Midnight Madness in Miami: How L’Automobile Show Gets Made

midnight-madness-in-miami:-how-l’automobile-show-gets-made 

In Miami, it’s never quiet or calm. On a Friday night, that’s even more true. Find yourself in the Wynwood Arts District, and it feels like life is in the air. Moving million-dollar supercars around town safely isn’t for the faint of heart.

At Miami Supercar Rooms, life sounds like dozens of cylinders waking up to a cold start. The owner of Miami Supercar Rooms, a guy that calmy goes by the name Elo like anyone else might go by Bob, is preparing for an event he created out of love: L’Automobile Show 2021.

This auto show isn’t conventional. It’s all about the extremes that inspire. It’s about the cars that push us to create and to go beyond what’s safe and easy. If it’s not built with passion, it won’t be on display at L’Automobile.

And tonight, a few of these passionately created masterpieces need to make their way from A to B. Miami Supercar Rooms served as our starting point, and all the cars needed to make their way to Island Gardens, where the show would take place.


We met up with Elo, the host of L’Automobile 2021, Gian Luca Maggiore, builder of the incredible Maggiore 308 restomod, and Sean Puz, owner at 1 of One Customs, at midnight.

Together, we led the most intense parade of exotic cars seen in Miami for some time. Maggiore drove his Ferrari, a stunning restomod that sounds like an entire pride of lions roaring in perfect harmony.

Mr.Puz drove his creation, Excaliber. This 100% custom truck is perhaps the most hand-built of any ride at the show. Sean literally built everything you see here aside from the engine and the wheels. Of course, both are custom and unique to this vehicle.

Then, Elo took the Vetter ETV or Extra-Terrestrial Vehicle. It’s an apt name. All four wheels are hidden behind covers. The front of the vehicle is some 5 or 7 feet (1.5-2.2 m) ahead of the driver. Visibility is an issue, to say the least. There’s basically no way to see out of the back either.

During the trip, Elo had his co-pilot message back to us to see where we were. We were directly behind him. That’s how compromised the visibility is in the ETV. Still, there’s nothing that attracts eyeballs like the ETV. We were in a 1987 Mercedes Benz 560SEC Koenig.

For the unfamiliar, the Koenig is a right-hand drive Mercedes coupe with an insane body kit and some bold performance modifications. At the time it was built, it could be had with turbos or a supercharger. They also got sport suspension springs, bigger brakes, and custom wheels.

Even after all these years, it’s a monster. Elo led our parade, and we followed close behind most of the time. When the road was open, and there was no traffic to get between us, we found ample space to stretch the legs of the old German. It’s amazing how well the mechanics still work. The doors still latch perfectly with that satisfying clunk you expect. The engine responds happily to prodding.

Initially, it’s comfortable and a smidge floaty. It’s not unhappy over the worst roads in Miami. If there was anything difficult about the city driving in Miami is was the low-beam headlights of Putz’s Excaliber truck behind us.

Once we found the highway, it felt totally at home again, almost like it was a long lost reunion with the Autobahn. Power comes on slowly at first. You only need about 30% of the throttle pedal for normal driving. Put it all the way down, though, and more than 30 years after it rolled out of the Koenig factory, it flies.

The steering feels great too. It’s very prone to tracking the grooves in the road thanks to its super-wide tires on each corner. Rolling into the curvy section of the road just before we arrived at the event center gave us a chance to see it in the bends.

In a word, it was soft. It wasn’t horrible by any means, but the adaptive suspension in modern cars has made us a bit soft, perhaps. It’s amazing to think of how far cars have come since the Koenig was made. As we parked up at the show in the early hours of Saturday morning, it was obvious… That’s what L’Automobile Show is all about.

Past, present, and future design and concepts are the star of the show. More than 100 years of automobiles were represented, dating as far back as 1913. Over the next few days, we have full coverage of the event, including interviews and detailed breakdowns of some of the most exotic builds that were on display.