Splendor and Speed on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum’s newest exhibit

Plymouth Explorer concept Brandan Gillogly

One of the best parts of visiting the Petersen Automotive Museum is that it’s never the same experience twice. A new exhibit that opened this summer is called Splendor and Speed: Treasures of the Petersen Collection. It’s located in the Bruce Meyer Family Gallery on the museum’s second floor, an area that formerly housed a rotating lineup of hypercars. The new exhibit highlights some of the rare automotive artifacts that have been hanging out in the Vault below the museum. From significant hot rods to bespoke luxury cruisers, the room is filled with significant vehicles, many of which are one-of-a-kind.

Jaguar XKSS formerly owned by Steve McQueen Brandan Gillogly

A 1956 Jaguar XKSS formerly owned by Steve McQueen is one of the racier entrants in the exhibit, and the green British roadster has excellent company. It’s joined by the 1939 “Shah” Bugatti Type 57C Cabriolet by Vanvooren as well as the Plymouth Explorer concept built by Ghia. Perhaps the most stunning car on display is the famous 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Aerodynamic Coupe by Jonckheere. The “Round Door” Rolls-Royce was restored by the Petersen and held a prominent place in the Vault for quite a while, welcoming guests to the underground experience in front of a mural of the car with Bob and Margie Petersen. This is a car that really must be experienced in person as the lines of the car, as well as its scale, are difficult to capture.

1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Aerodynamic Coupe by Jonckheere Brandan Gillogly

In addition to the numerous vehicles, the exhibit includes rare film footage and one-of-a-kind design models from the mid-20th century when these cars were designed and crafted. “The display is a fitting reflection of the exceptional assortment of vehicles we have in our collection,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “We are delighted to have visitors view the museum’s most cherished vehicles and artifacts.”

Splendor and Speed: Treasures of the Petersen Collection is currently open. If you’re in the Los Angeles area we recommend spending an hour or two at the museum, and the Vault is still very much worth the extra price. Tickets are available in advance.




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