My trips to Los Angeles will never be fully complete without going to this particular place. I absolutely love the Petersen Automotive Museum. Although this is my fourth time gracing this location, it always feels like the very first time… and no I’m not going to sing the song.
Just in case if you’re not familiar with the Petersen, allow me to fill you in. The Petersen Automotive Museum is one of– if not the greatest automotive museums in the world. Started by Hot Rod magazine founder Robert Petersen and his wife Margie (Fun fact: Margie was a native New Yorker), the Petersen Automotive Museum started out as a dream. The Petersens purchased the building that was once the home of Ohrbach’s department store and on June 11th, 1994, the Petersen Automotive Museum opened it’s doors on the corner of Fairfax Ave and Wilshire Blvd.
The museum showcases over 100 vehicles spread out on four floors. The ground floor focuses on automotive artistry. The second floor is principally concerned with industrial engineering—including design, performance, and a collection of interactive teaching exhibits. The third floor chronicles the history of the automobile with an emphasis on the car culture of Southern California. And then there’s the basement, which is the home of the Vault- over 150 additional Hollywood, race, and ultra rare vehicles. Sadly, photography isn’t allowed in the vault.
The featured exhibit during this particular visit was the High Art of Riding Low, which features a staple to the Los Angeles’ automotive culture, the lowrider. Walking in the building, I was greeting by no other, but Gypsy Rose, a 1964 Chevrolet Impala that happens to be the world’s most famous lowrider. How famous is she? Glad you asked. Gypsy Rose is so famous, the Historic Vehicle Association inducted her into the National Historic Vehicle Register, where her specifications, photos, detailed scans, entire life story will be archived for all time by the Library of Congress.
All in all, the Petersen Automotive Museum gives enthusiasts a chance to emerge themselves in some much needed and always appreciated automotive culture. To see the rest of my photos, check out Bernie’s Petersen Automotive Museum gallery. Until next time, Los Angeles…