Start your engines! Petersen, Phoenix museums ready to fly the green flag

Exhibits of historic racing cars open February 23 in LA and November 2 in PHX

“Winning Numbers: The First, The Fastest, The Famous” is the title of a new exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, where board member Bruce Meyer will display 10 race cars from his collection through January 19, 2020. The exhibit opens February 23.

“Visitors of the display will find the winningest Ferrari road racer of all time, the 1957 Ferrari 625/250 Testa Rossa, which claimed first prize in more than half of the 50 competitions in which it was raced,” the museum said, “The first production 1962 Shelby Cobra, CSX2001; the 1962 Greer Black Prudhomme, which was raced by drag racing legend Don Prudhomme who won 237 of the 241 races in which he piloted the car; the renowned 1952 So-Cal Speed Shop Belly Tank Racer, which was fashioned from a P-38 Lightning fighter belly tank from World War II by hot rod racing icon Alex Xydias; the 1979 Kremer Porsche 935 K3 that took first place overall at Le Mans; and the 1929 Ford ‘747’ Bonneville Racer that Meyer ran 204 mph at Bonneville Salt Flats.”

“Bruce Meyer is perhaps one of the most influential ‘car guys’ in the world, and there is no better collection than his to kick off our 25th anniversary,” said Terry Karges, the museum’s executive director. “He epitomizes true automotive passion, sharing his knowledge, fervor and immense love for the motorsports hobby with the next generation of enthusiasts. 

“Winning Numbers’ reflects his discerning tastes as a collector, gathering only the most compelling examples of race cars from each genre of the sport.”

Meyer worked with publisher Robert E. Petersen in hatching the concept for the museum in 1992 and was founding chairman when the facility opened two years later.

‘Legends of Speed’ will showcase historic racers at Phoenix Art Museum

This 1967 All American Racing Gurney Eagle F1 is among nearly two dozen cars to be displayed at the Phoenix Art Museum | Peter Harboldt photo provided by the museum

In 2007, the Phoenix Art Museum showcased a group of classic streamlined cars in its “Curves of Steel” exhibit, a display that inspired art museums across the country to follow suit. On November 2, the Phoenix museum opens another of what it believes will be a landmark exhibit when it unveils “Legends of Speed” with 20 historic race cars.

“Legends of Speed will bring many world-renowned race cars to Phoenix, and we look forward to sharing these treasures of auto-racing history and extraordinary design with our audiences,” Amada Cruz, the museum’s director and chief executive, said in announcing the exhibit which will run through March 15, 2020.

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“Legends of Speed will enable our community to explore the artistry and design of these iconic cars, while learning about some of the greatest races and race car drivers in history,” added Gilbert Vicario, the museum’s chief curator. “This exhibition is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience many of the world’s most famous and successful race cars all in one place.”

1911 Franklin finished second in 1910 Cactus Derby race | Photo courtesy car owner Ted Davis

Among the cars to be displayed are the 1977 Lotus 79 that Mario Andretti drove to the Formula One championship; the Ford GT40 that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans — twice; the 1967 Gurney Eagle F1 car; the 1929 Bugatti Type 35 raced by Helle Nice, “The Bugatti Queen;”  A.J. Foyt’s first Indy 500-winning ride; even the Franklin that finished second in the 1910 Cactus Derby race from Los Angeles to Phoenix. 

Mercedes-Benz World features Hemmels’ 280 SL

1968 280 SL featured at Mercedes-Benz World in England | Hemmels photo

Mercedes-Benz World, located at the historic Brooklands site in Weybridge, Surrey, England, is part museum, part on-track driving experience, part conference center.  For the first time, its main reception area features a 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL “Pagoda” restored by Hemmels, a Cardiff-based specialist shop that put 4,000 hours into the car’s restoration.

“We’re proud to have the first of hopefully many motorcars displayed this prestigious facility,” said Hemmels managing director Joseph Sullivan, whose facility uses what it calls the “newborn” restoration process over vehicle restoration, fully dismantling and then rebuilding each vehicle in a 52-week time frame with the customer’s bespoke options.

Special events this weekend

As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will offer free admission through February 2 to LA United School District students in grades K-12 and will offer special STEAM-base programs on science, arts, match, etc.).

The Henry Ford (museum) in Dearborn also offers free admission to children with an accompanying adult through March 31. Use the Kidsfree19 code when purchasing tickets online.

The California Agriculture Museum in Woodland, California, offers free admission February 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum claims the nation’s most unique collection of tractors and agriculture artifacts. the museum also has expanded its hours to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

The Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, is extending the run of its “Ten Cars That Changed the World” exhibit through February 3.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento hosts “Tinker Time” beginning at 11 a.m. the first Saturday of each month, including February 2. The theme for 2019 is car design and it’s a “hands dirty” learning experience using modeling clay, “just like the professionals do,” the museum notes.

