Building Inspiration at Petersen Museum

Recently I found myself at the Peterson Automotive Museum to check out their newest exhibit, Supercars. Every time I’m there, I leave wanting to go home to my garage and become a mad car-scientist! There are so many things there to provide inspiration, you can’t help it!

From cars with interesting histories, like this 1974 Dale. A 3-wheeled car said to get 70 miles per gallon, it was used by its builder/con-artist Liz Carmichael (a transvestite whose real name was Jerry Dean Michael) to scam nearly $2 million dollars from would-be buyers! The car was a hoax and this is one of 3 prototypes built.

More interesting car history is held by the 1948 Tucker. This model was Preston Tucker’s personal car and one of only 50 pilot models produced. Nonetheless, the car had some very advanced features for its time as well as an interesting story to go along with – told in the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream.

The Petersen also has plenty of modern cars. Like this 2005 Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR. Who knew that SLR stood for Sehr Leicht Rennsport which translates to “super light racing” and is the fastest production car with an automatic transmission?!

Some of the permanent exhibits at the Petersen include history of the automobile. This battery is out of an electric-powered car from 1897! And I thought electric vehicles were something new. Car and battery were engineered by a 17-year-old boy named Earle C. Anthony – how’s that for a science project!

Speaking of different-powered cars. Part of the Petersen’s educational exhibits includes how cars work and what powers them. This extremely rare turbine-powered Chrysler is something different!

In addition to their permanent exhibits – Petersen has a number of rotating exhibits as well. The Hollywood Gallery houses cars owned by celebrities and shown in movies.

Another special exhibit is NHRA: Sixty Years of Thunder – showcasing important landmarks of drag racing history.

Of course, cars include much more then just engines. Exhibits show the living history of cars. You can walk through a recreation of an old Southern California “streetscape” and learn about the evolution of cars and city life.

Seeing and experiencing these things in person is so much different than looking at something on the internet. For example, getting to look at every angle and detail of a car. If you need some building inspiration – the Petersen Museum is the place to come!

And then, some cars are just amazingly beautiful! This 1952 Ferrari is, I think, the sexiest car I’ve ever seen. Ford borrowed some of these design features when creating the Thunderbird. Believe it or not, this car has never been restored!

So the next day you’re hard at work in the garage and come upon a frustrating stand-still…put down your tools and come out to the Petersen Automotive Museum. You’ll be glad you did. Or maybe you want to learn a few things about cars and be inspired! The Petersen has all sorts of cool programs going on – just check their calender for details! One of my car club ladies took her kids recently to a Discovery Day and they had tons of fun – read about it here!

Happy Trails ’till next time!


5 Responses

  1. Jos

    Hey Kristin

    Great story !! You’re lucky to have such a museum so close. Wish we had one in Europe.
    Can we expect more pictures ??

    Grz. Jos.

    • greasegirl

      Did you follow the link to the Supercar article? Their beautiful machines!
      The next thing you’ll hear from me about the Peterson will be a more “underground” look at the Peterson 😉

  2. Jos


    Indeed I missed that link; just checked it. You’re right …. great cars. I love these specials like the Bizzarini and the Miura, very rare and exotic. These are great for inspration !!
    Btw…. Is the yellow Pantera, next to the Miura, the one that was owned by Elvis ??

    Grz. Jos.

  3. Jos


    OK, so I guessed good 🙂
    I read about this specific car in a dutch magazine last month.

    I love these Panteras. Italian styling with “traditional” V8 power on a European transmission. Too bad that they are so expensive.
    I found a very spectacular one on an Australian site; will send you some pics on your
    G- mail if you’re interrested ; maybe for the car of the week 🙂

    Grz. Jos


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