Metallica frontman James Hetfield’s collection to star in new Petersen Museum exhibit

Cars and guitars go together so well, it’s no surprise that they rhyme. The association of automobiles and popular music dates back to the early 20th century. Billy Murray and his orchestra had a hit in 1909 with In My Merry Oldsmobile for the Victor Talking Machine Co., and what is generally considered to be the first rock and roll song was also, coincidentally, about an Oldsmobile, Ike Turner’s Rocket 88. It’s appropriate, then, that Metallica’s front man, James Hetfield, has donated his collection of ten highly regarded custom cars to the Petersen Automotive Museum. They include some very heavy metal.

That announcement was made at the museum’s annual press conference at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, along with news on the Petersen’s upcoming Hypercars exhibit, and the institution’s acquisition of 30 vehicles new to the facility’s collection. Additionally, Hetfield was named a Founding Member of the museum, an honor reserved for its most generous donors.

The metal musician’s collection includes Voodoo Priest, based on a ’37 Lincoln Zephyr, a ’36 Auburn roadster named Slow Burn, a Delahaye inspired ’34 Packard, Aquarius, a ’36 Ford in bare metal called Iron Fist,  a purple ’56 Ford F-100 pickup truck, and three cars by custom fabricator Rick Dore: Black Pearl, a custom 1948 Jaguar, a ’52 Olds named Grinch, and Skyscraper, a 1953 Buick Skylark. The Hetfield cars will go on display next February in the museum’s Bruce Meyer Family Gallery. Along with the cars will be artifacts and memorabilia from Hetfield and Metallica’s private collections.

Joining Hetfield as a Founding Members are Tom Malloy, Phillip Sarofim, and the Otis Booth Foundation. Additionally, Hong Kong businessman Wiliam E. Conner has been added to the Petersen’s board of directors, while Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, the youngest son of Ferdinand Porsche and chairman of Porsche Automobil Holding’s supervisory board, has been named an honorary director.

“As we head into 2020, the Petersen Automotive Museum has monumental plans on the horizon,” said Petersen executive director Terry L. Karges. “Since the Petersen was founded in 1994, we have worked tirelessly to share our passion for the automobile both locally and internationally. Our announcements at Pebble Beach reflect our promise to the public to continue this mission for years to come.”

As part of that mission, the museum is expanding its educational outreach programming to young people, which currently features field trips to the museum for elementary, middle, and secondary school students, with free admission and bus transportation. Additionally, the Petersen will be sponsoring a car build for the Drag Racing Against Gangs & Graffiti (DRAGG), an after-school program mentoring at-risk youth by teaching them marketable skills for car repair and customization.

Next June, Hypercars, an exhibit of more than 30 modern cars at the rarest heights of performance, will go on display in the museum’s Mullin Family Grand Salon, replacing the current Hollywood Dream Machines exhibit.

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