“The Goodwood Story” will be presented February 2, as part of the speaker series at the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, where Harry Sherrard, who was involved in the revival of racing at the Goodwood Estate, will discuss Goodwood’s history, from the founding of the Dukedom of Richmond in 1672 by King Charles II to the estate’s history with the Royal Air Ford and the current Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed. 

After being rained out last weekend, Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida, stages its monthly auto flea market Sunday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

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The winter speaker series at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, continues Sunday afternoon with John Butte featuring “The Bradford Model T Girls.”

Cancelled by weather in January, the first Sunday Drives program of the year at the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento has been rescheduled for February 3. The museum’s special exhibit, “Hitting the Road: Road Trippin’ Through the Ages,” closes February 25.

Mark your calendar

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in northeast Indiana hosts The Bootleggers Ball from 6 to 9 p.m. on February 9.

As part of its Radwood exhibit, the Crawford Auto-Aviation museum in Cleveland will host an exploration of 1980s and ‘90s history, pop culture and fashion from 1 to 3 p.m. on February 9.

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, hosts author Jon Jamieson and his book Departed Wings: The post deregulation decade — Los Angeles International Airport 1980-1990 from 10 a.m. until noon on February 9.

A 1968 Fiat 500 F will be featured as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City opens its “The Value of Good Design” exhibit which runs from February 10 until May 27.

“Pint with the Past” is a beer-tasting fundraiser February 16 at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan.

In conjunction with the February 16-24 school holiday in England, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu will host a Hands-on Half-Term event featuring its Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 Years exhibit with students invited to make like Caractacus Potts and create their own balloon cars and then see how fast they’ll go.

During the same dates in February, the British Motor Museum at Beaulieu will offer special children’s programs on jet-powered cars daily from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., with children building third own “jet powered” (O.K., it’s the air emerging from a balloon) cars. 

LeMay – America’s Car Museum hosts its Bootleggers Blowout party from 8 to 11 p.m. on February 22.

February 23 is Trivia Night at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, where the first of 100 questions will be asked at 7 p.m. Teams are asked to register in advance by calling the museum.

Mini-Motorists activities at the British Motor Museum

The British Motor Museum’s annual Mini Motorists program for those 5 years of age or younger starts February 25 and includes crafts, story-telling and playtime from 10:30 a.m. until noon.

The Brooklands Museum in England offers a presentation March 7 by author Matt James on the 60-year history of the British Touring Car Championship

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The Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine hots its Brass Club speakeasy gala on March 9 from 7 until 9 p.m.

The 31st induction ceremony at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Daytona Beach, Florida, takes place March 11-12. Inductees will be Augie Duesenberg, Dario Franchitti, Phil Remington, Don Schumacher, Kevin Schwantz, Tony Stewart and Linda Vaughn.

The National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park will be the site of BingeTokyo on March 16-17. Though it may sound as though only Japanese vehicles are welcome, organizers say all makes and models are welcome in what they believe to be “hands down the cheapest seat time you will get,” seven hours of track time over two days for $500.

The Miles Through Time Automotive Museum in Toccoa, in Georgia, stages a car club cruise-in on March 23.

“RADwood: Cleveland Goes Rad” is the title for an exhibit/experience running through March 24 at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland. Staged in partnership with RADwood car shows, the exhibit will celebrate 1980s and ‘90s car culture and will showcase vehicles, clothing, music “and everything in between.”

LeMay Collections at Marymount in Tacoma, Washington, hosts the LeMay Tea Party on March 30.

The Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild will stage a reunion and model car exposition April 4-7 at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, where more than 100 of the cars will remain on exhibit through October.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is organizing a bus trip to the New York International Auto Show on April 27.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, opens a special “RCR 50: Only in America” exhibit featuring 50 years of Richard Childress Racing in May. 

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, has opened registration of its Museum In Motion trip to the 24 hours of Le Mans race in 2019. The dates are June 6-17 and the trip includes four nights in London and three nights in Paris.

“The Car. The Future. Me” is the title of an exhibit scheduled to open July 13 at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, UK, to explore “futuristic car design and (to) challenge your idea of how we will interact with the cars for the future,” the museum said. 

The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, inducts new members Sergio Marchionne, the late chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Janet Guthrie, the first woman to qualify as a driver in the Indianapolis 500; Richard “Dick” Dauch, co-founder of American Axle Manufacturing; and Patrick Ryan, creator of the first auto dealership finance and insurance department, on July 18 in Detroit.

On August 3, the British Motor Museum will be the site of the Classic Mini Mosaic world-record attempt that is expected to draw more than 600 classic Minis. The following day the museum will be the site of the National Metro & Mini Show.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, inducts racer Briggs Cunningham, Corvette designer Tom Peters, and enthusiast Dollie Cole, who also was the wife of then-GM president Ed Cole. into its hall of fame on August 30.

Does your local car museum have special events or exhibitions planned? Let us know. Email larrye@classiccars.com.

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