I n Los Angeles, a car not only transports its residents around town, but also makes a statement about one's status and image. As they say about Angelenos--you are what you drive.
So if your dream has been to tool around town in a slick Rolls-Royce or hot-pink Cadillac, but you can't afford one, a rental agency may be the way to go.
For those who would rent to impress, here are 10 places to rent the wheels of your dreams. Prices are for daily rental (there are cheaper packages), and extra mileage charges are not included.
Budget Rent-a-Car, 8747 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, (213) 655-5894.
The first Budget office started in 1958 with used economy cars, but now has full-time security guards to protect the Mercedeses, Cadillacs, Rollses and Ferraris dressing up its parking lot. Though the name Budget defies its selection, the company has four "luxury-line" branches that feature 1986 and '87 models of high-priced luxury cars, starting with the Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible at $400. For $350, one may rent the 328 Ferrari GTS, Mondial Ferrari or Rolls Spirit 3. The unique Bitter, a German car that premiered in 1985, or a 560 SEC Mercedes is available for $200. Lower-priced cars include the Porsche 928 for $175, several Mercedeses at $150 and the Corvette, BMW 635 or 735, Jaguar XT6 or XJS, each at $120. At $85.95 are the Porsche 944, Mark F Lincoln, Cadillac Deville, BMW 325, and for $85 is the Audi 5000 Turbo or El Dorado convertible.
Budget will deliver the car to one's hotel and will make arrangements to have a car delivered even as far away as Palm Springs (charging $100-$150 for delivery costs). Other locations are at 300 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 659-3473; 4500 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey, (213) 821-8200, and its Beverly Hills headquarters, 9815 Wilshire Blvd., (213) 274-9173. Open Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and weekends 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Classic Auto Leasing, 1100 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, (213) 204-2211.
For $10,000 per month, one can rent a plush suite on wheels created out of a Greyhound bus by an Oregon company. The 40-foot-long vehicle, worth half a million, contains a queen-size bed, full kitchen with microwave, VCR, TV, stereo, telephone, full bath and can sleep six people. If you need it now, you'll have to wait: Eddie Murphy has rented it for three months and will be using it in "Beverly Hills Cop II." The 24-year-old company also rents Rolls-Royce Corniche convertibles for $400, Ferraris for $250-$350, Mercedeses for $100, Jaguars for $75-$95 and Corvettes for $100. Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
7-11 Rent-a-Car, 200 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach, (714) 650-1180.
Literally fit for a king, the 1971 Mercedes Benz 600 limousine was originally bought for the shah's twin sister in Iran. Also in the 4-year-old company's fleet are the Ferrari 308 and Mondial and Rolls-Royce for $250; a Corvette or a Jaguar for $95; a Porsche 944 for $85, and Mercedes 300 diesels and BMW 325Es ranging from $49.95 to $95. Open every day 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Rent-a-50s, 1027 Broadway, Santa Monica, (213) 452-1889.
Old-style, big long cars with big tail fins, huge Jayne Mansfield-style bullet bumpers and lots of chrome celebrate the rock 'n' roll era. The company stores a 1956 Buick Century Convertible, an all-electric car with a gas-pedal starter ($129); a rounded-design 1958 Chevy Impala convertible ($99); a 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, ($49); a 1953 Ford Customline, ($20), and a 1959 Dodge Coronet ($30). Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Gold Prestige, 859 N. La Cienega Blvd., Hollywood, (213) 271-4879.
Exotic cars for rent start with the Rolls-Royce Corniche, $350; Ferrari 308 GTSI and Mondial, $300; Excalibur, $200; Mercedes 500 SL, $150; Porsche 911, $140; Corvette convertibles for $135; Porsche 944 custom convertible Cabriolet, $125; Porsche 928, $120; Mercedes Cabriolet, $100, and BMWs at $100. Headquartered in San Francisco, the 3-year-old company offers a one-way rental between Los Angeles and San Francisco, with a drop-off fee of $150. Open every day 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Other locations in Monte Carlo, Geneva, Zurich and Paris.
Southwest Car Rental, 12312 W. Olympic Blvd., West Los Angeles, (213) 820-9393.