Watch Michael Bodell, the Deputy Director/Chief Operating Officer of the Petersen Automotive Museum for a virtual tour in the Vault. Discover some of the most iconic and rare cars, motorcycles, and trucks spanning over 120 years of automotive history on the largest guided automotive tour in the United States.
Read below for a full transcript of the conversation.
Laura Vele - Good afternoon, it's my privilege and pleasure on behalf of First Republic Bank to welcome you here today. We are delighted to partner with the Petersen Automotive Museum on today's program. Our organizations have been working together for many years and we look forward to continuing our work together to bring the history of the automobile and its impact on global life and culture to light. For those of you not familiar with the Petersen Automotive Museum, they are a center for automotive research and collecting the focal point for automotive history, culture and enthusiasm across the US and a premier educational institution here in Los Angeles. Before we get started please know that you may submit your questions throughout the presentation using the Q&A function. And with that, I'd like to turn today's program over to Michael Bodell, Deputy Director, Chief Operating Officer of the Petersen Automotive Museum for this virtual tour.
Michael Bodell - Welcome everyone to the Petersen, a huge thank you to First Republic. For those of you who haven't been to the Petersen before we had a huge transformation back in 2015 that we could not have done without the support of First Republic. And over the last five years we have had many tremendous and successful activations and experiences and programs through First Republic. So, a huge thank you to First Republic for giving us this opportunity. And today we're going to tour our three newest exhibits. So right now, we're on the third floor which is typically where the journey of the visitor starts. We'll go to the second floor and then into our exclusive vault. And I will hand off to our curator, Autumn, who is on the second floor and Leslie, our Chief Historian who's in our vault. And today we're actually in the exhibit that hasn't yet debuted to the public, which is Supercars. And we've got over 30 supercars spanning a century here and behind me is a 1988 Lamborghini Countach. And we have this as our intro story because when you think of supercars this is really what you think, it's really outrageous, it was high performance. The design was something that you could not miss. And it was something that you would want to put on your wall. This was a poster that like many of us we had on our walls along with some of the other cars in this caravan. So, this is one of the little breakout stories that we currently have here on this floor. And I'm going to take you through the rest of the stories as you can see the history of how the supercar came to be and then see some of the more exciting debuts as in supercar world that have come over the last 20 or so years more recently.
And so, when you think about supercars, you really think modern, but supercars have always been a concept that people have wanted to obtain. They were race cars for the road essentially, cars that were limited access and or something that you aspire to own. And one of the first supercars that we consider is right here. This is our 1913 Mercer Raceabout, and the Mercer, if you're from Southern California, raced on an extremely important race which was the American Grand Prix taking place in Santa Monica, California. And this truly was a race car for the road. In 1913, this car was capable of over 60 miles an hour. Some say almost 100 miles an hour but really stripped it down. And this one is probably restored Mercer that's out there. So, this had been repainted in the 40s or 50s. It's got the original running boards and this car is over 100 years old. So, you can only imagine what it would be like to go, you know, 60, 70 miles an hour in a car that's on wooden wheels and dirt roads. So, this is the teens, we go into the 20s, where the Mercedes Targa Florio, in this era of the 20s, if you had a big long hood and a tall hood, it meant you had a big engine. This car certainly had a big engine. This was a Mercedes' first aircraft powered motor vehicle. And this competed in the Targa Florio Race which was an endurance race and won. And so, an extremely capable car. This one was restored for Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and really shows that, these cars again were powerful race cars for the road. And the word that is used is typically homologation. And that means that a race team would essentially make a certain amount of road going cars in order to compete and then a lucky few would be able to own those vehicles for personal use. And again, extremely rare, very expensive, and of course fast. And when you're speaking about fast in your 30s, you probably can't ignore the Duesenberg.
