Cars and guitars go together so well that they even rhyme. Of course, since the song considered to be the first example of rock and roll was about a hot Oldsmobile, the relationship is almost foundational. To celebrate that relationship, starting February 1, 2020, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will be hosting “Reclaimed Rust: The James Hetfield Collection” in the museum’s Bruce Meyer Family Gallery, featuring the Metallica frontman’s custom cars, guitars, memorabilia, and photographs.
Included among Hetfield’s ten built-from-scratch custom vehicles on display will be his 1948 Jaguar “Black Pearl,” 1934 Packard “Aquarius,” 1953 Buick Skylark “Skyscraper,” 1937 Lincoln Zephyr “VooDoo Priest,” 1936 Auburn “Slow Burn,” 1936 Ford “Iron Fist,” 1937 Ford Coupe “Crimson Ghost,” and 1932 Ford Roadster “Black Jack.”
As a lifelong car enthusiast, Hetfield has a reverence for history, but as a heavy metal musician he also has a healthy disregard for convention. His vehicles reflect that dichotomy. Reflecting Hetfield’s reverence for history, he has donated the cars to the Petersen, where they will be part of the museum's permanent collection.
As the “Reclaimed Rust” exhibit is sponsored by the ESP Guitar Company, which Hetfield endorses, among Hetfield’s instruments on display will be a ESP hollow-body electric guitar and Mesa amplifier custom painted to match the Skylark Skyscraper. (Naturally.)
ESP has also donated two limited-edition guitars that will be auctioned to benefit the museum at an opening reception on the evening of January 30, 2020, which will include a fireside chat with Hetfield.
“‘Reclaimed Rust’ brings together two industries that go hand in hand with artist expression,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “This is the first time the Hetfield collection will be showcased to the public and we can’t wait to share the inspiration behind these extraordinary vehicles with the world.”
You’ll have plenty of time to see Hetfield’s cars and guitars, since the exhibit runs through October 2020. To purchase tickets to the opening reception, you can visit https://www.petersen.org/hetfield.
Petersen Automotive Museum
Aquarius (1934 Packard)