Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The New Petersen Auto Museum Is a Must-Visit

Pantone 187 C is red. Really, really red. Peeking out from behind the dramatic cage of stainless-steel ribbons that wrap the newly refurbished Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, Pantone 187 C is as searingly red as the undersides of Christian Louboutin’s famous stilettos. The Petersen calls Pantone 187 C “Hot Rod Red,” for what it’s worth, but the crimson hue has the same flirty and seductive effect as the sultry “Chinese Red” (Pantone 18-1663, for the record) on those famous, red-soled pumps, enticing motorists to pull in to see what is hiding behind flowing skirts of L.A.’s newest landmark, located at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard at Fairfax Avenue.--We were lucky enough to do just that at the official ribbon-cutting for the museum’s spectacular, $90-million renovation, and found that as dramatic as the exterior is, what’s inside—we’re talking about more than 100 priceless cars spread over 25 galleries—will really set your heart racing.Love it or hate it—and there are plenty of people in both camps—the new Petersen Museum’s design is undeniably distinctive. Formerly a luxury department store before becoming the Petersen Museum two decades ago, the structure’s footprint haven’t changed much, but the new façade is unlike anything else in Los Angeles. This is the first Los Angeles project for architects Kohn Pedersen Associates, who said that the design derived from the flow of air over an automobile at speed. The billowing effect is particularly apparent while standing on the street corner opposite the building; from that vantage point, it appears as if the corner of the building is being contorted by the wind.One hundred tons of stainless steel were purchased for the exterior’s signature sheetmetal ribbons. They are affixed to red-painted aluminum bodies by specially fasteners that pay homage to the fasteners of early 20th-century automobiles. The entire web of metal is suspended and cantilevered off the building with the help of 12 support “trees” and 13 support “shrubs” that are painted white on the roof and red at street level.Ribbons curling over the top of the museum create a particularly dramatic enclosure on the decks of the fourth floor “penthouse” and event space.The Petersen’s nearly 200,000 square feet (including more than 59,000 in the “Vault”) are arranged in a series of galleries, some large and some smaller, such that visitors will want to walk around every corner to discover what’s in each of the museum’s many nooks. That said, the Petersen doesn’t make you wait long to show you some of its most valuable assets, including the gargantuan “Round-Door Rolls” Phantom situated just a few steps inside the front door.The Grand Salon pitches the vehicles contained therein as “fine art.” No need to explain why. Yes, that’s a 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic by Jean Bugatti in the foreground, flanked by a silver 1938 Bentley 4¼-liter “Embiricos” by Pourtout (left) and a black 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier by Sindelfingen (right).More grandeur in the Grand Salon in front of an ever-changing 130-foot projection wall, led by this gorgeous 1938 Graham Model 97 Cabriolet by Saoutchik.The Petersen is hosting several Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance winners, including this jaw-dropping 1937 Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet by Voll & Ruhrbeck.The Petersen Meyer Gallery’s “Precious Metal” exhibit has a lot of that, including (from front) a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Streamliner, a 1959 Chevrolet Corvette XP-87 Stingray Racer, a 1995 McLaren F1, and a 1964 Aston Martin DB5.The Nearburg Family racing gallery features 11 noted race winners, including these special Porsches: (from left) the 1980 LeMans-winning 935 K3, a short-tail 1969 Gulf Wyer 917K, Martini Racing’s legendary 1980 936/4, and Rothmans 1986 962.Pixar Entertainment was enlisted to help create an iPad-based interactive experience for kids and adults alike on the design and building of an automobile. Characters from the movie Cars direct participants around a portion of the second floor, prompting them to build their own car that is virtually raced at the end. The performance of the virtual car is based on the construction, powertrain choice, and aerodynamics of the selected components. Cool fact: The original cast members of Cars actually reprised their voice roles for the exhibit’s app.BMW brought two of its famous “art cars” plus the 2008 Z4 used as a four-wheeled paint brush by artist Robin Rhode in the “Expression of Joy” art project.Here’s Steve McQueen’s Jaguar XKSS. ’Nuff said.Being in L.A. and all, the Petersen devotes some serious square-footage to the history of alternative-fuel vehicles, including this display of a Tesla Model S. Part of one, anyway.The Petersen now provides studio space for Art Center College of Design students in rooms visible from the galleries, thus allowing visitors to see future automobile designers learning their craft.Want to race the new Ford GT? You can do it in one of ten arcade-style Xbox Forza racing simulators in the Petersen Driving Gallery.Speaking of the Ford GT, the museum has one of Ford’s early prototypes on permanent display, positioned face-to-face with its inspiration, the Petersen’s own 1967 Ford GT40 Mark III.Of course, the Petersen wouldn’t be the Petersen if it didn’t display a bevy of famous four-wheeled movie and TV stars. Here, we have an open-back 1951 Chrysler camera car, the adorable yellow 1979 Volkswagen Microbus from Little Miss Sunshine, and the 1967 Lincoln Continental Convertible from Entourage.More from the Hollywood Gallery include the Ferrari 308GTB from Magnum PI, Walter White’s famous Pontiac Aztek from Breaking Bad, an Aston Martin DB10 and Jaguar C-X75 from SPECTRE, and one of the Batmobiles from the Michael Keaton Batman films.Like two-wheeled masterpieces? The Petersen has plenty of those, too, with nearly two dozen on display throughout the museum.Petersen also has the stunning V-10-based Dodge Tomahawk displayed the lobby. Remember that thing?The Petersen still will continue to offer tours of the "Vault" beneath the museum, where some 150 more cars are stored and maintained—this is a must-see for the hard-core enthusiast, but was the case prior to the renovation, reservations are required. Furthermore, the museum directors vow to change the museum displays often so as to attract more repeat visitors, so it may not be the same place six months from now. In any case, we encourage you to visit as soon as possible, since the vehicles on display bring new meaning to the word “epic.” The price of admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students with IDs, and $7 for kids. Active Duty, Personal Care professionals, and kids under 3 years old are free.
from Car and Driver Blog

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