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Decades of dedication to
the pinnacle of automotive creations


Welcome to the fruits of my labor (very fast fruits)!

I am a third-generation Los Angeleno so I have cars in my blood and on my brain. I grew up going to (and sometimes racing at) San Fernando Valley Raceway and Lyons Drag Strip (Long Beach) as well as Ascot Park (the dirt track in Torrance). I drove anything that I could get the keys to (and some which I figured out how to hot-wire – all with the owners’ permission, of course). When I was at Palisades High School (Pacific Palisades – West Los Angeles), I wrote the “Car of the Week” column (1964-1965), following in the footsteps (driving shoes?) of my older brother, who had written that column at University High School some four years before me. Some weeks I wrote about my friends’ cars but other times I was able to talk local dealers out of giving me a car for a few hours. Talk about a different time in the world! And what dealers cooperated? How about borrowing GTOs, Olds 442s, Buick GSs and more? I also got to drive (with the rep) a Mustang GT350 at the Shelby headquarters near LA Airport and was able to interview the owners of other unusual cars, like the Chrysler turbine car. I even met and wrote about Craig Breedlove, who had just broken the land-speed record at Bonneville in his “Spirit of America”. Fun times!

Flash forward a few (several?) decades and I now work as an attorney with a specialty in representing family offices worldwide and also handle legal matters involving luxury homes (I am the founder and chairman of both my law firm’s Family Office Group and our Luxury Home Group). I also am a member of my law firm’s Motor Vehicle Group. Many of my clients (and friends and other contacts) have amazing car collections and I occasionally get to drive some of their cars, especially when I help a client buy something special. For example, in the last few years, I have driven most of the superfast models made by Bugatti (a few times!), Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, Aston Martin, McLaren, Pagani, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Hummer EV and more. I have participated in track days with Bugatti, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Bentley and Cadillac (yes, a Cadillac track day, with their Corvette- powered CTS-V).

As a member of the Checkered Flag 200 (the top support group of The Petersen Automotive Museum), I participate in events about a dozen times a year.  We organize or attend car shows, rallys, garage tours and more.  It’s great group of people and it’s wonderful to support one of the top motor vehicle museums in the world.

I also am in to motorcycles (I have owned a slew of Triumph Bonnevilles, most recently a T140E, which I owned for over 35 years), a 1969 (first-year) Honda 750 and a BMW R1100RS sports-touring bike.  And I am a self-trained mechanic (cars and bikes) and worked as a boat mechanic before going to college.  In these articles, my only nod to my motorcycling interests is the article on four superbikes — that was a really fun one to research!

In 2012, I became the Fine Autos Editor of Haute Living, Haute Time and Haute Residence magazines (and online) and it’s been a fantastic ride (all puns intended) and I am extremely grateful to the Publishers, Seth Semilof and Kamal Hotchandani, as well as the San Francisco edition’s Owner and Publisher, Olivia Hsu Decker, for their trust and confidence in me for so many years.  And, in 2020, I became the Fine Autos Editor for the Beverly Hills Courier newspaper and magazine, and I am very grateful to publishers Lisa Bloch and John Bendheim for the privilege of working with them both.

In general, manufacturers drop their vehicles at my Southern California home and leave them for a week. I drive them wherever I am going during that period (the Bentley Bentayga is a fantastic grocery getter; the McLaren 675LT may not be the best choice for Home Depot runs). A few times a year, the manufacturers fly me somewhere to experience their vehicles in special environments — Bentleys in Scotland, Lamborghinis in and around Park City then to Jackson, Rolls- Royce Cullinan on the ski slopes of Jackson Hole, Bentleys in Monaco and the South of France and more. The highlight to date: spending about a week with Bugatti in France, driving their Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse on the roads around Provence and then on the track (Circuit Paul Ricard at over 200 MPH!) and then visiting the factory in Molsheim. First runner-up: driving the Bugatti Chiron on one leg of the Los Angeles-to-Pebble Beach run a few months ago — 2.5 hours of seat time in a 1,500HP car is an incredible experience! (The frosting on that cake?  My co-pilot was Andy Wallace, a wonderful human being who holds the world record of over 300 MPH in a production car (a Bugatti, of course).)  And I must mention the Pagani Huayra on the streets around Beverly Hills. I am a very lucky man indeed especially because, with rare exception, I only write about what I’ve actually spent time driving.

