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LIFE
IN THE
FAST
LANE

Decades of dedication to
the pinnacle of automotive creations

INTRODUCTION

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 a GTO, an Olds 442, a Buick GS 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 and also handle legal matters involving luxury homes. 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, Aston Martin, McLaren, Pagani, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche 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 a great group of people. I also am into motorcycles (I have had a slew of Triumph Bonnevilles, most recently a 1979 T140E, which I owned for over 35 years, the first-year Honda 750, and a BMW R11RS sports-touring bike. I am a self-trained mechanic and I worked as a boat mechanic before going to college.

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 Publisher, Olivia Hsu Decker, for their trust and confidence in me for so many years.  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, 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
December, 2018

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