HomeCar CultureNew exhibits feature James Hetfield customs, Nurburgring ZR1 Corvette and police cars

New exhibits feature James Hetfield customs, Nurburgring ZR1 Corvette and police cars

Our weekly roundup of car museum news and notes


“Reclaimed Rust” is the title of an exhibition of custom cars, guitars and memorabilia from the James Hetfield Collection that opens February 1 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Hetfield is co-founder, lead vocalist and songwriter for the heavy-metal band Metallica.

He also is a lifelong car enthusiast.

“Hetfield’s vehicles assert both a reverence for history and a disregard for convention, standing collectively as a testament to the musician’s distinctive personality and artistic energy,” the museum said in its announcement.

Skyscraper is a 1953 Buick Skylark
Voodoo Priest is a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr
Str8edge is a 1956 Ford F-100

Among the vehicles to be displayed include the 1948 Jaguar “Black Pearl,” the 1934 Packard “Aquarius,” the 1953 Buick Skylark “Skyscraper,” the 1937 Lincoln Zephyr “VooDoo Priest,” and the 1936 Auburn “Slow Burn,” all of which were designed by Rick Dore.  

The exhibition also will feature the Buick Skylark “Skyscraper” with an ESP Hollow Body guitar and Mesa amplified painted to match.

“ ‘Reclaimed Rust’ brings together two industries that go hand in hand with artist expression,” Petersen executive director Terry Karges is quoted in the news release. “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.”

Petersen also opens Italian motorcycle exhibit

This 1971 Ducati Silver Shotgun wears paint that is the name of new exhibit | Museum photo

The Petersen Automotive Museum also has opened “Silver Shotgun: Italian Motorcycle Design of the 1960s and 1970s.”  The name Silver Shotgun comes from the metal-flake paint used on some Ducatis in 1971. The exhibit includes 20 Italian motorcycles and 2 cars. The exhibit runs through February 2021.

“Silver Shotgun explores the relationship between progressive Italian motorcycle design and industrial design, during an era when both industries were concurrently exploding with color, energy and vigor,” Terry Karges, the museum’s executive director, was quoted in a news release.

“When guests walk through the rows of bikes, they will get a sense of the cultural revolutions that were taking place during the 1960s and ’70s that in turn inspired freedom of design across multiple industries.”

Nurburgring ZR1 visits Corvette museum

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 hustles around the Nurburgring | Museum photo

The pre-production 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 that lapped the Nurburgring in Germany in 7 minutes, 4 seconds, is on display at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

GM engineer and test driver Jim Mero had been at the famed German raceway and test track in the summer of 2017 doing calibration work for the ZR1’s magnetic ride control. After returning to the U.S., they went to Virginia International Raceway, where they turned a lap more than a second faster than the mark set by Ford and its new GT.

Inspired, the ZR1 team went back to Germany in hopes of becoming the first American car to break the 7-minute mark, only to discover that the track had changed its protocol and that the timed lap would have to be done on cold tires without a warm-up lap. Nonetheless, the car lapped the track in 7:04.

“Chevrolet would never officially release the lap time, however, after retirement, Jim released the unofficial time of 7:04 so that the Corvette community would know what the ZR1 was capable of,” the museum noted 

“Although devastated that he did not break the seven-second mark due to the change in protocol, Jim still believes it is completely obtainable in the ZR1.”

The museum adds that the Nurburing ZR1 will be on display until mid-April.

Police cars at AACA Museum

Pennsylvania state police cars on display | Museum photo

Through May 6, the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, displays “To Protect and Serve: Pennsylvania State Police” exhibit. Featured vehicles include a 1973 Plymouth Fury II, 2011 Ford Crown Victoria and 1989 Harley-Davidson FXRP.

Also displayed are early radar units, scale-model police cars and photos.

The museum’s “Age of Aquarius: Cars of the Counterculture and Beyond” and a special DeSoto display run through April 26. Opening May 23 are “Yeah, It’s Got a Hemi!” “Look… They gave me a Map!” and “Minibike Mania.”

The museum also has elected a new president, Richard Sills, an attorney, car-club member, former president of the Cadillac and LaSalle Club, and active in automotive history groups.

Indy museum reaches Lotus restoration goal

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum has achieved its fund-raising goal so it can complete the restoration of the Lotus 29/1 driven by Dan Gurney in 1963. More than 140 people donated the needed $103,000 for the restoration of the No. 93 car, and the museum hopes to unveil the work on the track just before the start of the 2020 Indy 500. 

