It’s fair to say that this year’s Los Angeles motor show has been thoroughly overshadowed.

DSC_0182 Even on local Californian news bulletins it’s losing airtime to bulletins about the aftermath of devastating bush fires and train crashes. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, the ‘big three’ bosses Wagoner, Mulally and Nardelli are begging Congress to sign a rescue plan. Even the news that gas – sorry, petrol – is selling here for less than two dollars a gallon for the first time in three years is bigger news.

Yet anyone going to the LA Convention Centre will find a proper motorshow, and one that’s definitely got some star attractions. Between the Nissan Cube and 370Z, revised Porsche Cayman and Lamborghini LP560-4 Spyder there’s plenty of proper show-candy. And beyond the road cars, there’s the superb-looking Honda FC Sport concept to check out.

But there are also some unlikely stars, like Volkswagen’s Baja Racing Touareg. This is a very special SUV built for the Baja 1000 rally this year, with a mid-mounted V12 diesel engine, rear-wheel drive, huge tyres and damper units that are literally longer than your arm.

Of course, the Los Angeles show isn’t the biggest or most significant in the world, but I’d really recommend it.