The World’s Coolest Car Museum Just Got a Major Collection of Hollywood Rides
This spot is now home to everything from Magnum P.I. to Spectre.
The building that houses the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles started out as a department store in 1962. In the greatest hot-rod tradition, the museum decided that it needed to customize itself inside and out to reflect the excitement of the cars inside the building, so it repainted the outside in “Hot Rod Red” color and wrapped that with 308 strands of stainless steel ribbons to produce a look as custom as a ’62 Chevrolet Impala convertible low rider.
The 308 stainless steel panels are the same number as the 1982 Ferrari308GTSi Tom Selleck drove on screen as Magnum, P.I., so it is appropriate the very car used on that show’s early seasons is displayed in the Petersen’s new Hollywood Gallery. The car is also finished in a hue very close to the building’s Hot Rod Red. Selleck was too tall for the 308’s cramped cockpit, so the show’s producers had the seats lowered and their padding cut down so he could fit inside.
Classic beauties have no difficulty getting past the Petersen’s velvet ropes and bouncers, which is why cars with no entertainment industry are also displayed. The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 used a fuel-injected straight-eight engine and five-speed transmission to dominate international sports car racing in 1955 and ’56. Lurking just beyond the Mercedes is the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray concept car.
In addition to machine guns and smoke screens, 007’s Aston also had navigation system to help evade trouble in the English midlands.
Bet you thought Lightning McQueen from Cars existed only as ones and zeros inside Pixar’s mighty computers, but the real car sits in a kids play area in the Petersen.
Daniel Craig‘s ride in James Bond: Spectre is also on hand. One of the DB10s Aston Martin built expressly for the film is on loan to the museum.
It is good to be bad, Jaguar says. If that means driving the Jaguar C-X75, the dark side looks more appealing.
There are 100 cars on display in the museum, along with 23 motorcycles, four scooters and the Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. bobsled. And believe me, once you are on Wilshire Blvd. you can’t miss the building.