The museum said it soon will announce another fund-raising effort to provide for the restoration of three “legendary” Indy engines.

Ferrari celebrates its 36 victories at Le Mans

Ferrari museum showcases Le Mans-winning vehicles | Museum photo

The drama of the Oscar-nominated Ford v Ferrari movie came from Goliath finally defeating David in the round-the-clock race in France. Although a small sports car manufacturer when compared with a behemoth automaker such as Ford, Ferrari has recorded 36 victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and they are celebrated in a new exhibition at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy.

Those victories began in 1949 when Luigi Chinetti drove more than 23 of the 24 hours in a 166 MM Barchetta Touring. The most recent victory came in 2019 when Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Daniel Serra posted a class victory in a 488 GTE.

Museum visitors can take the wheel of a 488 GTE and “drive” the Le Mans circuit in a simulator that is part of the exhibition.

Special events this weekend

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia features British cars — a 1927 Bentley 3-Liter Speed, 1934 MG K3 Magnette and 1953 Jaguar C-type — at its England at Le Mans Demo Day from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on January 25.

The AACA Museum will stage a special display through January 26 at the Pennsylvania Auto Show in Harrisburg with a 1917 Pierce-Arrow Model 66, 1951 Buick Roadmaster, 1969 AMX, 1929 Whippet, 1963 Avanti, 1928 Chrysler and 1975 Dodge pickup truck.

The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, continues its winter lecture series January 26 with “The Ford Model T: How It Changed the World” by automotive historian Don LaCombe.

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will host Bruce Meyer’s All-American Cruise-In celebrating Carroll Shelby and the Ford v Ferrari movie at 8 a.m. on January 26. The car show will be followed by an all-star Shelby panel presentation at 10 a.m.

January 26 will be a Family Sunday at the BMW Museum in Germany, where from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. the museum becomes a MakerSpace with families learning about 3D printing and with children 8-and-older printing 3D pens.

Mark your calendar

The California Agriculture Museum in Woodland offers free admission on February 1.

Ryan ZumMallen will autograph his book Slow Car Fast: The Millennial Mantra Changing Car Culture for Good from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on February 1 at Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California.

The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, continues its winter lecture series February 2 with “Driving Through the Jim Crow Era” with historian John Burton and musician Robin Nott.

“The Miracle Story of Charles W. Nash” will be presented by James Wheary, Nash’s great-grandson, at 2 p.m. on February 9 at the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento opens its new exhibition, “Reel Cars: The Importance of Cars in Filmmaking,” on February 14.

The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, hosts its annual Pint with the Past fund-raising gala on February 15 from 7 to 10 p.m.

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in northeast Indiana hosts its annual Bootlegger’s Ball on February 15 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The spring lecture series continues at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, England, on February 15 when George Mooney talks about “Austin Adventures.” Mooney and his wife have traveled the world in their small pre-war cars. The series continues March 21 with Steph Jeavons talks about “Girls on Top” and leading the first all-female motorcycle riding group to the Mount Everest base camp. The series concludes April 18 with Alan Chandler sharing his experience in collecting nearly 4,000 items of Petroliana. 

The Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard, California, plans at Grand Re-opening Party for February 22 to celebrate its new location.

Tacoma, Washington, museums including LeMay – America’s Car Museum, plan a special K-12 educator workshop exploring science, technology, engineering, art and math on February 29. 

“Drive the Blues Away” with a “Viva Las Vegas” night March 13 from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. at the LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington. 

The Miles Through Time Museum in Clarkesville, Georgia, will stage a grand re-0pening and cruise-in on April 4. 

The Mustang Owner’s Museum near Charlotte, North Carolina, is making plans for National Mustang Day with several days of activities, including a test and tune on April 16, at Mooresville Dragway; a driver’s choice cruise to various NASCAR race shops or to a winery, distillery and brewery before the Mustang Hall of Fame induction on April 17; a “day at the museum” program on April 18; and a cruise to Mustang specialist Innovative Performance Technologies on April 19.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, re-opens its Performance Gallery on April 22. The gallery closed on November 20 for “a much-needed refresh.” 

Does your local car museum have special events or exhibitions planned? Let us know. Email [email protected]

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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