The Petersen Museum

I want to start this post by firstly admitting something, I am not really a fan of museums, at least that was my mentality before the Petersen changed it all.

Up until this point museums just seemed like a sterile and somewhat sad resting place for cars that had lost their functionality.

I probably wouldn’t be too far wrong in saying that a decent proportion of the worlds most expensive Supercars are stuck doing exactly what they wern’t designed to do.

When I walked through the doors of the Petersen Museum I didn’t have huge expectations because I didn’t research too much about it.

But stepping out of the lift and onto level 3 I knew I was in for a reality check and an automotive odyssey into the Petersen Museums collection had began.

In 1947 Robert Petersen realized that there were no media specific to hot rods and began development of Hot Rod magazine.

In 1996 Petersen sold his company Petersen Publishing Company to a private equity fund for $450 million, in 1999, sold it for $2 billion to publisher EMAP.

After visiting the Hot Rod reunion I stated to appreciate the lifetime efforts by the guys that stuck to their brands, those brands that grew with hot roddings popularity grew to become house hold names and Petersens legacy is not only the Museum but the impact that the magazine had on others.

I just loved how this place was layed out too, clean and uncluttered it gave me the time to be able to appreciate the cars and get those angles you wouldn’t normally get in a museum.

It wasn’t all 4 wheeled machines.

My vintage V twin obsession continues.

The little Linkert carb “Bird Deflector” poking out the side of this Midget racer and the signature Harley Orange paint work hinted to a little Harley powerplant inside. I think I need to build one of these out of the late model injected 1200 Sportster engine I have lying around at home.

Behold the king, the Harley XR750 racer made famous by those heroes that hung their lives on the line around mile ovals all across America in the 60’s and 70’s.

It’s dirty days are over.

I just love the original Sportsters, my dream bike has long been a 1965 Harley Davidson XLRTT special order race bike.

Quickly becoming more expensive than a lot of house blocks this Knucklehead was once a throw away item after the war. This is the same frame as the one I am riding.

Around the corner I spotted a display of cars and it made me weak at the knees.

The Dan Gurney display incorporating the Eagle Indy car of 1966 to the final CART Champ car built in 1999 with a total of 11 vehicles on display.

I knew nothing about Dan Gurney but looking at these race cars I was already a fan, I started reading and learning about Dan and his amazing life.

Moving to California as a teenager Dan immediately got caught up in Southern California’s hot rod culture, he built and raced a land speed car at Bonneville to record a speed of 138mph at the ripe old age of 19.

In his early 20’s he became an amateur drag racer and a sports car racer.

His break came in 1957 where he finished 2nd behind Carroll Shelby in the Riverside Grand Prix beating a lot of professional racers and attracting the attention of team owners. From that point onwards he was a professional racer but often had his own ideas on setting up and building cars, so much so that he became a builder and also team owner.

In my opinion the 1960’s produced the best looking race cars ever to grace the earth.

Mid to late 1960’s race cars were works of art.

Hand painted, hand built, masterfully fabricated and stunningly beautiful.

In 1964 the magazine “Car and Driver” pushed for Gurney to run for president, it was widely supported dispute the fact he was too young to qualify for presidency. It just shows how many gear heads were in California and America in that era.

He was in fact the first man to wear a full face helmet in competition, perhaps being 6 foot 4 had something to do with it.

Dan Gurney, what a legend and what a legacy.

Land Speed Racer, Drag Racer, Nascar, F1, team owner and fabricator. A true all American hero.

I was looking for a sign to lead me to my next car, hrmm I always had a thing for the Bronco…..

On level two there was a distinct red glow.

An Italian shade of expensive red. See what I mean about the layout of the museum? It was so refreshing.

Details of performance.

From all era’s.

I love modern day machinery but I feel like I can relate so well to this era of construction.

I mean how many welds are actually visable on a modern day F1 car?

All the right shapes and contours.

One after another.

A fitting Ford breaking up the sea of red just like it was designed for in its competition debut.

The collection was diverse.

A car that needs no introduction.

The 1971 Mclaren M8E Racer

Mechanical injection perfection.

Perfect in every way.

Displayed in style.

Mention the words Bugatti to me and most of time I wouldn’t have a spark of interest, maybe I am maturing or maybe I am starting to appreciate how they made things work before the things we take for granted were developed.

Spend a minute to take a deeper look and its amazing the things you find.

Imagine the sound?

Skip a few decades and enter LA’s iconic Lowriding Culture Exhibition.

Mixing cars and art.

Developing a unique style that will be forever integrated into southern California car culture.

You just have to see it to believe it.

Because this is on another level.

Speaking of another level we dropped down into the vault to see the amazing range of cars that are waiting to rotate through the exhibit. To hear the stories and see inside the garage where they run each car each month is impressive, cameras are not allowed so you will just have to book your tickets and check it out for yourself.

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