The Petersen Automotive Museum is All Revved Up for its Reopening

The Petersen Automotive Museum’s exterior

The Petersen Automotive Museum is back and better than ever following a 14-month, $90 million remodeling of the space. The museum showed off its transformation to VIPs at a reopening gala on Dec. 5, and to the public on Dec. 7. Its exterior has been transformed with ribbons of stainless steel and 866 LED lights, while its interior now has three full floors of content with 95,000 square feet of exhibit space, 25 galleries, priceless vehicles, cutting-edge technology and an architecturally stunning stone spiral staircase. Here’s what to expect on a trip to the newly renovated museum.


On the Peter and Merle Mullin Artistry Floor, guests can discover the most artfully designed vehicles from history, often regarded as rolling sculpture. The Mullin Grand Salon features the exhibit Artistry of the Automobile, featuring some of the finest coachbuilt cars of the art deco era, from the 1936 Type 57sc Bugatti Atlantic to the 1938 Talbot-Lago T150C SS Figoni et Falaschi Teardrop. This gallery also houses a 166-foot panoramic display wall displaying motion graphic art inspired by the “golden ratio,” a design standard often used in Art

Decoera design. The last exhibit on the top-to-bottom tour is also the first one visitors see upon entering the museum—BMW Art Cars in the Armand Hammer Foundation Gallery, presented by BMW of North America. On display is the 1995 BMW 850 CSi designed by highly influential British artist David Hockney as well as the 2008 BMW Z4 used by South African artist Robin Rhode for the “Expression Of Joy” project.

Peterson Automobile MuseumFLOOR 2

On the Industry Floor, guests can explore the diversity of automotive design and technology and see cars that have been modified for speed and efficiency. Learn what it’s like to work in the car industry and watch automotive design students as they envision the next generation of vehicular transportation. Here, you’ll also be able to experience the Precious Metal exhibit in the Bruce Meyer Family Gallery. As presented by Rolex, you’ll find a gathering of the world’s rarest and most exotic cars, all finished in silver. Just a few samples of the vehicles in this gallery include a 1995 McLaren F1, the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 driven by James Bond in the movie Goldfinger and a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Streamliner driven by Juan-Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss. Meanwhile, the Pixar Cars Mechanical Institute features a life-size Lightning McQueen and uses augmented reality technology to teach children how cars really work, starring their favorite characters from the Cars movies on Carspad tablets. The Industry Professionals exhibit in the Roeder-Harman Gallery screens interviews with the engineers, designers, marketers and executives who take cars from design to reality—all presented by Jay Leno. The Production Gallery, presented by Maserati, features “Made in Italy: Design to Line,” an exhibit showcasing how a production luxury car goes from rendering to model to finished vehicle. Continue down the hall and visitors can visit the High Performance Road Cars exhibit presented by Ford Motor Company, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ford’s historic win at LeMans with the museum’s GT40 MkIII alongside the all-new Ford GT supercar. From there, fans can step into the winner’s circle in the Motorsports exhibit in the Charles Nearburg Family Gallery; directly behind this exhibit is the Forza Motorsport Racing Experience, where fans can get behind the wheel of a variety of vehicles and try their hand at racing on driving rigs running the latest version of Microsoft’s racing simulator.


On the History Floor, visitors can explore nostalgic automotive history. Check out the Hollywood Gallery, which includes high-profile pieces like the Batmobile, the Magnum P.I. Ferrari, several vehicles from the latest James Bond movie, Spectre, the Pontiac Aztec from Breaking Bad and other fan favorites. Also featured on the third floor is the SoCal exhibit “Southern California: A Region in Motion” in the Southland Gallery, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, which uses interactive video content to show how Los Angeles grew out, instead of up, like most cities.


The Petersen restaurant and catering services will be the first four-brother venture for the famous Drago brothers: Celestino, Tanino, Calogero and Giancomino. Angelenos will be familiar with their venues such as Celestino, Il Pastaio, Il Fornaio Beverly Hills, Enoteco Drago Beverly Hills, Drago Centro, Osteria Drago, Tanino Ristorante Bar and Panzanella Ristorante. The still-to-be-named eatery will open this spring.

The Petersen Automotive Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd.