Fleetwood Center | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Fleetwood Center

On a street renowned for its “carchitecture,” is there any more literal form than a building shaped like the front of a Cadillac? This is the unlikely face of a strip mall in Tarzana that was completed in 1987 and apparently never held any Cadillac-related business, let alone the car dealership you might expect. Lee Oakes of architectural firm Matlin and Dvoretzky designed the two-story building for developer CBS Realcorp. In a 1987 Los Angeles Times article, he admitted the Mimetic style was outside his usual purview: “Very rarely do I have creative impulses like this. I was just walking around and saw this Cadillac grille. It just clicked.”

The building has angular corner turrets like the jutting front fenders of a ca. 1970 Caddy, punctuated by four “headlights” of circular neon, central windows arranged like a radiator grill, and first-floor masonry walls painted black to look like tires. It was designed expressly to draw attention to the block, and that it does, in a way that could not be more weirdly appropriate to its Ventura Boulevard setting. Tragically, its stucco finish is currently painted a subdued white, a far cry from its original shocking pink.

Photo by Adriene Biondo.

Driftwood Dairy

A very rare example of an intact drive-thru dairy, the Driftwood Dairy recently survived a demolition threat and stands as a truly spectacular example of Googie design.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Kentucky Fried Chicken

In the late 1980s, Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee Jack Wilke wanted his location to have a design that paid tribute to the Googie architecture with playful, Deconstructivist design.
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy.

Chez Jay

The nautical-themed steak house and bar with room for only about ten tables opened in 1959.