It’s a controversial subject throughout the traditional hot rod world; the euro-gentrification of the Petersen Museum, funded by the late car magazine magnate Robert Petersen. Bugatti collector Peter Mullin had his way, and his namesake's first floor gallery is filled with 20 prime examples of world-class French coach built sculpture. A well-informed guard assured Tom that there are enough art deco cars in the vault to completely change the exhibit semi-annually.
While hot rods and customs do play a lesser role in this incarnation, they are still well represented with definitive examples, demonstrating them to be an important part of overall car culture. The new museum combines history, design, technology, education, beauty and whimsy to create a definitive world-class destination automobile museum experience.
Some nicely restored motorcycles are also on display.
Someone spent 90 million bucks on the museum’s redesign and I believe they got their money’s worth. The faux Gehry wrap on the outside is a bit over-the-top, to be sure; but it certainly brings visual attention to “that new car place” that resides in the middle of Museum Row on Wilshire Blvd.
One more very nice thing . . . the displays are so photographer-friendly! Tripods are not allowed, but the displays are usually well lit and moderate ISO values on a camera that can handle ISO well will give you pretty decent photos. If you decide you would like to check out the museum, purchase your tickets online in advance. That way you can go right to the front of what can be a long line waiting to get tickets at the door.