This is our 1933 Murphy body Duesenberg and Duesenbergs with the most expensive cars in their era, certainly the most expensive American cars. And Duesenbergs were powered by eight-cylinder engines. This one happens to be a supercharge SJ, which was even more fast. And if you had the special manifold, these cars in the 1930s, they got upwards of 400 horsepower. And so, this car is definitely one of the gems of our collection. Murphy was a Pasadena coach builder. So really ties into our theme, which is LA built cars. So, this one resonates. And if you've ever heard the term, it's a doozy, it comes from Duesenberg. Over here, going into the 40s, we have a new Chaperon body Delahaye and this car again was rebodied as a race car. So, this was a competition, a successfully competed grand Prix car that Henry Chaperon built this beautiful body for. And again, in the day, if you wanted to race you had to have a certain amount of broad going cars. So, this one was repurposed high performance car, beautiful teardrop vendors put onto the race car platform and powered train. And to crown our collection is what we call the Henry Ford Barchetta. And this is a 1952 Ferrari Barchetta, it's a 212, but it's got a 225 racing motor in it. And this one was purchased by the Ford family. And there's a lot of characteristics that you'll notice that ended up on the Ford Thunderbird. And there's pictures of this exact vehicle in the design studio at Ford. This one just so happens to be original unrestored. So, 1952, and this is what the pain still looks like. So, this is a great vehicle when you're talking about preservation, which is one of our big activities here in the museum. So, we're going to go onto the other side. So, staying in the 50s, you've got the Mercedes Gullwing and you kind of go into practicality. The Gullwing was a practical and usable supercar. It had the famous Gullwings that open up kind of like the wings of a bird. And this one belongs to our vice chairman, Bruce Meyer. So, if you're in LA, the car community, this is probably one of the most desired iterations of a 300 SL. It's got the knockoff wheels. It's a hard top, it's black with an Oxford red interior. And if you look inside, you'll be able to see the fitted luggage.
Staying in the 50s, our next car is my personal favorite and probably one of the favorites for a lot of employees, but it's Steve McQueen, 1956 Jaguar XKSS. And the XKSS was the Amalagated Jaguar D-Type which was Jaguar successful Le Mans racer. Originally, there were supposed to make 25 of these cars. Unfortunately, the factory burned down, and they ended up making only 16 of them, this is one of the 16. Originally it was white with a red interior and Steve McQueen personalized it to his taste. So, it was painted British racing green. It had a black interior, and he actually even had Von Dutch do a special little cubby cover on the glove box. And this really was a race car for the road. Steve McQueen lived off of Mulholland Drive and there's a lot of famous stories around this car especially with him speeding. And one of them is that the police commissioner of LA had a free steak dinner to any officer that could give him a speeding ticket, and nobody was ever able to keep up with him because of the immense performance of this car. Even to this day, the performance is impressive. It was capable of zero to 100 miles an hour in under 14 seconds, which for a car that's over 60 years old no, immensely fast. This is a Ferrari 250 GT Interim. The Interim was the, the in-between. So, this was a GT, a long wheelbase. And so, a lot of you who know Ferraris the 250 GT short wheelbase was the racing iteration on this extremely successful. One of the most desired Ferrari's, a car that has a value in the 20 or so million-dollar range. And the interim was the long-haul wheelbase. It's a much rarer car. You can distinguish it up this extra area that essentially was added behind the driver's seat to create some kind of storage. Very, very rare, again, kind of going into the 60s now, a very famous car if anybody has seen the Film Ford versus Ferrari, we've got our 427 Shelby Cobra. The 427 was the bigger engine iteration. Carol Shelby created the Cobra to be again, usable race car for the road and a successful race car on the track. And it sits right next to our 67 Mark III GT40 because they're both Carol Shelby stories. The GT40 of course, was raised in 64 all the way through 69.
It had its famous wins in 66, 67, 68, 69. And this was the homologated version. So, this is one of seven of the homologated GT40 Mark III It is one of four that was left-hand drive, the GT40 was called the GT40 because it was 40 inches off the ground, and you can see just how low this car truly is. This one is a very well-maintained GT40. Typically, these cars saw racetracks. I don't believe this one has seen a racetrack. So, it's been very delicately maintained and the 60s were considered the pinnacle of design for a lot of sports cars. You had the Jaguar E-Type, the Cobra, all the Ferrari's of that era. So again, your kind of going into the pinnacle of design for supercars in this era. So, we're making our way around the corner and there in the corner this is our, a highlights gallery. We can see down the row, we've got this amazing span of supercars that just continues. And I'm going to go through these quickly because we've got three, four to cover, but you've got the Lamborghini Miura, which is again kind of the considered the grandfather supercar. This was Lamborghini's real term at pushing Ferrari out of the way. Next to it, you've got the Lancia Stratos, which was a homologated, essentially Group B rally car. It used the 2.4-liter engine out of the Ferrari Dino, but weighed just about 2000 pounds. So extremely, or just under 2000 pounds, so extremely federalized. It really was a race car for the road. In the doors, there's actually pockets for your racing helmet. So, your driver and passenger had pockets for the racing helmets. You've got the BMW M1. The M1 was actually a shelved project from Lamborghini. Doesn't look anything like a BMW in my opinion, but it's one of the most beautiful. This particular example is the most original and low mileage M1 that's currently out there. Mid-engine, again, most you'll see of these supercars are a mid-engine configuration or a rear engine configuration.
The Ferrari Testarossa which has the side thins or the gills on the side, which made it extremely unique in its design. A lot of people will know this from Miami Vice. And you know now we're in the 80s, going into the late 80s for any Porsche fans, we've got the 959S and the S variant was actually a little bit faster in top speed. The Porsche 959 was actually built out of, again homologation when Porsche was in rally at the Paris car, and this car was extremely advanced. It had all wheel drive; it had a sequential turbo system and it competed with the fastest cars in the world at the time. In the late 80s, this was capable of 190 miles an hour. And the S variant, which this one is, was capable of 210 miles an hour. So, way ahead of its time, extremely usable car, which is what Porsche always creates. And it went up against the Ferrari F40, the Bugatti EB110, all the cars kind of in that early dot com supercar boom. Next to it is a Ruf. So again, if you're familiar with Porsche, Ruf was its own brand. It actually, it was basically like a Porsche Hotrod. This is the Yellowbird number one. So, this is the first Yellowbird off the assembly line. And there's a really famous article in Road & Track about this car. Just absolutely being the fastest thing on the road. There's a famous video of it drifting the Nurburgring which is an extremely famous racetrack in in Germany, 211 miles an hour was the top speed. So, one mile an hour faster than Porsche's pinnacle engineering piece. So amazing machine, kind of shows the iteration of a Porsche, take it to that next level. The Acura NSX was made famous in the film "Pulp Fiction" actually, and was test drove and refined by the famous driver Ayrton Senna and actually our board member, Bobby Rahal, who helped with the suspension telemetry, but the Acura NSX was Honda and Acura's attempt at making an extremely usable supercars. A supercar that you could use every day. And a lot of the characteristics of this car ended up on the McLaren F1 that we'll see at the end of this floor.
And the McLaren F1 is considered the pinnacle of all supercars from this era. You've got the Jaguar XJ 220, which was Jaguar's attempt again at capturing that kind of dot com boom of the early 90s. It was capable of a 217 mile an hour top speed. The car was called 220, because that was the estimated top speed. They only ever had it up to 217, which is still immensely fast, this is a 92. It was originally intended to have a V12, ended up with a six-cylinder engine. You've got the Saleen S7, and the Saleen was a homologated car as well. Competed at Le Mans. Really, this was a true race car for the road. It probably shouldn't have been on the road, but immensely powerful, over 600 horsepower, radical design, successful Le Mans car. And again because of racing up, able to be on the road, And this is one of the more special cars here, this is the Maserati MC 12. The MC 12 was a rebodied Ferrari Enzo. And so, this car has the power train chassis race of a Ferrari Enzo underneath and Maserati interpreted the interior and exterior in their own skin. This one is the only one ever painted in black and belonged to the F1 driver. Yeah, it did belong to the F1 driver, Michael Schumacher. So, if you know, Michael Schumacher, this was his personal vehicle, very special to us and just an amazingly beautiful machine. And so, I'm going to walk past the one car, and you can see here, this is a Lamborghini Murcielago that was from the film "Fast and Furious" standard supercar. We've got the backdrop of that interior there.
