The Miracle Mile in Los Angeles now has an iconic destination that offers cultural history and art with the focus on one-of-a-kind automobiles.
The old Petersen Automotive Museum was a favorite of car aficionados, locals and tourists. When it closed for a 14-month total transformation, Wilshire Blvd. seemed a little quieter. People would drive by and gawk at the ribbons of stainless steel flowing in motion and curves, similar to a race track. Some believe the exterior looks like flames on a hot rod. If it looks like this on the outside, what’s it like inside?
Walk inside and get an up close look at over 100 vehicles displayed in new galleries, with sound and interactive experiences for visitors of all ages.
The first car you admire while entering the interior is a blue 2014 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse “KPM Series”. There were only four of these cars built. It’s top speed is 252 MPH and cost $2.4 million when new. Now they are priceless.
Here are 10 other Sights You Must See While Exploring The Museum:
1. See the Crown Jewel of the Petersen Automotive Museum, the exotic 1925 Rolls-Royce. It’s a midnight black aerodynamic coupe. In 1934 a third owner sent the car to Jonckheere of Belgium to put in two sunroofs, round doors, a large fin and sloping radiator shell. At one time she was painted her gold, and traveled to the East Coast and Japan, before finding her true home at the Petersen Automotive Museum in 2001.
2.Visit the Peter Mullin Grand Salon to see one of the world’s most expensive automobiles – 1936 Type 57SC Atlantic Bugatti – Jean Bugatti Masterpiece. Peter Mullin and Fashion Designer Ralph Lauren are the only two people in the world that own on of these priceless car. Its gray-blue bodywork with a ridge of rivets was made by hand. Mullin purchased this streamlined luxury coupe in 2010 to add to his car collection. He has the second largest car collection in the world. Mullin adores collecting French marques and they are elegantly displayed on the ground floor with a 166-foot panoramic motion graphic art display, inspired by the “golden ratio,” a design standard often used in Art Deco era design.
3. The Prince of Persia who later became the Shah of Iran was given a 1939 Bugatti is a type 57C by Vanvooren of Paris, by the French government as a wedding gift. Notice the skirted fenders, and the windshield that can be lowered by a hand crank under the dashboard. In 1959 this car was sold for $275. In 1983, it was completely restored and won the French Cup at the 2015 Pebbles Beach Concours d’Elegance.
4. Visit the Silver Cars Showroom. Before the Great Depression in 1913, brothers Fred and Augie Duesenberg founded Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company. There is a 1933 silver Duesenberg “Duesy” Model SJ Arlington Torpedo Sedan by Rollston. It’s sleek with a 320-horsepower straight-eight engine. During the Great Depression these cars had an asking price of $20,000. Only wealthy actors, politicians and tycoons could afford this luxury car.
Others silver cars that are awe-inspiring include a 1995 McLaren F1, and the 1959 Chevrolet Corvette XP-87 Stingray that was designed, driven and raced by GM President of Design Bill Mitchell. Look for the James Bond 1964 Aston Martin DB5 that was featured in the movie Goldfinger, and one of the most winning Ferraris of its time, a 1967 Ferrari 625/250 Testa Rossa by Scaglietti.
5. Don’t take the elevator, it takes too long. Walk up the impressive three-story spiral staircase to explore the 25 galleries filled with history and art. On the second floor learn about the founder of the museum, Robert E. Petersen. He got his start as a visionary who united a community of hot rod, custom and classic car admirers and collectors. As an independent publicist, he started out producing hot rod shows in Southern California. His eight-page program sold for twenty-five cents. Every program sold at the show, so Petersen decided to make a hot rod magazine and entered the publishing world. He created Motor Trend to increase his audience of 150,000 subscribers. Today his publishing empire produces an array of 27 periodicals and 30 specialty publications that include Rod & Custom Teen magazine, SPORT, Skin Diver, Motorcyclist, Tiger Beat, Car Craft, and Sassy.
Visit the Hot Rod Gallery celebrating Petersen’s first publication – Hot Rod Magazine. On the wall is an enlarged 1968 cover of Mr. Petersen with covers from his Hot Rod magazines. In this showroom are artifacts from Petersen’s life and some iconic customs with lowriders, roadsters and race cars.
6. Get up close to championship winning race cars. Ford celebrates its 50th anniversary of its historic LeMans win in France by displaying in this museum the GT40 MkIII alongside the 2017 Ford GT custom super car made for speed and efficiency. There will be only 250 of these cars made selling for $400,000. Nearby, learn what it’s like to work in the car industry and watch automotive design students as they design the next generation of transportation.
7. The family friendly Pixar Cars Mechanical Institute features a life-size Lightning McQueen and uses augmented reality technology to teach children and their parents how cars really work. This interactive Carspad tablet stars many of the characters from the Cars movies. Nearby is the The Industry Professionals exhibit in the Roeder-Harman Gallery presented by AIG in partnership with Grundy Insurance features interviews with the engineers, designers, marketers and executives who take cars from design to reality – all hosted by Jay Leno.
8. Learn about alternative fuel vehicles in the The Alternative Power exhibit, presented by Landi Renzo. This room showcases the history and future of alternative fuel vehicles. Check out the 1915 battery electric car made by the Anderson Electric Car Company in Detroit, Michigan. The company built 13,000 electric cars from 1907 to 1939. These cars we popular with women and physicians who desired the dependable and immediate start without having to hand crank the engine. They were also popular during World War I when gas prices rose significantly.
9. DRAGO Restaurant is scheduled to open April 2016. During the day it’s a family friendly restaurant. In the evening it becomes an elegant Italian ristorante showcasing many of the dishes found at the Drago brothers high-end Italian restaurants in Los Angeles. Celestino, Giacomino, Tanino, Calogero Drago are all from Sicily. They grew up making almost everything they ate including olive oil, fresh cheeses, and helping their father make wine from their own vineyards. The menu offers expertly prepared dishes that are featured at the Drago Brothers restaurants – Il Pastaio, Il Fornaio Beverly Hills, Enoteca Drago Beverly Hills wine bar, Drago Centro, Osteria Drago, Tanino Ristorante Bar and Panzanella Ristorante Sherman Oaks.
10. At the Driving Gallery visit the two-wheeled world Motorcycles exhibit in the Richard Varner Family Gallery, presented by Bonnier Motorcycle Group. There are nearly two dozen of the fastest, rarest, most beautiful motor bikes. Nearby is the Forza Motorsport Racing Experience, where visitors sit behind the wheel and steer a Microsoft racing simulator of a Ford GT, start the engine racing on driving rigs running the latest version of Microsoft’s racing simulator.
Make it a full day to see it all at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Parking is available behind the museum in a multi-level parking structure. The museum is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission prices are – Adults – $15, Seniors and Students – $12, Children – $7, Active Duty Military and Educators are Free, as are children under 3 years old.
To learn more about The Petersen, its latest exhibits, rotating galleries and special events, please visit www.Petersen.org.