The 1957 Porsche That Helped a Frenchman Love L.A.

Ludovic Barras,

a 27-year-old marketing executive at Fig & Olive restaurant group, on his search for old Hollywood glamour in a Porsche Speedster, as told to A.J. Baime:

Growing up in Paris, I was always reading books about everything that was happening in Hollywood in the 1950s and ’60s. It was my dream to come to Los Angeles, and a car was part of the dream. I moved here five years ago and today I live on Sunset Boulevard. I found the car in 2011—a 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster that I got a great deal on at an auction in Florida. I had it painted the color of seafoam and restored every piece, from the chrome to the camel-colored leather.

A Car Lover’s Hollywood Ending

People are so distracted by the technology in their cars. When I am at the wheel, I can turn off my phone and I’m in another world. I can go back to the 1950s for a while. There is nothing modern about the car. I can concentrate on driving, on the purity of the experience. I love the smell of the leather and the song of the engine. And L.A. is the perfect place to have a Speedster. The weather allows you to drive without a roof year-round.

When I was young reading about

James Dean,

this is the kind of car I imagined him driving. It embodies the old Hollywood glamour that I have always been searching for.

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