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The Petersen Automotive Museum is Heaven for Car Lovers

(LA Trend) — The Petersen Automotive Museum has been rated as the world’s greatest automotive museum by CNN, Octane, and Top Gear, and when you visit, you’ll quickly see why. Since its opening in 1994, it has been a must-visit destination for car lovers and gearheads, but after its massive renovation in 2015, it has become veritable heaven for anyone even remotely interested in anything related to cars. With numerous exhibitions featuring the best of cars past, present, and future—as well as novelty automobiles and those from around the world—there’s bound to be something for every auto enthusiast.

“Supercars: A Century Of Spectacle And Speed” features more than 30 examples of supercars that range from the big-bore monsters from over a century ago to more recent and recognizable exotic machines equipped with modern technical sophistication and performance. This exhibit is all about the vehicles that pushed the boundaries of their respective periods and how they gave drivers of the time the ultimate driving experience.

“Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles Of Science Fiction And Fantasy” is perfect for pop culture aficionados, as it shines a spotlight on cult classic films and TV shows that depicted fantastical futuristic worlds, technologies, characters, and cars, and includes numerous props, design drawings, and physical vehicle models. From the dystopian to the utopian to the utterly out there, “Hollywood Dream Machines” is all about the automobile’s role in our collective imagination.

“Porsche: Redefining Performance” explores the story of Porsche cars and its commitment to pushing cars to and beyond their limits on the track. With a history of innovations in turbocharging, aerodynamics, power delivery, braking, and numerous other aspects of vehicle design, Porsche has had a massive influence on the automotive industry ever since the first Porsche debuted in 1948, and continues to be a dominant force in the world of automobiles.

“Reclaimed Rust: The James Hetfield Collection” is dedicated to the stunning and rugged street machines of Metallica’s James Hetfield. While primarily known as the co-founder, songwriter, singer, and guitarist for the world’s most popular heavy metal band, James Hetfield is also well-known in the automotive world for his unique collection of custom cars, built from scratch and characterizing the full-throttle energy found in his decades of music-making. This collection of vehicles is both classic and modern, marked with Hetfield’s reverence for the past as well as his disregard for convention. This exhibit is for gearheads and metalheads alike.

“Silver Shotgun: Italian-designed Motorcycles” traces the history of Italian-made cars, with a focus on the cutting-edge motorcycles of the late 1960s and 1970s that turned the Italian automotive industry into the dominant force it is today. During those formative years, Italian industrial design and fashion erupted with a renewed passion for color and energy, leading to the creation of vibrant metal flake paint jobs and gorgeous body shapes that resonated with a younger, more hip audience. Since then, Italy has produced a collection of stylish, finely-crafted, and highly-coveted objects, many of which are on display here.

“Alternating Currents: The Fall And Rise Of Evs” takes a look at the history of electric cars, from the humble origins as a wacky experiment by Robert Anderson of Scotland from around 1839 to the unique gas-electric hybrids like the Toyota Prius of 1997 to the pure electrics like the Tesla of 2008. This exhibit is also proof of why the market for electric cars is so strong that manufacturers who don’t offer electric options are now considered the exception rather than the rule.

“Extreme Conditions: Modified For Offroad” highlights the various types of vehicle customizations, and explores the history of competitive, recreational, and utilitarian off-roading. Decades of body lifts, suspension lifts, extra shocks, locking differentials, larger tires, and many other customizations can be seen here, whether it’s for off-road racing, handling difficult jobs, or simply having fun on the road.

“The Aesthetic Of Motoring: 90 Years Of Pininfarina” covers the fascinating chronicle of Battista Farina—better known by his Italian nickname “Pinin”—who established the firm, Carrozzeria Pinin Farina, during the 1920s, and created some of the most idolized coachwork of the era on chassis ranging from the distinguished Rolls-Royce to the workhorse Fiat. Ever since the firm, now known as Pininfarina, added a wind tunnel to its facilities, in 1972 to allow stylists to evaluate a car’s objective aerodynamic soundness along with the subjective beauty, the firm has continued to blaze trails in the area of streamlined aesthetics.

“Forza Motorsport: Racing Experience” lets visitors get behind the wheel of a racing car and feel the adrenaline rush of the track in one of eight specifically curated experiences to choose from, along with ten different racing simulators for a custom Forza Motorsport adventure. This exciting exhibit also includes relics and information on how each of these interactive elements of automotive culture was created.

And as if that weren’t enough vehicle exhibits to explore, the Petersen Automotive Museum also has “The Vault”, presented by Hagerty, which received a massive design overhaul, and is now twice as big as it was before and contains more than 250 automobiles from across the globe, including rare cars, motorcycles, and trucks spanning over 120 years of automotive history. This exclusive self-guided tour (sold separately as an add-on to the general admission) gives visitors the chance to see such automotive gems as turn-of-the-twentieth-century cars, head-of-state vehicles, American classics, the personal rides of Hollywood legends, award-winning hot rods, cars that pushed the boundaries of innovation, and so much more!

The Petersen Automotive Museum has a set of protocols in place to ensure the health and safety of all guests and employees, as seen below:

  • Guests should refrain from visiting the museum if they or anyone in their party shows any symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, shortness of breath, fever, or chills.
  • Guests should refrain from visiting the museum if they or anyone in their party has been in close contact with someone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.
  • Guests must pass a wellness check online before entering the museum.
  • Guests are required to wear face coverings at all times, except for guests under the age of 2.
  • Guests must order their tickets ahead of time with contactless payment only.
  • Guests must social distance at least 6 feet between themselves and guests outside of their household.
  • Guests are encouraged to wash their hands regularly using the sanitation stations available throughout the museum.
  • Some of the more interactive exhibits will be closed for the time being.

Click here to see the additional health and safety measures the Petersen Automotive Museum has implemented.


  • $16 for adults
  • $14 for seniors 62 and older
  • $11 for children 4 to 17 years of age
  • $20 access to The Vault

Click here to purchase your tickets.


6060 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036


Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm


Phone: (323) 964-6331


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Joe Garza | Editor

Joe Garza is an LA-based writer and musician. With a deep passion for the arts, his interests include screenwriting, reading, composing, and playing guitar and piano.

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