The Petersen ups its game: James Bond, Formula 1 machines, hypercars and more

Photography by Tim Suddard

Heading to L.A.?

Then you’ve gotta visit the Petersen, the famed automotive museum.

After its remodel half a dozen years ago, we felt that the actual collection lacked a bit of substance. There were fewer cars, and most were so high-end that they weren’t relatable to the average enthusiast.

How things have changed.

Not only are the displays now in touch, but there’s more to see.

One of our favorite exhibits: “Bond in Motion.” Not only was almost every iconic Bond car on display, but the museum also included boats, helicopters, jet bikes and other iconic memorabilia.

Heading upstairs, the “Hypercars” exhibit was as over the top as the 1000-horsepower, 200-mph-top-speed cars on display. Not since The Quail have we seen this kind of collection.

The “Extreme Conditions” display ranged from Baja-winning Broncos to an off-road Edsel.

The “Pole Position” exhibit showed off modern Formula 1 machines from the collection of Juan Gonzalez, chairman of the board of Mission Foods. Cars on display came from McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz.

For an additional fee, visitors can access the Vault presented by Hagerty, which contains 250 weird and wonderful movie cars, race cars and automotive oddities.

Los Angeles is known the world over for its car culture, and the Petersen now fully captures that vibe.

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