This area over here is typically a line of Ferrari's. We are close, this is like a "Night at the Museum" tour. So, we're actually downstairs, but this is typically the 288 GTO, the Ferrari F40 and the Ferrari Enzo, which were Ferrari's big V12 supercars. The 288 really kicking that off, which was essentially like a boosted-up Ferrari 328, capable of over 185 miles an hour. The F40, which is typically behind it, had a top speed of 201 miles an hour. And then the Ferrari Enzo, top speed of 218. So just the progression of time, but here's a room, the two halo cars in this exhibit for supercars. This is the M6 GT McLaren. And for those of you who know McLaren, you probably have seen this car. This was a Can-Am car that Bruce McLaren turned into a streak of making cars. Which Can-Am was the most aggressive form of racing that existed in the 70s There were no restrictions. So today when people are racing there are many restrictions in terms of engine displacement, forced induction, aerodynamics, Can-Am, you can pretty much do it all. And so, this is an extremely road race car wrapped into the skin of a streetcar, those little stuffed animals in the back if you saw those, those are just to protect the engine from not getting dust in at their air guns there. And across from it is the McLaren F1. The McLaren F1 is the absolute pinnacle when it comes to supercars. It held the top speed record for more than 15 years; it had a top speed of 242 miles per hour. The center seat is also very famous. It was actually a three-seat car. So, you sat right in the middle, like a race car and your passenger sat just right on both sides of you. It was a million dollars in 1993. So, way ahead of its price range of that era. The engine Bay was lined with gold. It used BMW engine powertrain, a B12, naturally aspirated, and it actually competed at Le Mans as essentially a streetcar. And won first, second, third, fourth, I think in like 10th, it got many placements. This one is the LM conversion. So, this was a regular McLaren that actually was converted to a Le Mans spec, so it got aero treatments and engine performance adjustments. But this is a really special car with value, this car is well into the eight figures and is one of the cars that we finish the the tour on, on this floor because of how special it is. So, I want to thank you so much for having me give you the tour. I'm going to hand it off to Autumn, who's going to give you the tour of the off-road exhibit, which she curated, so thank you so much. I'm going to pass it off to Autumn now.
Autumn Nyiri - Hi, my name is Autumn Nyiri, I'm an associate curator here at the Petersen and we are in one of our new exhibits, extreme conditions. Extreme conditions category features 10 off-road vehicles. off-road essentially just means vehicles that are designed to drive on surfaces other than paved streets. So, this can be sand, mud, snow, rock, gravel, from the desert to the mountains and anywhere in between. I'm on first section of the exhibition, to look at vehicles that have been modified. And that's something I want to mention about this exhibit is that all these vehicles are road going production vehicles that have been modified to make them capable of off-road adventure. So, the first section are vehicles that have been modified for off-road competition specifically desert driving. In 1967 one of the greatest and most grueling off-road competitions before, the Baja 1000. This is a multi-day 1000 mile range from Ensenada to La Paz Mexico on the Baja Peninsula. Early on a lot of the vehicles that competed in this race were things like dune buggy, race motorcycles, and four-wheel drive trucks and Jeep. But even from the earliest days people were often modifying existing production vehicles to try to give them a competitive edge in the race. Most of the vehicles in this section of the exhibition have actually competed in the Baja 1000 and several of my classmates at that event. Our first vehicle is one you might have access to see in an off-road Baja competition. This is snorting Norton, it's a 1970 Chevy Nova. It competed in the vintage class in the mid-1980s in races such as the Baja 1000, the Big 400 and the Tarzan 400. After a few years, it sort of faded into obscurity, and it was discovered in the early 2000s in a Louisiana buy out, it was refurbished and upgraded with better off-road capabilities, a better engine, complete suspension, better shocks. And it competed again in the Baja 1000 in 2011, 12 and 13. Our next vehicle is this Ford F100. It was modified by Charlie Hogan, for driver Frank Scoop Vessels. Scoop was a key figure in the early years of off-roading, particularly in the 1970s and he drove this truck to class wins in the Baja 500, and the Baja 1000 in 1977.
