Nobody thinks of California as mainstream, and this year's Los Angeles motor show certainly wasn't mainstream, either.
Not, at least, if you list automotive arrivals and events that were as far from convention as a Nissan Murano convertible (surely the ultimate answer to a question nobody asked), a Ferrari-red, big-winged, go-faster version of Honda's fuel-sipping CR-Z hybrid coupe, an all-new Subaru Impreza that actually looked handsome, and a new and rather weird link between Mercedes' AMG cars and Ducati's high performance motorcycles. Apparently the latter go to the same track days as the former...
Yet something was missing at each end of the LA automotive spectrum. Compared with recent shows, there were far fewer 'hair shirt' cars: models that go out of their way to suggest an austere motoring future ahead for us all.
And there were fewer unashamed muscle cars in evidence, too; the closest thing to an unabashed performance model was the Porsche Cayman R, a lightened, sharpened and modestly more powerful version of Stuttgart's most sensible sports car.
Only CODA, one of those worthy little electric car companies, squeezed into one end of the pavilion, opposite Suzuki and beside Smart, did the full-on green planet thing, featuring a sign claiming that 'the average person consumes 3375 gallons of oil in a lifetime.
Most of the economy cars were usefully more efficient versions of cars the market wants now, effective hybrids proposed for the near future, or cute electric cars like Kia's terrific little two seater, the battery-powered Pop.
Lotus – helped by actress Sharon Stone – drew big crowds with a repeat of the Dany Bahar-orchestrated unveiling of five all-new models proposed between 2012 and 2016. The new crop of onlookers was just as impressed as the original group in Paris, though they had been warned to be a little more sceptical. Lotus's 'ask' is one of the largest in automotive history. Yet the cars looked good, and Bahar seemed an even more sympathetic character than before.
The US-spec Fiat 500, built in Mexico, not the Czech Republic, looked reassuringly familiar to a European's eye – I had been worried they would corrupt the superb little car – though a couple of its switches and its tiny centre console (containing the indispensable cup-holders) looked very good.
Europeans will envy the MultiAir version of the 1.4 litre engine which has similar power to ours but 10 per cent more torque and better economy, and especially the six-speed Aisin automatic available to American buyers, which must knock the crummy Dual Logic semi-auto available in European baby Fiats for six.