In 2007, the city of Los Angeles almost declared the historic Felix Chevrolet neon sign and dealership on Figueroa an official landmark. Then Mayor Villaraigosa's office asked the Cultural Heritage Commission to stop the process, claiming it would be bad for business. Darryl Holter of Felix Chevrolet promised to maintain the sign for future generations. Five years later, Felix Chevrolet partnered with General Motors to rip out the vintage neon tubes and illuminate Felix the Cat with LEDs, which promptly failed.
Gravely concerned over the loss of this beloved neon sign — recently voted the city's best by L.A. Weekly — Esotouric's Kim Cooper launched a petition and restoration campaign, calling on Felix Chevrolet to abide by the written preservation promise that it made to the community in 2007.
Status report: To date, there has been no response from Felix Chevrolet, General Motors, Mayor Villaraigosa or Councilwoman Jan Perry. While we continue to call for the sign to be rebuilt in its original neon form, we consider this campaign a success because it provides a cautionary tale in the importance of ensuring that historic landmarking proceeds without undue influence, or worthless promises, from business interests and politicians. Felix the Cat is dead, long live Felix the Cat!
Felix the Cat Sign Switched From Neon Lights to LEDs. Preservationists Are Pissed (L.J. Williamson, L.A. Weekly, November 2, 2012)
Fix Felix: Petition to Get Iconic Sign Glowing Neon Again (Lindsay William-Ross, LAist, November 12, 2012)
Felix the Cat Sign Goes LED, Pissing Off Neon Enthusiasts (Adrian Glick Kudler, Curbed, November 13, 2012)
Crazy ‘Bout that Neon Cat, FELIX! (See California, December 11, 2012)
Gutting or greening the cat? Preservationists meow about the new Felix (Which Way, LA?, KCRW, December 26, 2012)