Petersen Automotive Museum

Petersen Automotive Museum April 2005
The automobile and Los Angeles, inseparable for a century, have been linked together in a historical experience that has led to the creation of one of the world's largest and most innovative automotive museums, Petersen Automotive Museum.

The Museum is located at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue where 75 years ago the world's first linear shopping district dedicated to the emerging auto age was developed -- the Miracle Mile -- with its wide store windows set close to the sidewalk and street, and large rear entrances to accommodate the traffic.

Experience a 20th Century 'road map' depicting the evolution of a culture that has influenced life throughout Southern California and especially Los Angeles; the only major city that was entirely shaped by the automobile. Three floors of automotive history take the visitor through time and traces the automobile's influence on the culture of Los Angeles.

The first floor follows the history of the automobile with lifelike dioramas and settings, allowing visitors to experience the automobile as it relates to everyday life.

The second floor is devoted to five, rotating exhibition galleries with state-of-the-art presentations of race cars, classic cars, hot rods, motorcycles, movie and celebrity cars, and more automotive technology and design.

The May Family Children's Discovery Center is located on the third floor. Designed to spark children's interest in science by way of the automobile, the 6,500 square-foot, 'hands-on' learning center teaches basic scientific principles using the fundamental elements of a car.

A dazzling all-glass penthouse conference center and Founder's Lounge constitute the fourth floor which is available for corporate or private functions.

In June, 1994, Robert E. Petersen and his wife, Margie fulfilled a long time dream when they donated $5 million to the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum as founding benefactors to start the Petersen Automotive Museum. In April, 2000, the Petersen's gave a gift of $24.8 million dollars to the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum to pay off the bond debt and to establish the Petersen Automotive Museum as an independent nonprofit organization. Overall their gifts to the Petersen Automotive Museum total over $30 million, one of the largest gifts to any museum in the United States.

French Curves

The 'French Curves' was a display focusing on on French aerodynamic vehicles produced between 1930 and 1939, featuring some of historys greatest streamlined vehicles ever built. The inspiration for these vehicles came from the avaition industry and the bullet-shaped, wind-defiant race cars of their time. Even at a stand-still, the tear-drop design gives the illusion that the vehicles are in motion. Their design increased the overall fuel-efficiency of the vehicle, enhanced the performance and handling, and propelling them years into the future.

The collection also features work by some of the most famous coachbuilders of their era, including Figoni, Falaschi, Vanvooren, and Pourtout.

Hollywood And The Car

The capital of both car consumption and movie production, Los Angeles has witnessed the potent relationship between these two forms of expression. Both cars and movies combine art, technology, and image making. Both revolutionized how people spent their leisure time. And both represented a mixture of glamour and mechanical convenience to the American public. The Petersen Automotive Museum Hollywood Gallery presents an array of vehicles that illustrate how cars were used on screen, how they played an essential part in the opulent Hollywood lifestyle, and how they helped put the 'motion' in motion pictures.

Museum Information

Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd.
Fairfax, Los Angeles, CA USA

(323) 930-CARS


1934 Voisin Type C-27  
1936 Delahaye Type 135  
1937 Bugatti Type 57  
1937 Delage D8 120  
1937 Peugeot 402 Darl Mat  
1937 Talbot-Lago T150C SS  
1938 Delahaye Type 135  
1938 Hispano Suiza H6C  
1938 Talbot-Lago T23  
1939 Bugatti Type 57  
1939 Delahaye Type 135 M  
1939 Delahaye Type 165  

1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster  
1948 Chrysler Town and Country  
1950 Mercury Series 0CM  
1957 Lincoln Premiere  
1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL  
1963 Volkswagen Beetle  
1971 DeTomaso Pantera  
1972 Ferrari 365 GTS/4  
1982 Ferrari 308i GTS  

1946 Mercury Series 69M  
1948 DeSoto Custom Series  
1949 Packard Super Eight  
1950 Nash Ambassador  
1952 Ford F2  
1954 Dodge Coronet  
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air  
1957 Oldsmobile Super Eighty-Eight  
1959 Plymouth Suburban  
1963 Studebaker Lark Eight Daytona  
1963 Volkswagen Transporter  

1909 White Model O  
1914 Dudly Bug  
1915 Detroit Electric Model 61  
1915 Stutz White Squadron Racer  
1922 Chevrolet Series 490  
1922 Willys Knight Model 20  
1923 Ford Model TT United Parcel Truck  
1927 Ford Model T  
1927 McFarlan Line-8  
1931 Ford Model A  
1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1932 Ford Model BB Tow Truck  
1936 Plymouth P2  
1939 Pontiac Quality 115 Six  
1942 Lincoln Continental  
1945 Bell Special Midget Racer  
1946 Kurtis Miller Ross Page Special  
1952 Cunningham C4-R  
1955 Buick Century Series 60  
1957 Ford Thunderbird  
1958 Cadillac Series 70 Eldorado Brougham  
1959 Balchowski Ol Yaller Mark III  
1963 Chrysler Turbine  
1981 DeLorean DMC-12  

Vehicle information, history, And specifications from concept to production.
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