The windows have been smashed, part of the moldings have been stripped away and the red paint has faded in places. It would appear that the 1978 Mercedes Benz 300CD coupe parked near Logan Elementary School is one of those stolen vehicles found dumped on the streets of Echo Park. This car, however, is neither stolen or abandoned. It is the property of Humberto, an Echo Park DJ, who loves old Mercedes Benzes built before 1982. He has owned six Mercedes Benzes, including a nearly 40-year-old, powder blue 280SEL sedan that last week was parked across the street from the red coupe.
Like many other old car lovers in Echo Park, Humberto has no garage or driveway to shelter his beloved vehicles from the weather, vandals or parking tickets. Humberto has to move the cars on street cleaning days, which can get tricky because the sedan doesn’t seem to run (he was pushing it last Thursday) and the coupe has a piece of wood covering a hole in the windshield and a plastic box, to keep out rain water, taped to the inside of the rear window. “It is a hassle,” concedes Humberto. But he would not have it any other way.