I’ve lived in the greater LA area for over 20 years and for some inexcusable reason, I’ve never made it through the doors of the Petersen Automobile Museum. Being an avid car lover and of course a motorcycle nutcase, I jumped at the chance to attend the media day before the newly renovated museum reopens December 7th. The Petersen has been closed 14 months and undergone $90 million in dramatic changes. It now features an additional floor and 12,000 square feet of gallery space. There are multiple galleries that feature displays of 100 automobiles, 23 motorcycles, four scooters and one bobsled. Yes, a bobsled. Whether you love it or hate it, the exterior design is not something easily missed!
The second floor is home to a gallery of motorcycles, representing the best of every decade, like a 1903 Thor Camelback, a 1922 Brough Superior, an L.A. built 1936 Crocker V-Twin, and even a supercharged, 300-horsepower Kawasaki Ninja H2R. The museum’s goal was to showcase a significant bike from every decade in motorcycling’s 100-year history. For more info check out the Petersen Automobile Museum.
- 1922 Brough Superior SS80 Prototype: George Brough founded Brough Superior in 1919. This motorcycle, named “Old Bill after a comic book character, was built for Brough to race. He notched 51 consecutive victories on it in 1922-1923.
- The goal of the motorcycle exhibit was to have a representation from every decade.
- More motorcycles on display at the Petersen Museum.
- This is a Smith Motor Wheel from 1915. This single-cyclinder power unit could be bolted to virtually any bicycle, wagon or buckboard, transforming it into a self-propelled means of transportation.
- 1996 Yamha YDS-3 Batcycle from the 1966 feature film Batman.
- The 2003 Dodge Tomahawk is powered by a 500-horsepower Dodge Viper V-10 engine. Estimated 500 horsepower and price when new, $555,000.
- A 1904/05 FN.
- 2002 Alligator A-6.
- The exterior of the Petersen Museum is not something easily missed.
- A 1927 Indian Big Chief once owned by Steve McQueen.