Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

VALLEY NEWSWATCH / A SPECIAL REPORT: CARS AND THE VALLEY

August 14, 1995|Maggie Barnett

VALLEY OF WHEELS: The automobile virtually created the San Fernando Valley and other northern L.A. suburbs, and it shows. Your house has a doorway directly into the garage? According to the county's Petersen Automotive Museum, that's an architectural touch pioneered in the Valley, when tract houses sprouted in the late 1940s and the auto reached new importance as a commuter necessity, virtually a member of the family.

VALLEY'S WHEELS: Valley folks, in turn, create automobiles. Even though the Van Nuys General Motors plant is fading into history, Burbank has become the locus of electric-car development. . . . Most popular new cars registered locally in 1994: Toyota Camry (3,950), followed by the Honda Accord (3,190) and the Ford Explorer (2,890). That's according to the Polk Co. of Taylor, Mich., which tracks such things.

TANKS FOR SPEED: After World War II, Alex Xydias and Dave DeLangton bought up surplus 350-gallon aircraft belly tanks and stuffed Ford V-8s into them in Burbank. One of their So-Cal Speed Shop Specials hit 198.34 m.p.h. at Bonneville in 1952, setting two world speed records. . . . Xydias, who drove it, poses above with a restored "lakester" at the Petersen museum.

SWIFT JUSTICE: There are too many fast drivers on Valley streets, scene of half the 16 traffic fatalities blamed on speeding in the metropolitan area so far this year. Says LAPD Officer George Callandrillos: "Apparently, to drivers in the Valley, stop signs and red lights are mere suggestions." . . . A ticket for more than 26 m.p.h. over the limit can cost $250 plus a court appearance. And just wait until your insurance company hears about it.

LAW OF THE DESERT: Far harsher, of course, are drunk driving penalties--just how harsh varies widely. The Malibu-Calabasas court jails 22% of first-time DUI offenders. San Fernando is the Valley's sternest court at 56%. Van Nuys jails 40%. But if you're driving drunk in Lancaster, pack a toothbrush and kiss the family goodby . . . because 98.7% of first-time offenders get the slammer.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|