These articles represent selections from the portfolio of my work since 2012. I hope that my delight — of all things automotive and of writing — comes through to you.

Tim Lappen
June, 2022


  • 2022-Rolls-Royce-Black-Badge-Ghost

    2022 Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost

    INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ATTORNEYS WILL TELL YOU THAT when a brand reaches the upper echelons of success, its trademark can attain a secondary meaning. The name "Rolls-Royce" achieved that success decades ago, so a product tagline that says "the Rolls-Royce of [fill in the blank]" tells the consumer that the product is extremely well designed, is made of high-quality materials, will stand the test of time, and will be the best there is....

  • 2023 ASTON MARTIN DBX707

    2023 Aston Martin DBX707

    ASTON MARTIN IS ONE OF THE LATEST MANUFACTURERS TO ENTER THE SUV parade, to be followed soon by Ferrari and Lotus. But not long after the Aston DBX arrived, the company delivered this fire-breather, the DBX707. And not to be outdone by others, Aston mated its beautiful, sinewy body with a 707 British horsepower (measured in PS, which makes it about 697 horsepower)....

  • Maserati Ghibli Trofeo

    Maserati Ghibli Trofeo

    WHEN I WAS OFFERED A WEEK WITH THE MASERATI GHIBLI TROFEO, I didn't immediately jump at the chance. I knew that the Ghibli was the younger sibling of the Quattroporte and thought that it must be an underpowered, weaker family member. Boy, was I wrong....

  • Audi experience at The Quail

    2022 Monterey Car Week At Pebble Beach

    I'VE BEEN A CAR NUT SINCE CHILDHOOD, SO ATTENDING MONTEREY Car Week which culminates at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on the 18th fairway of the famed golf course has been a dream trip....

  • Lexus LC 500 Coupe

    Lexus LC 500 Coupe

    THIS IS NOT MY MOTHER'S LEXUS. REALLY. HERS WAS AN LS 400, purchased around 1990, and it lived up to the LS designation as a luxury sedan. The younger man I was then was not thrilled with the super- insulated ride, as I wanted road feel. But even then, I had to admit that it was quiet and comfortable....

  • HauteAUTO mclaren 3quarter

    Mclaren 765 LT Spider

    FAITHFUL READERS MAY RECALL THAT I AM A BIG fan of the McLaren brand. I’ve driven most of their automotive offerings and each one punches well above its weight, or at least they all give me the feeling that they are way faster than the very impressive specs indicate....


    Hummer EV Pickup

    WHAT WEIGHS 9,000 POUNDS AND goes like hell? The answer used to be “nothing” but now it’s “the new Hummer EV Pickup”! Is 0-60mph in about three seconds good enough for you? How about all-wheel steering which can be adjusted at the push of a button to steer the front and rear wheels in the same or opposite directions? What can’t this vehicle do?...

  • The Hummer EV is a technological powerhouse (over 1,000 horsepower with goodies galore).

    The Future of Driving in Beverly Hills

    The latest cars now employ multiple cameras (the new Hummer EV has enough to offer 18 different camera views) and computer systems that “stitch” the images together to give any number of options, including a “blimp shot,” as if viewing the car from a blimp hovering above....

  • Ferrari_SF90_Stradale_1.jpg

    Ferrari SF90 — LaFerrari’s Powerful Younger Brother

    WHEN I SAT DOWN TO WRITE ABOUT THE FERRARI SF90, I had two ideas. One was simply to type “Wow!” 500 times, thereby meeting my word quota while leaving enough room for some nice photos. However, that would not provide much illumination about this incredible vehicle, so I went with the second option: “Wow!” written only 100 times with more discussion following....