One interesting thing about this truck, it was the first off-road vehicle to feature B.F. Goodrich radial tires. These were adapted from agricultural use but we're the first tires specifically designed for high speed desert driving. Another interesting fact about this truck, it is currently fueled by gasoline, but originally it ran on propane and propane doesn't change density with altitude, which can be very advantageous in desert driving courses where there's probably variable terrain. Here we have a Triumph TR3 from 1959. This is one of my favorite cars in the exhibition. It actually was one of the original 68 vehicles to compete in the first Baja 1000 in 1967. It was essentially a top car when it raced with just a few modifications, driving lights, a roll bar, dead weight, and a relocated gas chain. But it retained its 2.2-liter 85 horsepower engine. It did not do very well in that first race. It crushed down after only 300 miles and they just abandoned it in the desert for decades, story though that it was actually used in the chicken coop for many years by the locals. In the late 1990s it was discovered in the desert and refurbished and brought back to life and further upgraded and successfully completed the Baja 1000 in 2017. Next, we have Desert Flyer. Desert Flyer is the Porsche 911 type 964. They were actually built in 2017 for the 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000. And it features a number of modifications, the most visibly obvious being the increased ride height. It's been raised by 11 inches. It also has a cutdown front bumper to help aid in the approach to steep terrain. In 2018 this vehicle finished first in class in the Baja 1000. That was actually the first-place finish for a Porsche in a desert race. Coming over here we have a Baja Bug. Baja Bug is a quintessential desert racer and was one of the first vehicle types to be modified for this purpose. It's essentially a Stock Volkswagen Beetle, the type 1 with a modified engine and suspension. The front bumper has been removed to accommodate larger tires.
And the front and rear most portions of the body have been removed to aid in the approach to steep hill. Baja Bugs are a common sight at any desert competition and are a fan favorite vehicle. The last vehicle in our competition section is this Jeep Wrangler nicknamed GoldieBlox which was driven by the driver Jackie Carr. She won a class finish in 2014 in the Ultra4 King of the Hammer competition, which combines desert driving with a rock crawling stage. It features a number of modifications that are helpful to desert driving down rock crawling including this block wheels, which prevents the tire from flipping off the wheels at lower high burning for desert driving. And it also features 35-inch B.F. Goodrich crawler tires, which are specifically designed for rock crawling. The next section of the exhibition are the vehicles that have been modified for off-road recreation activity like muddying, green-lining and desert driving are all situations where an off-road vehicle can come in handy and be safer, more practical or more fun. Vehicles can be modified to get used to more remote locations for camping or hiking and can even be turned into a home away from home when you're in the wilderness. An example of that is this 1966 Land Rover with a Dormobile conversion. It features a pop-up top which enables you to roll out sleeping parts. It has a sink, a stove and a built-in wardrobe. Dormobiles were built from 1958 through the mid-70s by the Walter Martin company in Kent, England. The construction on a variety of commercial taxis available in the United Kingdom, but Land Rover, Volkswagen, Toyota and Bedford, and the original owner of this vehicle actually drove it straight from the Land Rover factory in England to Africa for a big game hunting expedition. And here we have a newer Land Rover. This is the brand new 2020 Defender. Land Rovers are popular for off-roading but this one features a few modifications such as the raised air gun take, deployable roof ladder, an electric winch and an integrated air compressors. And those are all modifications that can come in handy when your house in the wilderness and make your drive a little more practical, a little safer. The last section of our exhibition features T vehicle that have been modified for utilitarian purposes and work, things like agriculture logging, even driving in deep snow are situations where an off-road vehicle can be modified to more appropriately handle those conditions. Here we have a 1958 forward controlled Jeep and FC-170. This Jeep was refurbished to the SEMA show in 2014 and it features 88 series mud tracks.
