LA’s Petersen Automotive Museum is a must see for all car enthusiasts

1926 Voisin C-7 at the Petersen Automotive Museum (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

LOS ANGELES — The Petersen Automotive Museum is located on LA’s Miracle Mile district in a unique red and silver wavy-design building.  Guests start on the third floor and work their way down to the first.  The top floor houses older model vehicles from the early 1900’s.  The second floor houses the Supercars and Porsches.  “Inside Tesla” is on the first floor.

The first car on the third floor I noticed was the 1926 Voisin.  Gabriel Voisin, an aircraft engineer, founded the company in 1919.  His style of angular coupes were nicknamed “Lumineuse,” referring to the openness of light.  His individual expression included three-box styling, vertically creased door panels and unique interior fabric designs.

There was also a 1948 Tucker founded by Preston Tucker who incorporated many performance and safety features during the postwar period, such as a central headlight that turns with the front wheels and a padded dashboard.  There are exterior vents that cool the World War II helicopter rear engine.  Unable to supply dealers, Preston Tucker was indicted on 31 counts of fraud, then later acquitted.  A lack of public confidence prevented him from resuming production.

There was also a 1928 Indian motorcycle on display.  The Indian 101 Scout is remembered as the greatest motorcycle ever made.  Designed in 1928 by former racer Charles B. Franklin.  The engine is V-twin F-head with 18 horsepower and with a top speed of 70 mph.

“We Are Porsche” is one of the temporary exhibits on the second floor.  The museum has 40 Porsche vehicles.  In 1950, Porsche came to America.  With its rounded shape and a rear engine, it was considered different than the cars that was popular at the time.

After World War II, a new kind of car craze swept the nation—the sports car.  They are small and nimble and people were looking for excitement.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s women took up sport racing.  They paved the way for scores of women in every variety of motorsports that came after them.  An example was the 1954 Porsche 550 Spyder on display which was the first model designed for racing.  It had a 1.5-liter engine and light aluminum bodywork.  Betty Shutes bought this car in 1957 and drove it in 31 races, winning 13.

“Inside Tesla” is another temporary exhibit that is on the first level.  Elon Musk had an interest in emerging technologies since becoming Tesla’s largest investor and Chairman of the Board of Directors in February 2004.  He is the forefront of human innovation.  Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa.  He taught himself computer programming.  He moved to Canada in 1989 and enrolled in Queens University the following year.  Then he transferred to University of Pennsylvania with bachelor degrees in physics and economics in 1995.  After just two days at Stanford University, he left his doctoral studies to launch a Silicon Valley startup.

Musk’s first business venture was a web software company Zip2, the first internet maps and directions services. In 1999 Musk sold Zip2 to Compaq Computer Corporation.  Then he co-founded an online bank, and that was acquired by eBay in 2002.  He started SpaceX in May 2002 at 30 years old.  His involvement with Tesla was still two years away.  Several of his Tesla models are on display at the museum including the Cybertruck.

The Petersen Automotive Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles, California.  The museum is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Tickets prices are $19.95 for adults (18-62), Seniors $17.95 (62+), Youth $12.95 (12-17) and Children $10.95 (4-11).

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