Petersen Automotive Museum Tour
We head to LA to visit the Petersen Automotive museum in search of the most outrageous cars from the streets to the movies.
Petersen Automotive Museum Tour
Matt Farah: Welcome to Los California in the Petersen Automotive Museum. Joining me today is Chris Brown, Information and Marketing Manager of the Petersen. Thanks for coming to the show.
Chris Brown: Nice to meet you.
Matt Farah: So, what are we going to see today?
Chris Brown: We’re going to see the Premier Automobile Collection on the West Coast.
Matt Farah: Nice. Let’s go do that. Let’s go for the grand tour onward.
Alright Chris, what can Brown do for me with this truck here? Is this the first version of the UPS truck?
Chris Brown: Yeah, this is what the real early UPS trucks look like. This is a restored vehicle by—
Matt Farah: Is it in so much better condition than the new UPS trucks I see?
Chris Brown: Yeah. It’s a lot less beat up. Probably, it won’t get your packages--any quicker though.
Matt Farah: This is a Model TT. What is the difference with the extra T there for?
Chris Brown: That was the commercial chassis.
Matt Farah: Oh, so it’s model T-truck?
Chris Brown: Basically.
Matt Farah: Alright, it's straightforward, fairly. So what’s happening in all this area here?
Chris Brown: Well, as you walk through the streetscape, the thing you’ll notice is all these cool little architectural details. All the stuff in here is based on things that either exist or did exist in Southern California.
Matt Farah: Here we go to the iconic. We got the El Dorado.
Chris Brown: It's a 59 Cadillac. It doesn’t get any more American than that in front of our diner.
Matt Farah: So as far as the collections here, I mean, are these cars owned by the Petersen? Are they part of private collection to be donated?
Chris Brown: Most of the stuff that you see on this floor is museum property. A lot of the cars in the exhibits, they either belong to museum that they’ve been donated or we've purchased or they’re part of the Robert Margie Petersen collection which is our benefactor or sometimes we get cars on loan for specific exhibits.
Matt Farah: So it’s a mixture? How many cars do you have right here?
Chris Brown: On the floor, you’ll see 130 to 150 cars. Our collection is probably close to 300 cars.
Matt Farah: Oh wow, very impressive.
Chris Brown: We try to rotate it a lot that way. It’s something new every time I come here.
Matt Farah: Alright.
So this area goes from very, very old into very, very new quickly.
Chris Brown: Where we’ve got the—
Matt Farah: This is the vertical door section apparently right?
Chris Brown: Yeah. This section is called L.A Auto-Tune. So, it’s all about different vehicles that really just say Los Angeles.
Matt Farah: Okay, so we got the SO on the McLaren. We've got the gold DeLorean.
Chris Brown: It's a gold plated DeLorean.
Matt Farah: Right. And this is from the American express promotion. Am I right?
Chris Brown: Exactly. And that’s in.
Matt Farah: I've read the apartment history back in the day including a grill or something?
Chris Brown: Yeah. And this one was actually—it came out of a bank in Texas, it was in the lobby.
Matt Farah: Yeah. It actually looks pretty well preserved.
Chris Brown: Yeah.
Matt Farah: Even below the gold plated, you can still see that it has been—it’s kind of a brushed stainless there.
Chris Brown: Exactly.
Matt Farah: Are wheels gold too?
Chris Brown: Yeah. Everything on the car was gold plated.
Matt Farah: That is sweet. Does this run 7.4 miles?
Chris Brown: Yeah. Nobody has ever driven it.
Matt Farah: Wow. It’s just been pushed around?
Chris Brown: Pretty much, yeah.
Matt Farah: Crazy. And then we've got the Bugatti ED 110.
Chris Brown: Yeah.
Matt Farah: This was the Exotic to have and then you have it right?
Chris Brown: Yeah. This was a pretty mean little car. The reason all three of these are together in live in the L.A Auto-Tune the exhibit—we call this making an entrance. So, it’s three different ways to get to know Exotic. You’ve got your butterfly door, you got your going and your scissor x.
Matt Farah: Okay Chris, this bike looks like skeleton.
Chris Brown: This is called the Skeleton Bike.
