday, March 29, 2009
A VW on the Sunset Strip, March 1962
A panorama of the Sunset Strip from the corner of Sunset Plaza in early 1962 (click the image for a version you can actually see) with a mix of Detroit iron and European imports that was typical for Southern California at the time. The VW near the center, a black 1958-61 model, sports the yellow and black California license plates that would be discontinued that year, as do all the other cars that surround it. The Playboy Building is about to join the lineup of legendary jazz clubs on the south side of the street at the right, and billboards advertise Andy Williams at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas and a high-desert real estate swindle closer to home. Below the Andy Williams billboard is Ben Frank's, a Googie-style coffee shop that Frank Zappa used to frequent in the mid-'60s because they didn't turn away long-haired countercultural types. It's still there, but it has now become "Mel's Drive-In" in the peculiar way that authentic landmarks sometimes get replaced by the film industry's idealized version of themselves in Los Angeles. The Union 76 and Standard stations look like something straight out of Ed Ruscha's Twentysix Gasoline Stations.
The goal in the restoration of my Ghia is to make it look like it could be dropped right into this image.