Since it doesn't open until 11:00 on Friday, how about meeting for breakfast somewhere beforehand and getting there when the doors open? Is that Speed Cafe on highway 1 any good (and still open)? I don't know my LA geography well, is that anywhere near the show?
Friday is definitely the best day to go, although we should verify with the Lotus folks that they'll have our goodies there by then. Many companies aren't fully set-up until the weekend...
Pacific Coast Hwy is 15 - 20 miles (guessing) away from Downtown LA where the convention center is.
My favorite restaurant in LA is only a few blocks away. Engine Company No. 28. It used to be a fire station - in fact one of my great uncles actually was a fireman in that station back in the 30's. Anyway, it's not the cheapest place in town, but the food is great, and they use recipes from fire stations around the country. They make the best Chili I've ever had, as well as some of the best fried chicken on the planet.
Yeah, the only problem is I get back from a little trip to the UK on the 2nd. Hopefully I'll have lots of info to share as I'm trying to arrange a trip to Hethel while over there. I'm also renting an Elise for a couple of days, and going on a drive with some of the folks from SELOC.
I'll be there, wether or not I get the Elise.... I live in Burbank so the LA auto show is a yearly event for me.
As for the Elise, Thunder Ranch's 550A or the RSK is REALLY tempting..... we'll see, I need to go back down there to arramge a test drive. When the final specs for the Elise gets announced, I'll make up my mind then.....
I have family in OC, so I'm usually around for the holidays. The LA show's also an annual event for me. I've missed maybe 2 or 3 of the last 15 or so years.
I implore you to not go Sat/Sun. LA's become the 3rd largest auto show worldwide, drawing > a million attendees, most of them on the 2 weekends. Think Disneyland on a holiday weekend: spend all day in line and not have time to see everything. I don't know how much less crowded Friday the 2nd will be since it's opening day.
If at all possible, go during the media days (Mon/Tue, Dec 29/30). Not only is it much less crowded (a few hundred people vs. a hundred thousand people), they feed you, and you get the cool press kits that you see on ebay (the Audi leather CD cases Car & Driver is giving away are probably leftover A8 press kits). Besides, if Lotus makes a big announcement/unveiling, it will be during these days. It may be possible for a sponsoring dealership or aftermarket booth to get you in for these days--I don't know this, and you didn't hear it from me.
Also, if you're willing to spend the extra money (to go to charity), there's a preview night immediately after the last media day. Otherwise, I'd go Mon-Thur.
Every year there are discount coupons available. This year they're at Chevron, so stop by a LA/OC station and pick up more coupons than you need; it's an easy way to make people smile when you give strangers $2 coupons they didn't know existed.
I went to one of the media days at the LA Auto Show several years ago. A friend got a media badge from a friend of his who owns an independent car mag (not saying which one). About 10 of us crafted counterfeit badges and got in with no problems. It was pretty cool, as there are lots of giveaways and food and special announcements.
True story #1. I'm really interested in the Porsche Boxster, which wasn't out yet and hadn't made it to that particular auto show for some reason. So I'm talking to the woman manning the Porsche booth to get some details about the car. After 10 minutes, she says "Why don't you come out and test drive the car and write it up for your magazine". Oops, I had forgotten it looked like I worked for a magazine. I said something about being freelance and I would see what I could work out. I didn't take her up on the offer (and she was cute, to boot).
True story #2. Our gang of 10 is wolfing down free food in the hospitality room, all wearing our xxx Communications badges. In walks our "boss", my friend's friend (who basically was running a one-man operation). He sees 10 of us with his company's name on our badges and his jaw hits the floor. Too funny ... except he wasn't exactly amused. He calls my friend over and explains how much trouble he will be in if we get caught and asks us to leave. Which we do, since we had already been there for a few hours and were pretty much done. By the way, after the shock wore off, the guy thought it was pretty funny and he still invites my friend (hard-core car nut)to go to the media days.
In a post-911 world, it might be harder to pull this off. Good suggestion to talk to the dealer to see if we can get in. Would be well worth it.
I fly back from London on the 1st, then leave for Central America on the 4th. This gives me only 2 days to go to the show. Most likely I will pick friday. I havent missed an auto show in years and I certainly dont intend on missing this one...and see an S3. I purposely booked my flights in such a way so that I could go.
Let me know if you need any help organizing. I am from LA originally and might be able to offer meeting suggestions.