From today, the iconic vehicles at the Petersen Automotive Museum such as Steve McQueen's 1956 Jaguar XKSS, the Batmobile and Ed Roth's Outlaw will be joined by another important piece of car culture. A recent donation has added the "Aluma Coupe" to the Museum's impressive collection.
Aluma Coupe was built at Hot Rods by Boyd, founded by the late Boyd Coddington, a superstar in the automotive industry and star of the American Hot Rod TV show.
Long before Hollywood discovered hot rods, Coddington revolutionized the aftermarket wheel industry along with "Lil" John Buttera by introducing what was to be known as the "Billet" wheel. Machining forged billets of aluminum opened the creative minds of the industry, who could now produce limited quantities and one-off wheels at a reasonable price. Hot rod and custom car build styles were revolutionized by the high-tech look CNC-machined wheels and accessories created, and the "Boyd Look" was born.
Boyd constantly pushed hot rodding to the next level. When it was time to create a forward-thinking hot rod, he turned to then General Motors Designer Larry Erickson who had designed "CadZZilla", another Boyd-built car for ZZ Top front man Billy Gibbons. (Erickson went on to design for Ford Motor Company, and now runs the Design program for the College for Creative Studies.) During the design process, the opportunity to work with Mitsubishi surfaced, and the project took off in a unique direction.
Aluma Coupe's slippery shape and transverse-mounted Mitsubishi V6 in the trunk debuted in Mitsubishi's display at the 1992 New York International Auto Show. The concept car drew a great deal of attention from automotive journalists and showgoers for its radical departure from the typical concepts. However, many traditional hot rodders felt the aluminum body's radical shape and Japanese motor mounted "in the wrong end" was pushing things too far.
"The scratch-built Aluma Coupe represented a complete departure from typical design practice by combining traditional styling themes with extremely sophisticated engineering. Like a large number of other vehicles in the Petersen Automotive Museum collection, it demonstrates how the creativity and craftsmanship of local builders can influence the course of an entire movement," said Petersen Curator Leslie Kendall Aluma Coupe is a permanent part of the Petersen Automotive Museum thanks to the Museum Board Member, David Sydorick, who generously donated the iconic coupe. The Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, $3 for children. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm. www.petersen.org