This is a conversion that was placed with each tire with a separate rubber track system. It can be applied to virtually any four-wheel drive vehicles. And they offer to greatly increase mobility over a wide variety of terrain. Our last vehicle is this 1953 Dodge Power Wagon which has a cool modification. It features a Willock swivel frame. The swivel frame separates the front and rear portions of the chassis allowing them to move independently of each other as you can see here, and this reduces the likelihood that the frame will crack while driving over rugged terrain. Willock swivel frames were invented by Harry Willock of Vancouver, Canada in 1944. They were available to the public beginning in the early 1950s and originally sold for just $350. And the C4 comes to us from the logging forests of the Pacific Northwest. So that's the look and our extreme conditions exhibition. I hope you get a chance to come to the Petersen and see it in person. And now I'll toss it over to Leslie Kendall our chief historian who's down in our vault, thank you.
Leslie Kendall - Hi everybody. I'm Leslie Kendall and the chief historian here at the Petersen Automotive Museum. I'd like to introduce you to our vault, which is a subterranean area of the building. And it takes up the entire city block and is home to the vehicles in our collection that are not on display. We have over 300 vehicles in the collections so there's no possible way you can display all of them. Plus, it's an area that we use to help maintain our vehicles keep them shiny, keep them running properly keep them looking as they should. And this was a really great place to start in the ball because it shows one of our priorities. We talk about racing cars, but we also talked about racing in Southern California. These were both built by Frank Curtis a very, very famous name in the Indianapolis circles. The one to your left is a little Quarter Midget racing car with a Curtis four cylinder double overhead cam engine by after World War II they figured that the best way to get most power from a small engine was to give a double overhead cam shafts and inclined valves. And this car, the larger one the Ross Big special was the very first Curtis any car built after World War II. And it embodies extremely interesting materials including this plexiglass which was introduced during the war but quickly found its way into aftermarket applications such as this particular Indy car. Interesting thing about this for those of you who are historians a little bit familiar with Southern California there was a fellow named Miller and he, Harry Miller and he innovated some very, very good performing cars in their day. Some of the the most winning cars in Indianapolis in the 20s and through the pre-World War I period, or probably pre-World War II period were built by Harry Miller. And this engine is essentially based on the architecture of early Miller engines. Well, you can see, we have lots of everything.
I think you're kind of right, understanding that by now this is a Ford truck with the evocative name F This, of course, an entire custom, around what you would call a radical custody because of everything that's been done to it. This part is a replica of a GTO, in America, in Los Angeles, we don't you know, if we can't buy the car of our dreams, we make it. There's no reason we can't. There's a lot of talent here in Southern California. And some of that talent, we're very lucky to have some of the best of that talent. And these are the folks that repair our cars, they keep them running, that do minor restoration and maintenance. And, but primarily conservation. Conservation is important because we at the Petersen believe that something is original only once, once you tamper with that original finish, that's it, you can never get it back. And you've got an approximation of something, but what we've done here, this is just coincidental that we have these card here. This is the 1948 Delahaye, it's a type 175. It was intended for the American market which is why it's the only Delahaye with a left-hand drive because after World War II, if you weren't in the Los Angeles market, you weren't getting hard currency and you didn't exist for very long. Now I think everybody has heard of the Concours d'Elegance, well this is what you would probably associate with a Concours d'Elegance in the day. These are the days when the ladies or gentlemen would dress up to match their vehicles. And they would parade them in front of long tables of judges who would assign them awards and prizes for the spell blinding presentation that the vehicle and the individuals, and sometimes their dogs or other pets would make of the car, something that's, as you might imagine originated in France. Here we have a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, and this is what we're going to be calling a rest of mob. We're working on this car, put in a more modern engine, more modern drive components. What we want to offer with this car is modern performance with world-class styling and a traditional package. So, you can tell it's a 63, it's got the split rear window and now's a good time to kind of take a look at the backdrop.
