Welcome to the Petersen Automotive Museum, a renowned institution dedicated to classic cars and automotive history. Founded in 1994 by Robert E. Petersen and his wife Margie, this classic cars museum has a rich collection of vehicles and captivating exhibits. Let’s take a closer look at this extraordinary museum and its unique offerings.

A Fascinating History

The Petersen Classic Cars Museum originally found its home within the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County before relocating to a historic department store designed by Welton Becket. This building, which operated as an Ohrbach’s department store from 1965 to 1986, provided an ideal space for the museum due to its largely windowless design, protecting the displayed artifacts from harmful exposure to direct sunlight.

An Impressive Transformation

In 2015, the Petersen Automotive Museum underwent an extensive $125 million renovation, resulting in a stunning new facility. The architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox redesigned the building’s façade, featuring a striking stainless-steel ribbon assembly made of 100 tons of steel. Inside, the interior spaces were configured by The Scenic Route to accommodate changing exhibits, creating an engaging and dynamic experience for visitors. The remodeled museum opened its doors to the public on December 7, 2015.

Discovering Classic Cars Museum

The Petersen Automotive Museum boasts over 100 classic cars on display across its 25 galleries. With such a vast collection, visitors can explore a wide range of automotive artistry and delve into the rich history of classic automobiles. The ground floor showcases extravagant cars, highlighting their beauty and craftsmanship. Meanwhile, the second floor focuses on industrial engineering, including design, performance, and interactive teaching exhibits. The industry floor features special displays on racing, motorcycles, hot rods, and custom cars. Finally, the third floor takes you on a journey through the history of automobiles, with a particular emphasis on the vibrant car culture of Southern California.

Exhibits to Captivate

The museum regularly hosts captivating exhibits that are sure to captivate classic car enthusiasts. In the past, these have included a comprehensive showcase of Porsche vehicles, featuring rare models like the 1939 Porsche 64. Additionally, there have been exhibits dedicated to the Japanese automotive industry, powered children’s racecars, and special celebrations like the 75th anniversary of Porsche.

Highlights from the Collection

Within the Petersen Automotive Museum’s impressive collection, you’ll find iconic vehicles that have left an indelible mark on popular culture. From Lightning McQueen in Disney Pixar’s Cars to the classic Batmobile from Batman Returns, there is something for everyone. Other notable pieces include the “NASCAR Herbie” Volkswagen Beetle from Herbie: Fully Loaded, Suki’s hot pink Honda S2000 from 2 Fast 2 Furious, and Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder from Star Wars. Furthermore, the collection boasts treasures like a 1956 Jaguar XKSS owned by Steve McQueen and a De Tomaso Pantera that once belonged to Elvis Presley.

Batman classic cars museum

Exploring Classic Cars at the Petersen Automotive Museum offers an immersive experience that celebrates the beauty, innovation, and cultural significance of these timeless vehicles. Whether you’re a classic car enthusiast, a history buff, or simply curious, this museum promises an unforgettable journey into the world of automotive excellence.

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