With over 100 special vehicles on display at any given time, an incredible 100-ton ribbon art assembly outside, and being situated next other world-renowned museums such as the LACMA in the heart of Los Angeles, the Petersen Automotive Museum is not just a big deal for car enthusiasts, but for anyone who can appreciate art & culture as well. The museum broke ground in '94; however, it wasn't until three years ago that it was given a multi-million-dollar renovation and became a staple attraction of LA. We've been a bit lucky, having hosted two of our most recent and largest Tech Day car meets in their parking structure. Our '17 event filled the venue with more than 600 cars, plus several hundred overflowed into neighboring streets and parking lots. While our meets can be exciting and packed with modified cars, it's what's inside the museum where you'll learn a thing or two. Hot rods, celebrity cars, land-speed and endurance record holders, motorcycles and more, it's behind the glass doors where history is on display, and where you'll discover more than what you can find at any local show or on Wikipedia. So, we were beyond ecstatic when the Petersen announced this week that they'll be adding two special exhibits, both of which are an ode to Japanese manufacturers and culture dubbed "The Roots of Monozukuri: Creative Spirit in Japanese Automaking" and "Fine Tuning: Japanese-American Customs."
The first exhibit (we'll call it the "Monozukuri," for short), will feature pristine Japanese vehicles from the '70s and earlier. While we're a day before the actual opening of this exhibit, many of the cars were still being loaded in and setup; however, there was a stunning 1967 Toyota 2000GT for us to gawk at. Often referred to as Japan's first supercar, this particular model featured a convertible Targa top, and is also famous for being the car used in the James Bond film, You Only Live Twice.
The Petersen tells us there are seven cars in total that were transported from Japan just for the special exhibit. Other highlights in "Monozukuri" include a 1936 Toyoda AA (replica), 1966 Nissan Silvia, 1968 Honda N600 and 1969 Mazda Cosmo.
While we dig the classics, we're most stoked about the "Japanese-American Customs" exhibit next door. Aimed to show off examples of American tuner culture, Petersen curated the cars to include a mix of JDM styling and motorsport. You'll notice four former Super Street feature cars front and center which include former editor-in-chief Jonathan's Wong's 1990 Honda Civic Si, Patrick Soliman's RB-swapped 1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GTX, Fredric Aasbo's'15 Formula DRIFT-winning Scion tC, and Stephen Papadakis' FWD record-breaking 1998 Honda Civic featured in several drag racing articles from back in the day. In addition, Daniel Pellegrino's "Kaido" 1991 Toyota Cresta, Brett Stebel's race-inspired 1974 Mazda RX-3 and a 1993 Toyota Supra from Titan Motorsports were added as well to show the breadth of early tuner culture in America.
Both "Monozokuri" or "Japanese-American Classics" exhibits don't offer a display of cars as massive as what you'd find at an event like JCCS, but the fact that an organization such as the Petersen is acknowledging our culture as a part of automotive history is what makes this an incredible milestone for our community. Many of us are caught up trying to stay ahead of the curve and keeping up with our social media today. Trends are constantly changing, but it's important to sometimes take a step back, understand your roots and appreciate the pioneers that made everything we do possible. With that said, we encourage you to check out the Petersen if you make it to Los Angeles between now and April 2019. The museum is open 10am-6pm every day, tickets are available at the door or at www.petersen.org, and we promise whether you spend a couple of hours or a whole day there, that you'll leave appreciating being a car enthusiast that much more.