There are vacations, and then there are dream vacations as defined by a car guy – like Monterey in August, Scottsdale in January, or Auburn, Indiana during Labor Day weekend – all great opportunities to see historic and unusual cars. Unlike major outdoor events, collector car museums allow you to see great cars on your own schedule – and eliminate the weather as a factor as well. If you can’t arrange an entire vacation around your car fetish, consider a one day trip that will satisfy anyone’s need to experience fabulous collector cars. We’ll begin in southern California, so buckle up and start your engines!
If you find yourself in Los Angeles with a day to kill, there are lots of automotive options, starting with The Peterson Museum. With a great variety of rotating exhibits and many special events, the Pete is a “must see” when in the City of Angels. It’s a stylish building with great artwork everywhere, and a real feeling for the Southern California car culture. Don’t miss any chance to visit “The Vault”, which houses dozens of significant vehicles that are not part of a current exhibit. The Peterson Museum is prominently located at Wilshire and Fairfax in Los Angeles.
Hop on 5 South, and exit at #159A to visit our next stop, the fabulous Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, CA – it’s about 30 minutes from the Peterson facility. Prepare to be amazed by the display of American Luxury vehicles in the Grand Salon, one of the most elegant and impressive settings anywhere. The displays in the Lower salon include perfectly restored rare, early vehicles along with collectibles from every era. Don’t miss the musical instrument displays, with everything from early phonographs and music boxes to huge, fully functional theatre organs. Easy to miss is an impressive display of hood ornaments and mascots from hundreds of marques, and the real gearheads will want to visit the in-house restoration shop, where every car displayed is meticulously restored and maintained. The J.B. Nethercutt Collection is a museum visit you will never forget.
About an hour west in Oxnard is the Murphy Auto Museum. This facility features about 70 vehicles ranging from 1903 to the 90’s, with a particular interest in Packards. They rotate in special displays, and the facility is available for car club visits and also special events. While a bit more humble that the Nethercutt Collection, this display represents many notable American automotive high points and is definitely worth a visit.
You can find a full listing of Collector Car Museums in the Hagerty Resource Directory, and watch for more articles describing One Day Car Museum Tours all around the country.