Sunday, February 22, 2015

Petersen Automotive Museum

As a car addicted male, I try to make it to as many automotive gatherings as possible. Be it an auto show, car museum, or the local meet, I am there.

I have been to automotive museums in Massachusetts, Florida, and California. When I was making plans to visit LA for the TCM Classic Film Festival, I set aside time to visit the Petersen Automotive Museum. The collection is one-of-kind with many rare cars from every era. As an added bonus, the Petersen has a special guided tour of their vault. It is an extra $20 on top of the admission fee. They could have charged $50 and would still be worth it. However, there is only one disappointing stipulation: no photos! Our tour guide explained the reason. Most of the cars have been photographed or seen in movies or on tv. The museum is concerned about thieves having an insiders guide to the security system.

While I was not allowed to take pictures, I was allowed to take notes on my phone of what they have:

1915 Buick
1922 Chevrolet
1982 Ferrari 308 GTS Targa used in Magnum p.i.
1953 Nash Healey used in Sabrina
1959 Corvette Italia 3 ever built
1955 Porsche Continental 356
1965 Porsche 356c
1933 Dusenberg SJ convertible with a 400hp, 8 liter (480 c.i.) 
1967 Toyota 2000GT
1928 Studebaker
1931 Pierce Arrow once owned by former race car driver,  Phil Hill
1929 Dupont Model M Speedster
1930 Packard
1936 Packard with a 175hp, 12 cylinder engine
1998 Popemobile, which cost $900K to build, but never used.
1976 Mercedes-Benz limosine once owned by Jack Nicholson
1978 Mercedes-Benz Lancelet once owned by Saddam Hussein
1956 Mercedes-Benz Gullwing
1960 Mercedes-Benz roadster once owned by Robert Stack
1941 Cadillac Series 62 given to Carole Lombard from Clark Gable
1965 Chrysler Imperial once owed by Katherine Hepburn
1957 Cadillac Premiere
1968 Chevrolet Biscayne with a 7 liter engine (427 c.i.)
1952 Ferrari Superleggera Barchetta, the last one built, from Enzo Ferrari to Henry Ford II
1955 Ford Thunderbird
1961 Rolls-Royce Phantom
1913 Rolls-Royce Ghost
1967 Ford GT Mark 3, one of seven street versions
2006 Ford GT
1969 Mustang GT 350
1992 Jaguar XJ220
1992 Dodge Viper, car #5
1923 Mercedes-Benz Targa Floria, with a 7.2 liter engine (439 c.i.)
1931 Cord, first front wheel drive sold in the US
1965 Mustang GT 350 Carroll Shelby
1963 Volkswagen Beetle used in the filming of Herbie

Three cars stand out from the vault collection:

A Mercedes-Benz from the late 1800s/early 1900s considered to be the first example of an automobile.

1939 Bugatti 57C Van Vooren. It was a wedding gift for the Shah of Iran's wife in 1939. It remained in Iran until 1979 when it was sold for an unbelievable USD$ 275! The car was in terrible condition and had to be completely restored. When it went to auction it sold for more than USD$ 1.750.000.

FRD was in need of safe transportation during World War II. Would the armor plated car once used by Al Capone suffice? Apparently it did.

Here are some notable cars from the general collection:

Bugatti EB 110

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