Even if you don’t go inside the Petersen Automotive Museum, you’ll want to make it a point to at least drive by it. The stainless steel ribbon enclosing the bright red museum makes it one of the most distinctive buildings in Los Angeles. But we think you will want to go inside the museum as well. The Petersen Automotive Museum is rated as the world’s greatest automotive museum.
Located on Wilshire Blvd on the western boundary of the Miracle Mile and Museum Row, the museum is a stone’s throw from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the world famous Urban Light Sculpture and the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum. It is also directly across the street from the famous Johnie’s Coffee Shop Restaurant that has been used in so many films.
The museum was founded on June 11, 1994 by magazine publisher Robert E. Petersen and his wife Margie. it was originally located within the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and later moved to its current location which was once a historic department store.
The bold look of the Petersen Automotive Museum is a result of a $125 million renovation in 2015. The stainless steel ribbon that surrounds the building was made of 100 tons of steel.
The museum has over 100 vehicles on display in 25 showrooms. It’s not only the cars themselves that are noteworthy, some have been owned by celebrities and had “starring roles” in movies and televisions series.
It also has a lower level called the Vault which features over 250 vehicles from around the world. These are the most iconic and rare cars, motorcycles, and trucks spanning over 120 years of automotive history.
Some of exhibits include:
• A Porsche exhibit, including the rare 1939 Porsche 64, one of only two in existence.
• A unique exhibit on the history of the Japanese automotive industry.
• An exhibit on powered children’s racecars
• The NASCAR Herbie used during filming of Herbie: Fully Loaded.
• Lightning McQueen from Disney Pixar Cars and Cars 2
• 1967 Ford MKIII GT40
• 1956 Jaguar XKSS formerly owned by Steve McQueen
• 1992 Batmobile from Batman Returns
• Ferrari 308 GTS Targa used by Tom Selleck in Magnum, P.I. In order for the 6’4” Tom Selleck to fit in the Ferrari, they had to lower the driver seat.
• De Tomaso Pantera which belonged to Elvis Presley
General admission tickets are $16.00 for adults, $13.00 for students and seniors and $8.00 for children 3 -12. Admission to the Vault is an additional $23.00 and is by guided tour. You have to pick a tour time and wait until that tour group starts.
Handheld photography and videography is permitted except in the Vault where there is no photography allowed. No tripods, monopods or selfie-sticks are allowed in any area.
For more information, visit the Petersen Automotive Museum website. Parking is free for the first thirty minutes. The entrance to the parking garage is on Fairfax Ave. The Petersen Automotive Museum is located at:
6060 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036