There’s good news for custom car fans visiting this year’s LA Auto Show. Galpin Auto Sports, one of LA’s biggest car dealership networks, has a dedicated section for modified metal, with around 40 different creations on show.
Below the main show arena, you’ll also find The Garage, an area packed with the wildest vehicles and hottest supercars. We journey deep underground to see what lurks beneath the show floor.
Jordan Maron’s Ford GT
Haven’t heard of Jordan Maron? Well, if you don’t spend your time watching other people play video games on YouTube, that’s perhaps understandable.
However, having 10 million followers hanging on your every word is a lucrative business. One that allowed 26-year-old Jordan to purchase a 2017 Ford GT supercar. He then had it painted in Miami Blue by Galpin Auto Sports.
Ken Block’s Ford RS200 Evolution
There’s a bigger chance you’ve heard of this guy, though. Perennial rubber-burner, rally driver, and business owner, Ken Block has a host of special cars in his Hoonigan stable.
He may have just unleashed a custom Ford pickup truck, but it’s his RS200 that is here in LA. One of just 200 built to homologate the car for Group B rallying in the 1980s, this Evolution-spec RS200 produces over 700hp.
The craze for ‘rolling on dubs’ certainly hasn’t gone away Stateside. On this Lincoln Navigator, the wheels are a faintly ridiculous 26 inches. Yet, given the vast size of the Navigator, they don’t look too out of place.
Matte red paintwork, matched with plenty of gloss black detailing, means this Navigator certainly stands out.
2018 SEMA Show Ford Mustang
Another car you’re unlikely to lose in a parking lot is this special Ford Mustang. Built by Galpin Auto Sports for the 2018 SEMA Show, the metaphorical kitchen sink has been chucked at this pony car.
Look beyond the epic livery and there are custom 1221 wheels and Brembo brakes, plus a host of performance parts from Roush and APR.
RWB Porsche 911
Rauh-Welt Begriff is a Porsche tuning company like no other. Founded in Japan, RWB creates bespoke 911s, fitting them with outlandish bodykits and massive spoilers.
Inspiration comes from the GT racing Porsches of the 1990s, and this 993-based creation wears a suitably huge rear wing. We are also in love with the beautiful wide wheels and purple paint.
Porsche 911 GT3 RS
It proves just how mad the cars built by Rauh-Welt Begriff are when a 911 GT3 RS looks tame by comparison.
At least it’s still rocking the purple look, and we imagine this one would be the prime choice for some track-day action.
Three in a row means we’re calling purple as the ‘must-have’ hue for this year’s LA Auto Show. At least in the custom tuning world, that is.
Global markets might have ditched the Accord years ago, but it still matters in the United States. This latest 10-generation car can even be had with a detuned version of the turbo VTEC engine found in the Civic Type R.
Galpin operates a network of dealerships across southern California, with Mazda being one of the key brands. The 2018 LA Auto Show is important for Mazda, marking the launch of its all-new 3 model.
Back in 2016, the then-new CX-5 made its debut in Los Angeles. We imagine Mazda didn’t envisage it wearing bold two-tone yellow paint, though.
Mazda Cosmo Sport Series II
Going further back into Mazda history means we arrive at the rather lovely Cosmo Sport. Produced between 1967 and 1972, this was one of the first cars to use a two-rotor Wankel rotary engine.
Later Series II cars like this one produced 128hp, and featured a five-speed manual gearbox. With less than 1,200 built, they are very collectible, and this one appears original.
Regarded as the first ‘proper’ car produced by Mazda, the diminutive R360 first went on sale in 1960.
Built to comply with Japanese kei-car legislation, the R360 was powered by a tiny rear-mounted V-twin engine, making just 16hp.
Ford Mustang Bullitt
This isn’t just any Highland Green classic 1968 Ford Mustang. Oh no, this is one of the cars used in the movie Bullitt. After time on the silver screen, this Mustang spent years being used as a regular family car by the Kiernan family.
Rediscovered just before the 50th anniversary of the film, the Mustang has been restored to bring it back to full glory. It also features on the National Historic Vehicle Register.
Having been on sale since 2011, time is running out for the sixth-generation Ford Explorer. A new model will debut next year, with talk of a high performance ST version on the cards.
That hasn’t stopped Galpin modifying several Explorers for the LA Show. This one wears a rather subtle white and brown paint scheme, matched with chunky off-road tyres and wheels.
