The Petersen Automotive Museum at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles re-opened in December 2015 after a 14 month, $90 million complete renovation. Displays include some of history’s most breathtaking collector cars, championship winning race cars, groundbreaking art cars, famous Hollywood vehicles, seminal motorcycles and more through the Museum's 25 galleries.
There are three full floors of content with 95,000 square feet of exhibit space. Guests are invited to enter the museum through either the parking structure off Fairfax or the new entrance on famed Wilshire Boulevard. There they can see several display vehicles in the David and Ginny Sydorick Grand Concourse, purchase tickets, and take an elevator to the third floor, where the experience begins.
The History Floor (3) covers history of the automobile. “Concept Cars as Art” shows what the future looked like in the 1950s and 60s, while the Hollywood Gallery includes the Batmobile, the Magnum P.I. Ferrari, several vehicles from James Bond movie Spectre, the Pontiac Aztec from Breaking Bad and other fan favorites. Also featured is “Southern California: A Region in Motion, " which uses interactive video content to show how Los Angeles grew out, instead of up, like most cities.
As visitors descend the staircase to the Industry Floor (2), they can explore the diversity of automotive design and technology and see cars that have been modified for speed and efficiency. Learn what it’s like to work in the car industry and watch automotive design students as they design the next generation of transportation.
One of the most visually stunning displays in the museum is the Precious Metal exhibit in the Bruce Meyer Family Gallery presented by Rolex, a gathering of the world’s rarest and most exotic cars – all finished in silver. The gallery includes a 1995 McLaren F1, the 1959 Chevrolet Corvette XP-87 Stingray, the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 driven by James Bond in the movie Goldfinger, a stunning 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic by Ghia, a 1967 Ferrari 625/250 Testa Rossa by Scaglietti known as one of the most winning Ferraris of its time, and a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Streamliner.
The Pixar Cars Mechanical Institute features a life-size Lightning McQueen and uses augmented reality technology to tech children how cars really work, starring their favorite characters from the Cars movies on Carspad tablets. The Industry Professionals exhibit features interviews with the engineers, designers, marketers and executives who take cars from design to reality – all hosted by Jay Leno. The Alternative Power exhibit showcases the history and future of alternative fuel vehicles – from early 20th century steam and electric cars to the latest in hybrid, CNG and fuel cell technology.
The Production Gallery features “Made in Italy: Design to Line,” an exhibit showcasing how a production luxury car goes from rendering to model to finished vehicle. The High Performance Road Cars exhibit celebrates the 50th anniversary of Ford’s historic win at LeMans with the museum’s GT40 MkIII alongside the all-new Ford GT supercar. The Motorsports exhibit features some of the fastest and most seminal race cars of all time, backed by a 134-foot, 180-degree projection wall immersing visitors in the sights and sounds of these incredible cars on the track. Directly behind the Motorsports exhibit is the Forza Motorsport Racing Experience, where fans can get behind the wheel of a variety of vehicles and try their hand at racing on driving rigs running the latest version of Microsoft’s racing simulator.
The Motorcycles Exhibit features nearly two dozen of the fastest, rarest, most beautiful or sometimes oddest two-wheeled vehicles from history. The Hot Rod Gallery celebrates Hot Rod Magazine, Petersen’s first publication, along with the cars featured in the magazine over the years, artifacts from Petersen’s life and a selection of wildly customized cars – from iconic customs (the Hirohata Merc and Billy Gibbons’ “CadZZilla”) to lowriders, roadsters and race cars.
One last trip down the grand staircase and visitors will find themselves on the Peter and Merle Mullin Artistry Floor (1), where they can discover the most artfully designed vehicles from history, often regarded as rolling sculpture. Explore how the automobile has been interpreted as the subject of fine art and even used as a canvas for artistic expression. The Mullin Grand Salon features the exhibit Artistry of the Automobile, featuring some of the finest coachbuilt cars of the art deco era, from the 1936 Type 57sc Bugatti Atlantic to the 1938 Talbot-Lago T150C SS Figoni et Falaschi Teardrop, and more.
From the Mullin Grand Salon, visitors can move to the Ken and Dayle Roath Gallery, featuring a curated display of cover art from the 106-year history of Westways Magazine, the print publication of the Automobile Club of Southern California. Never before has such a collection been assembled and displayed in one place.
The last exhibit on the top-to-bottom tour is also the first one visitors see upon entering the museum – BMW Art Cars, featuring a 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL, the 1995 BMW 850 CSi designed by highly influential British artist David Hockney, who now lives a few miles from the Petersen, as well as the 2008 BMW Z4.
The Petersen Automotive Museum is open seven days a week, from 10am to 6pm, and admission prices are as follows: adults - $15, seniors and students - $12, children - $7, active duty military and educators – free, Children under 3 – free. To learn more about The Petersen, its latest exhibits, rotating galleries and special events, visit www.Petersen.org.