We've got a complete tool set, and this was, this is all donated by Thomas E and Sharon Jake Mulloy. In fact, this is what we call their family workshop. We're very grateful to the Mulloy's for their incredible support. This is a 1957 Thunderbird, another donation to the Petersen Automotive Museum sometime ago. It has a liftoff fiberglass hard top which you could have had with portholes or you could have ordered it without porthole, it's just one of course, has the portholes but it was a last year for the two-seater Thunderbird. And they were very very popular, but not that popular because when Ford came out with the four-seater T-Bird in 1958 I think they sold a minimum of two to three times as many. So, kind of gives you an idea that it's nice to have a sexy car that draws people into the showroom, but you also have to make money. You also have to sell the car to the public which means you have to abide by what the public wants. And to talk about something that the public wants, this car doesn't look like much of anything, you could probably walk right by it, but it's a Mitsubishi Spyder from 1995. And what makes this surpassingly important is because it's a top that bolts down on a frame and it goes into the, a little well behind the passenger compartment. It means that the hard toddler deducts itself, folds into and goes into the area where the trunk is, normally would be. And it's the first retractable hard top offer to the Jaguar since the 1959 Ford Skyliner which Ford debuted in 1957. And even that was the first car which had a hard top. Believe it or not, the first retractable hard top was built by Porsche in the mid-30s. They called it the Eclipse. The next card here we have is a 300 plus plus plus mile per hour vehicle. And if you think going fast down the freeway you're doing a hundred is about right. Try doing 300 miles an hour in this, the telephone poles go by, you look, looking more like picket fence than anything else, bought by Mr. Heidrick driven by him. And it really took a great deal of courage to drive something like this, but he was the engineer behind it. He knew what he had in it. He knew what he needed it to do to make it a success for himself. Moving around I'd like to show you lines of cars that were donated ahead and stay ahead and keep its collection, everything it can be.
We have a first Brabham, Jack Brabham's personal car. We've got the Denny Hulme, McLaren, the McLaren MAE/F a perfect example of the kind of the Can-Am era where too much was not enough. It's kind of a kin to the supercar. The McLaren supercar we have upstairs. This was a Toyota Eagle. This was built by Gurney, the participation from Gurney, Dan Gurney, and it uses a Toyota engine a four cylinder that was far and away one of the most important, and one of the most powerful of its type and its size. This is a Lola, the George Foreman Lola. Again this is kind of it's a good time now to talk about the segue from cars that looked like they sort of could end up being on the road to cars that looked like they had absolutely no useful purpose for being out there and about. This Oakland wheel race cars that were so generously given to us. We have one that's given to us by AJ Sport We have one given to us by Bobby Rahal. We have from Dan Gurney himself, and this is important for a museum. We need to keep up with the times. And just because something is only a couple of years old doesn't mean that it's not going to become important in the very near future. And something that I think we'd like to talk to you now about is kind of show off a little bit maybe is our most recent donation, which is a Packard. This is a 1939 Packard, but it actually began life in 1927. Because back in the day what you could do is you had a body that was built for a car at very, very great expense. And if the chassis on that car wore out after a period of time, you didn't throw the whole car away. You just set aside the chassis took the body off and put it on a new chassis. And that's what happened. This body, which is in a lander lay style, lander lay means that the top goes down but only in the back, only over the rear seat passengers it was originally on a Rolls Royce, a 1927 Rolls Royce chassis. Well it's original owner Marjorie Merriweather Post of the Post Serial Fortune later acquired in 1935. The chassis was getting a little bit long and too, so she ended up getting a a V12 Packard chassis and had the body taken off the 1927 Rolls Royce put on the 1935 Packard V12. And I like to show you the sumptuous interior.
