Recent Posts



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


  • 2024 Aston Martin DB12 Profile

    2024 Aston Martin DB12

    YOU LIKELY NOTICED THAT ASTON MARTIN HAS HAD A LONG RUN of cars starting with "DB." That designation came from David Brown, the owner of the company from 1947....

  • 2023 Maserati MC20

    2023 Maserati MC20

    MASERATI WAS FOUNDED IN 1914 — LONG BEFORE MANY OF ITS eventual competitors, such as Jaguar, Ferrari, Porsche, and certainly Lamborghini — and its roots are with great racing machines and sports cars released through the 1960s....

  • Highlights of the 2023 Monterrey Car Week

    Highlights of the 2023 Monterrey Car Week

    Twenty years ago, Peninsula Hotel Group Chairman as well as car collector Sir Michael Kadoorie started The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, at his picturesque golf resort hotel The Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley....

  • Ferrari 812 GTS

    Ferrari 812 GTS

    RUMOR HAS IT THAT SPORTS CARS WITH CONVERTIBLE TOPS ARE CALLED “spiders” (or “spyders”) because the eight wooden stays that held open the fabric top on historic convertibles seemed to resemble the eight legs on an arachnid. Amazingly, that moniker has stuck around for decades, even when an octopede insect is hardly the image that marketing suits want to have pop up when one thinks of a svelte grand touring car — they would prefer that the car generate romantic notions of carving the roads along the Stelvio Pass or cruising the Amalfi Coast on the way to an epic rendezvous....

  • Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire

    The 2024 Rolls-Royce La Rose Noire Features A Removable Audemars Piguet Watch

    Many ultra-luxury car makers, as well as hypercar manufacturers, will personalize your new ride. Though they may use different names for the group in charge of such modifications, they typically allow the buyer of a new car to choose paint color, interior color and materials (leather, wood, etc.), seat and dash stitching, wheels, options packages (for things like employment and, in some cases, enough options so that the purchase price of the car is some 100% more than the base car....

  • McLaren Automotive's High-Performance Hybrid super car in green shown against grey background.

    McLaren Artura

    FAITHFUL READERS KNOW THAT I HAVE A SPECIAL PLACE IN MY HEART for McLaren. I have driven most of their offerings and have enjoyed them all. There’s something that is unmistakable about the McLaren DNA — regardless of what’s on paper, the cars feel faster. No doubt it’s because of (or at least mostly due to) the famous McLaren suspension, which really involves the driver in the entire experience. Whatever the reason, that experience is both engaging and delightful....

  • Pininfarina Battista

    Pininfarina Battista

    You are to be forgiven if the name Pininfarina rings a bell but you can’t quite place any of their earlier cars....

  • 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)....