Los Angeles is often referred to as America's most car-mad city, which is why the Los Angeles motor show, which opens today, is one of the major events on this continent.

The mix of brands you see on the roads here is a match for the variety we have in Britain, whereas in some parts of the US you can drive for many miles without seeing a BMW or Mercedes.

Los Angeles has been passionate about all things four wheeled since the dawn of the automobile. Despite the increasingly stringent emissions restrictions that are being championed by the state of California, making cars go quickly still plays a major part in LA's motoring history.

For the next couple of days we're staying in West Hollywood, and I was intrigued to learn that our hotel is only a mile or so away from the site of the former Los Angeles Motor Speedway. 

Nowadays a largely forgotten footnote in motor racing history, the oval track on Wilshere Boulevard was for a brief time a state-of-the-art venue that almost matched the mighty Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The track – bankrolled by an organisation called the Beverly Hills Speedway Syndicate – was built at lavish cost on the site of a lima bean plantation.