In 1991, publisher Robert E Petersen was looking for a new office site in Los Angeles, and visited the vacant building, once a Japanese department store, at the intersection of Fairfax and Wilshire, in LA's "Miracle Mile". The building had virtually no windows, which made it unworkable as an office building--but Petersen realized that it was a perfect place to exhibit his collection of antique automobiles, where they would be protected from the harmful UV rays from the sun. The Petersen Automotive Museum opened in 1994, and celebrates the history of the American car culture.
The Petersen Automotive Museum
1900 "Motorized Wagon", using a one-cylinder gasoline engine.
1901 Breer, with a two-cylinder steam engine.
1911 American Motor Company Model 50 Traveler. Manufactured in Indiana, this was an "underslung" design, in which the chassis was mounted underneath the axles.
1915 Stutz race car.
Interior of 1915 Stutz.
1922 Ford Model T Touring Car, as used in the 1930 comedy film "Hog Wild" with Laurel and Hardy.
1931 Ford Model A Station Wagon
1951 Plymouth Savoy station wagon.
1929 Austin Seven "Chummy"
1916 Overland Touring Car
1921 Tanker Truck by the White Company
Early gasoline pumps, 1920 to 1940
1917 Anderson Detroit Electric, Model 61.
1915 Ford Model T Runabout
Interior, Ford Model T Runabout
1930 Nash 402R Coupe.
1942 Chevrolet Suburban
1939 Packard Super Eight Phaeton. This car belonged to Argentinian President and First Lady Juan and Evita Peron.
1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Convertible. This car was owned by Jack Nicholson.
1954 Kaiser Darrin KD-161. The fiberglass body was unusual at the time. Only 435 were built.
1940 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe.
1932 Ford Coupe. A favorite of 1950's hot-rodders, it was known as the "little deuce coupe".
1957 Ford Thunderbird
1988 Mana La Solar Vehicle. Capable of 85mph.
1948 Chevrolet pickup truck. In postwar times, gasoline was scarce, so this truck was designed to run on coal or wood. Wood-burning engines never really caught on in the US, but were popular in Europe.
2012 Fisker Karma. Gas-electric hybrid.
1974 Dutcher. An experimental steam-powered car that never went into production.
2005 Nissan X-Terra FCV. Powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.
1965 Mercedes-Benz 220SE Cabriolet. Used in the movie "The Hangover".
1927 Indian "Big Chief" motorcycle. Owned by Steve McQueen.
1988 Yamaha motorcycle, modified for use as a mobile camera unit. The camera and cameraman ride in the sidecar.
One of the Batmobiles from "Batman" and "Batman Returns". Several were made for the movies.
1966 Yamaha YDS-3 with sidecar, used as "The Bat-Cycle" in the 1960's "Batman" TV series.
The "Mach 5" from Speed Racer. Made as a concept car in 1999. When the "Speed Racer" movie was produced in 2008, no running vehicles were made--only static models for closeup shots. The action sequences were all digital.
"Ecto-1", from "Ghostbusters". Made from a 1959 Cadillac.
1959 Datsun 220 pickup truck. One of Datsun/Nissan's first export vehicles to the US.
1968 Volkswagen Pickup. Basically a VW bus with the back cut off.
1912 Harley-Davidson Model X8A. Harley made its first motorcycle in 1903--the X8A is an improved version.
1950 Jaguar XK120. Used in the 2013 movie "Gangster Squad".
1965 Jaguar E. Used in the TV series "Mad Men".