A Visit To: The Petersen Automotive Museum


Most of the coverage I have seen from those who visit California (San Francisco and LA area) seems to be centralized around a visit to the Fatlace store in SF, a Hella Flush event, a stop at Rotiform, and sometimes time/weather permitting a stop at one other event.

Though it isn’t all that far from the strip, and an awesome place to visit as a gear head, very few ever talk about let alone cover the Peteresn Automotive Museum, at least on the sites I frequent.

Heck, prior to arriving in Los Angeles and looking online for something inexpensive to do while there I didn’t even know the place existed.

Greeting you near the door at is Big Daddy Roth’s Outlaw which was one of his first creations not based on a production car
Also by the entrance was this beautiful Foose build

While it is a given that the Petersen Museum is a great stop for a car nerd what is perhaps the best thing about this particular automotive museum is that it’s approachable for those with much less of an interest in cars along with young children.

The people who set up the displays and exhibits at Petersen do such a great job that even if you don’t care what the text below the exhibit says you could lose yourself in the attention to detail in the scene laid out before you.

The dealership display changes cars every so often, it is currently set up as a Buick dealership
Period correct billboards and advertisements adorn the interior of Petersen, watch out for the local police as well
Buildings used to be shaped like all sorts of things in an effort to attract customers, now we use scantily clad females
If you are as immature as I am you may find this hilarious
A Mercury mid lead sled treatment
I’m sure there are still many garages around the world that look like this

If you are reading this and you find yourself in the Los Angeles area make a point to head out to the Petersen Automotive Museum you won’t be disappointed.

I wasn’t and I took a ton of photos as seen below.

Later era vehicles

These vehicles are generally newer than most in the museum but caught my eye and attention for one reason or another.

This Honda Turbo City was in the scooter exhibit
Because the Motocompo scooter in the back was actually an option… does such a thing exist today?
Lowrider depicting Los Angeles landmarks on both sides
This easily could have also been in an art museum
Quite liked this noise piece


Learning more about how automobiles changed over time (and society with it) was one of the more interesting things at the Museum.

While I didn’t take any photos of them the traditional coach inspired cars – with enclosed passenger quarters open drivers quarters – were quite interesting, and kind of disrespectful to the guy driving you around.

The Packard Twin six, the first quantity produced v12 in original condition
’31 twin coach – common as bread trucks apparently
This 76 Stutz d’Italia convertible was built for Elvis but it was Evel Knievel who took delivery. Some feel this is a face only a mother could love
This Stutz ‘Bearcat’ its on Accuaair suspension, not sure what’s under the hood

Cars of the Stars

Movie cars as a whole are always pretty interesting, some are complete hack jobs meant to be destroyed in one take, and others are mechanical marvels often also meant to be destroyed in one take.

While I was in this section I had my first encounter with an employee of Petersen who ran my automotive knowledge through the ringer. I could keep up alright with the movie cars but eventually his questions made a chump out of me.

I know now my semi retirement career goal however.

I still don’t like musicals.
The Hannibal 8, appeared on screen to be rocket powered and in reality VW powered
Did you know that this particular XKR actually sits on a shortened Ford Explorer chassis? It was the best way they could think of to get the cars to handle the snow chases in ‘Die Another Day’
The Bat Cycle – Shark Replant compartment is optional of course
The original Black Beauty with brooms out back to sweep up it’s tracks
This is one of two onscreen vehicles from Batman Returns, and in the back is an authentic suit with the only existing cowl


I knew that Hot Wheels was a pretty big deal but it never occurred to me just how in depth the world of Cars really is, some of these ‘toys’ are worth more than my 1:1 vehicle and they actually hold unveilings of new releases with tiny curtains being lifted and everything.

It’s a great time to be a kid, or kid at heart.

The full scale Lincoln Zephyr
An example of how a Hot Wheels car is started to how it is complete
In addition to driving this particular lighting McQueen is capable of moving it’s lips and eyes via several tiny motors
Starting grid of the Piston cup
The Cars movie posted created with… well cars

Italian Design

This Exhibit is currently running at Petersen until the end of 2012.

The Italians are responsible for some of the best looking automobiles ever created.

Hard to argue with the Italian sense of style
Like I said…
Sucks I had to hustle through this room a bit before our meter ran out
1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero designed by Bertone, this could almost pass as a current concept car
Ignoring the fact this is one of few Gold DMC-12s this one has also only traveled 7.4 miles.


There are some who say that the only Hot Rods are 30s Ford Hot rods, I’m not one of them but saying I thoroughly enjoyed this room would be an understatement.

This is one half of the room
Petersen had a Deuce week pedal car build off, which had some of the coolest pedal cars I have ever seen
Spitfire inspired coupe
Perfect execution of a theme
This Gee Bee Coupe is a recreation of a previous car and inspired by the Bee Gee Super Sportster air racer

I still have quite a few photos from the Petersen Museum kicking around so don’t be surprised if you see a couple more on the fanpage sooner rather than later.


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