This Explorer, meanwhile, gets plenty of Galpin Auto Sports logos, along with similarly big wheels and tyres.
Ford Econoline Cruising Van
Jeff Dunham is a household name in the United States, renowned for his comedy and ventriloquism acts. He is also a huge car fan, although some of his vehicle choices are far from conventional.
When Jeff wanted to build a custom 1970s Ford Econoline Cruising Van, he turned to Galpin for assistance. The result is this retro-tastic creation, complete with porthole windows in the rear.
Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon
Dunham had inspiration for his Ford Econoline. He already owned a Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon, complete with striped paintwork and porthole window. The combination is certainly an acquired taste.
Another sizeable SUV made especially for the US market. Volkswagen produces the giant Atlas at its manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It’s proved popular, with 100,000 made in less than two years.
Naturally the special livery and big wheels fitted to this Atlas did not come from the factory, but were fitted by Galpin Auto Sports.
Upstairs, Volvo might not have any cars on display at the 2018 LA Auto Show, but that hasn’t stopped Galpin bringing along two.
No doubt smug about being in contention for the 2019 World Car of the Year title, the XC40 looks perfectly relaxed among all the modified metal.
Volvo V90 Cross Country
Serious lifestyle action is occurring with this V90 Cross Country. Not only are there chunky off-road tyres, but the addition of a roof rack makes it primed for life in the wilderness.
Proof, if needed, that getting off the beaten track doesn’t mean having to abandon your sense of Scandinavian cool.
Consistently rated as one of the most beautiful cars ever produced, we’re relieved to see that this E-Type has been left well alone.
No giant wheels, huge spoilers, or terrifying paintwork here. Phew.
Svipe Ford F-150 Raptor S
The same cannot be said for this Ford Raptor – built as a collaboration between Galpin Auto Sports, 1221 Wheels and YouTuber Salomondrin.
The 20-inch wheels are new modular design, while the suspension has been lifted, with bigger brakes also fitted. Inside is a custom white leather and Alcantara interior, so be sure to clean your shoes before getting in.
Aston Martin DBS Superleggera
Forget the fact that the flagship DBS Superleggera is less than six months old. Galpin is still more than happy to get started on something so box-fresh.
Aston Martin Vantage
Aston Martin is one of the dealer franchises run by Galpin Auto Sports, which explains their access to new vehicles like the latest Vantage.
We imagine the twin-turbocharged V8 engine, sourced from Mercedes-AMG, makes the potential for performance tuning rather tempting.
Lotus Evora N400
See, we called it. Purple is certainly the most happening colour beneath the main show floor at the 2018 LA Auto Show.
Wearing a hue titled as ‘Plum Crazy Purple’, this particular Evora owes its paintwork to classic muscle cars from the 1970s. More importantly, it’s for sale, meaning if you love the shade, you can buy it for $125,000 (£97,500) right now.
Galpin Lotus Evora
It’s another Evora, but this time wearing the distinctive John Player Special black and gold livery.
There is also a rather large spoiler bolted to the back, which looks to have been taken from the Type 124 GT race car.
The I-Pace is extremely new to the USA, but Galpin have their hands on one through their Jaguar dealership franchise.
We don’t expect the dramatic stickers to be a popular accessory, for some reason…
RingBrothers 1971 De Tomaso Pantera ADRNLN
This is serious modified car. Built by RingBrothers, with an interior designed by Nike, almost every inch of this Pantera was reimagined for the 21st century. More than 5,000 hours of work went into handcrafting each new body panel before adding the 600hp Chevrolet V8 engine.
At auction in 2015, this car was bought by Richard Rawlings of Gas Monkey Garage. The sale set a new record, with a whopping price of $346,500 (£270,000) when the hammer fell.
Custom Lexus RC
It might not be the traditional choice of modified motor, but dropping this Lexus RC to the floor does wonders for its stance.
A sizeable set of rims and a custom flip-paint colour scheme would help it fit in outside the local drive-thru.
Modified Lexus UX
More lifestyle action with this customised Lexus UX crossover. Although given that most mountain bike courses are out in the countryside, we wonder just how practical this might be.
Slammed Lexus ES
With this Lexus running so low to the ground, we would bet money on there being an expensive adjustable air suspension system nestling inside.
It certainly makes you appreciate the dramatic swoops and angles of the original design.