Matt Farah: What is it? I mean, is it ridable? Is this art or is this a vehicle?
Chris Brown: Yes. It’s a more than life size skeleton that the over all shape is but it is a ridable bike. It’s got a 2.3 little Ford motor. If this stood up, if this was actually a human that could stand up, it will be over nine feet tall.
Matt Farah: It’s crazy.
Chris Brown: And it’s all metal.
Matt Farah: Where is the fill tank, in the spine?
Chris Brown: That’s a good question.
Matt Farah: It was sitting here—
Chris Brown: That doesn’t really matter but—
Matt Farah: I mean it’s really crazy.
Chris Brown: It’s a beautiful sculpture.
Matt Farah: Yeah. It’s wild. This is a nice piece of art.
Chris Brown: And big.
Matt Farah: It does combine form and function pretty well.
Chris Brown: Yeah, absolutely.
Matt Farah: Now, speaking of form and function. This is quite possibly the coolest looking car I’ve even seen in my life. I’ve never seen another one like it. Is there another one like it?
Chris Brown: This is the only one.
Matt Farah: Okay. It’s the Rolls Royce?
Chris Brown: Yes. What it actually is is a Rolls Royce Phantom 1 Aerodynamic Coupe.
Matt Farah: Aerodynamic says it all.
Chris Brown: It kind of got the teardrop shape. It’s got the whole fin. What it’s called though—
Matt Farah: It really looks the Hulk version of Bugatti Atlantic Coupe.
Chris Brown: Kind of but the name it goes by is a Roundo Rolls
Matt Farah: I mean this door, I don’t if the camera show but this door is perfect circle and the window is kind to go to this kind of deal right here.
Chris Brown: —which is a very dramatic way of getting in and out of the car.
Matt Farah: Yeah. And this is the one of one.
Chris Brown: One of one. The original chassis is from 1925. It is Phantom 1. And believe it or not, it’s a six-cylinder.
Matt Farah: Really? So it’s probably— is extraordinary slow?
Chris Brown: But in 1934, it was re-bodied and it became this beautiful—
Matt Farah: Do the cameras really show how gigantic this car is? Can I stand next to it? I'm not going to touch it. I promise.
Chris Brown: Sure.
Matt Farah: But I got to show you guys, I am 6”3’, okay? Look how tall this is. This thing is like 5”9’. Where is Derrick? Derrick D., come here.
This car is taller than Derrick D. Come here. Stand next to this Rolls Royce. I guarantee you that this Rolls Royce is taller than Derrick D. It is.
If you exclude the jersey gel, this is taller than Derrick D. That is crazy and the interior as—oh men! You’re like—you know what else you don’t know is—Derrick D, get out of the way. Bye. Go back to your own show. Thank you.
What you don’t realize is inside; you're sitting like on the floor pretty much.
Chris Brown: Yeah, the floor looks great right here.
Matt Farah: You r floor is actually lounged out. The floor is like it’s up here. It’s crazy and beautiful.
Matt Farah: Fred and I had a bet. I lost and this is payback. By losing this bet, you’ve given me an opportunity to teach people about cars using the most tried and true method of all, primal urge. It’s all about not being a severe driver and sometimes we have to remind ourselves.
Matt Farah: You know I demand a lot from my cars. I drive them on a highway, drive them on the racetrack, I even drive them in and out in New York City in the dead of winter with the top down. But I can do all that because I take care of my cars. And if you take care of your car, it won’t let you down.
Sometimes—well, you got to show your car a little love just like Brandon “The Frog” do. Check out their latest episode of Under the Hood over at BrandonAndTheFrog.com. While you're there, check out their last three car care episodes in their full length glory. I'm going to be there checking out their episodes. So, I'll see you there.
Matt Farah: The escalators don’t exactly fit the building. Why is that?
Chris Brown: Actually, they did an original design of building. This was the original in c bolts department store and then it eventually became Orbox. Because of the design of the building, if you'll look out front, it’s pretty crazy look in design.
The escalator went with it and it’s a very cool piece of architecture. This gallery is the Hollywood gallery. These are all cars that were either in movies or television shows or they were owned by a celebrity.