And this is probably, this is the chauffer's compartment. It's kind of the upstairs downstairs of motoring because you can see the hardwiring black leather, very businesslike, but you'll look in the back and you've got a pretty sumptuous tufted leather for Mrs. Post and her future husband's one of whom was the American diplomat in Russia which is why it has a flag standard built in right here, so that you could put the American flag in it. And we have evidence that, we have pictures of her, and she was also married to Mr. Hutton, as in E.F. Hutton. So, this was a car, the kind of car that the Petersen loves because it tells so many stories. It tells a story of how the wealthy were able to get exactly what they want. It tells a story of how, when things moved up with the times you could change a body from one car to another. And it also shows, and I think most importantly and most personally that what the Petersen is all about, the Petersen is about exploring and presenting the history of the automobile and its impact on global life and culture, all using Los Angeles as the prime example. And what the Petersen does is we try to strike a balance in our workshop. We have to understand that cars have a functional component that can only be understood when they're operated. So, what we try to do is we try to strike a balance between the long-term needs and conservation, the shorter term needs of demonstration and melt those two to tell as comprehensive a story as we can. And I want to thank you for joining me. I really appreciate it. And please come visit us corner of Wilshire and Fairfax in Los Angeles.
Laura - Leslie, thank you. Would you like to take some questions?
Leslie - Happy to take questions, absolutely.
Laura - Okay, fabulous. So, are most of your cars acquired directly from owner or auction?
Leslie - If I understood the question correctly, are most of the cars, how were most of the cars acquired. During Mr. Petersen's lifetime, he acquired a number of cars that he bequeath to the museum, but a lot of people, I was kind of mentioning as we went through, a lot of people donate their cars individually and this car was a gift from one of our co vice chairs of the museum Mr. Bruce Meyer, incredibly generous. He wanted us to have this car again because he knew it was important but yeah, that's how we get cars. Very barely, occasionally when we buy something, we're a 501 nonprofit, and we mean it.
Laura - That's great, and what was the most challenging or maybe you can tell us a fun story. What was the most challenging car for you to acquire in the collection?
Leslie - Well, there are some interesting cars out there, but the most, the one that I wanted, as soon as we started here, back in 1994, it was a car called the Davis, was built in 1948, only 15 of them were built here in Los Angeles, a lozenge shaped car with one wheel in the front, two in the back. It took a little bit of negotiating for the owner to part with it, but it's so important to the cultural history of Los Angeles and to the history of aerodynamics and vehicle production and the perpetration of public frauds. It's very interesting car in many ways.
Laura - Got it, and have you ever, does the museum currently have or have you considered developing audio tours once you reopen that review each car?
Leslie - That's exactly what we intend to do, and actually we've done that in the past, we have have audio tours. Right now, we offer people audio tours. And to a degree when we open, I hope that we'll still be able to do that by virtue of the fact that they have a live person walking around with them. But we're going to get to that. We have the technology; we're going to implement the technology. So yes, absolutely, it's coming.
Laura - That's fantastic. And when do you, do you have an anticipated date for the museum to be opening, reopening again?
Leslie - You know, that's more up to the Governor than it is to me. I really don't know when the museum is going to open again. I hope as soon as possible because we're ready to teach lessons, we're ready to educate people. We want them to come and see and enjoy the vehicles as much as we do.
Laura - Well we thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of them today. And we want to thank you. Thank the audience for joining us. We hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes tour, and we thank you to Michael, Leslie, Autumn, the rest of the team at the Petersen for sharing your amazing collection with us today. Thank you and be well.
Leslie - Thank you.
Michael - Thank you.