A Prelude To The Petersen, The Greatest Automotive Museum on Earth

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is a destination that should need no introduction. It’s a special place.

We’ve stopped by plenty of times before, and even given you a rare photographic tour through the Peterson Vault. But this museum isn’t a fixed collection and I make it a point to stop in as often as possible.

The cars, along with entire exhibits, have always been swapped out with regularity and, more recently, the famous Vault has been completely overhauled. I should note that while the public can purchase tickets to the underground collection, you aren’t allowed to take a camera in there.


I do have galleries from The Porsche Effect, Japanese exhibits, and the Vault itself coming soon, but I figured a quick walk through the updated museum beforehand might be appreciated.


As soon as you walk in the front doors expect to be immediately surrounded by interesting automobiles. You’ll find that even here in the lobby, the cars are often changed out to match what’s behind the closed doors within.


Once you actually get inside you can expect to spend hours and hours taking in all the details of these truly special cars. With a cafe adjacent to the lobby, the museum is adequately equipped to refuel you throughout the day.

From The High Art of Riding Low to the Custom Revolution, this is a place with a bit of the best of everything. Motorcycles, American supercars, a 1:1 scale LEGO McLaren 720S which took over 12,000 man-hours to create with in excess of 280,000 bricks, examples of the first conventional automobile, prototypes, and movie star cars. Seriously, expect to find it all.


If you go towards closing on a weekday as my wife and I did — particularly during the Peterson’s extended summer hours — you can expect the crowd to be pleasantly thin. It’s a great opportunity to get up close to some really special machinery and makes for great shooting. If you’re just getting rolling with a camera, I’d recommend you take a peek at Jordan’s post about the 50mm prime lens before you go.

The Peterson Automotive Museum is a place you need to appreciate in person, but if you can’t, enjoy a small taste from our stroll through in the form of a gallery below. As always, this is best viewed in full-screen mode on a desktop.

In the meantime, I’ll be sorting through the 1,000-odd photos I snapped here…

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto

They See Me Strollin’


Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Pleasantly thin...FAT SHAMER!!!


I love the Peterson. Awesome museum.


Such a bad ass place. hope to go back again soon!


Yeah, so many amazing cars, love this one. Did you make it into the Vault?


I wasn't able to check out the vault unfortunately, but that'll be the next thing to see once I go back and visit the museum.


I'm guessing that the Lego McLaren is the same one that was unveiled at Goodwood FOS here in the UK in 2017.


Please tell me you got a good picture of the sweet blue CJ


Not beyond that one :(


Went last year whilst in LA (obviously). Phenomenal place, really wish it was closer to home so I could visit regularly. The Ferrari exhibit last year was stunning, as was the tribute to Dan Gurney. The Art of Riding Low however is just crazy, great to see cars like Gypsy Rose up close and personal.
My recommendation is to get there for opening on a week day, easier to park. There is a Samy's camera outlet just a couple of blocks away too, good opoortinity to score some new gear then try it out. (please excuse the down-res'd quality of this image).


Good advice! This is probably my favorite car in the whole place; looks like it's been relocated since you were there last. I'll have a gallery from the Porsche Effect up soon.

Raphael Altendorf

I live in Brazil and had the opportunity to visit the museum in February, a wonderful place.

Chris from LMM

One of these days, I'm going to stop in L.A. longer than just catching a flight to Tokyo, and visit the Petersen. Especially since I miss my little Yotahachi SO much. You see, the Toyota Sports 800 and Honda S600 belong to my workplace, the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.

Trevor, I invite you (or any of the Speedhunters crew) to visit our little collection of 540+ cars, motorcycles, airplanes, and even bicycles. I'll wager a round of beer at one of Nashville's honky tonks that we have things you've never seen before. Just shoot me an email if you'd like to set something up.


I would definitely take you up on that, shoot me an email or DM, my info is above at the end of the article


Email sent, sir!