Matt Farah: Okay. So Mach 5 is obviously—Mach 5. This one, this is very neat right here—the blacked out sled. What’s going on here?
Chris Brown: This was originally built by Dean, Jeffreys. It’s for the movie—not movie but the TV series “The Green Hornet.”
Matt Farah: Okay. So in this case, the car is the celebrity not the owner?
Chris Brown: Yeah. But the driver in the show was Bruce Lee, so there is some celebrity involvement.
Matt Farah: Yeah very cool. The little guy in the big car? It’s the opposite effect of that little car.
Chris Brown: Here’s the chauffeur.
Matt Farah: Alright. And I see there’s like brooms behind the wheels?
Chris Brown: Well yeah because you don’t want anybody to find your tire tracks.
Matt Farah: Is that seriously why that is there?
Chris Brown: Yeah. This car has got all kinds of little gadgets that pop out of it and do different—
Matt Farah: So it does brooms to avoid tire tracks?
Chris Brown: Yes. It sweeps your tire tracks
Matt Farah: I get it. That was the 60’s huh? I guess if you're doing that much acid that seems to be a good idea.
Alright, and what’s sticking out of the nose there?
Chris Brown: That’s some sort of—
Matt Farah: We got rocket launchers maybe?
Chris Brown: Yeah, we got all kinds of weapons—
Matt Farah: A gatling gun or something?
Chris Brown: Of different types.
Matt Farah: This has got to be George Barris.
Chris Brown: Yes, absolutely. This Grease Lightning Car from the movie Grease. This was the car they were standing and dancing and all that stuff.
Matt Farah: Okay. I have to tell you, I never saw that movie. I always thought it was kind of a little thing you know—but in the movie, did they have all the stuff on the side of it or is that an after effect?
Chris Brown: It had a lot of that stuff on—
Matt Farah: It did? Okay.
Brandon: Obviously, he didn’t say Travolta.
Chris Brown: No, no. they didn’t have the little logos in the front and all those stuffs.
Matt Farah: That clear hood—
Chris Brown: It had the clear hood. It had the fake induction and all that kind of stuff.
Matt Farah: I mean—it’s very barest.
Chris Brown: Yeah.
Matt Farah: It is definitely.
Chris Brown: I mean he was the king of movie cars back in the day you know.
Matt Farah: And in this—this has got to be in the Indiana Jones.
Chris Brown: Yes, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Matt Farah: Okay.
Chris Brown: The cool thing about this is, it looks like a Mercedes. It’s really Jaguar.
Matt Farah: Really?
Chris Brown: They redid the whole car.
Matt Farah: It was SK 140 or something?
Chris Brown: You know, I'm not even sure what model this is.
Matt Farah: May it’s this.
Chris Brown: I don’t know if it says—
Matt Farah: Mark 9 Jag. Was that like an early XJ or something like that?
Chris Brown: Yes. They chopped the top off of it. They redid the front end to make it look like a Mercedes and they got the car that they needed.
Matt Farah: I don’t know with my 30’s Mercedes but I believe it. I never once questioned it so it definitely is cool.
Chris Brown: You know, it’s certainly not a real Mercedes and the purest aren’t going to—I think it’s a Mercedes.
Matt Farah: It’s a movie car.
Chris Brown: It’s a great movie car.
Matt Farah: Yeah. It works. And then this thing—what is this?
Chris Brown: This was Professor Fate’s car from Great Race which was in 1965.
Matt Farah: And the Great Race was about the real great race around the world like the New York to Paris great race?
Chris Brown: Yeah, but this was more of the spoof because it’s got a car with the drill on the front of it with cannon and—you know this is the bad guy’s car.
Matt Farah: I didn’t see the Great Race either but this looks like a pretty absurd movie car. These are all—that’s Hollywood for you right there.
Chris Brown: And every time you'll come in the museum, you’ll see something different. So, some of these cars were rotated in and out of here. You’ll see other famous cars and you just never know what you're going to see when you come here.
Matt Farah: Nice. Chris, thanks a lot for the tour. I really appreciate it.
Chris Brown: Thank you.
Matt Farah: A great collection. I'm Matt Farah and you guys are watching Garage 419.
Petersen Automotive Museum Tour
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