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Petersen showcasing iconic Hollywood movie cars

Our weekly roundup of car museum news and notes


The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is located just down the street from Hollywood’s iconic movie studios, and cars from several recent flicks will be displayed in a new exhibit that opens March 12.

“A continuation of the popular ‘Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy’ exhibit, which was the largest museum exhibition of sci-fi movie vehicles in the world, the new display branches out beyond the specific genre to incorporate a broader range of vehicles, movies and television series,” the museum said in its announcement.

“Included in the space will be vehicles from the blockbuster Black Panther, the trilogies Men in Black and Back to the Future, and the Ghostbusters and Batman series of movies.

Back to the Future DeLorean, and more
Starsky and Hutch Gran Torino

Returning to museum display are “Ecto-1” and the 1981 DeLorean “Tim Machine.”

“Stars of the new exhibit include the wildly popular 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor dubbed ‘Ecto-1,’ originally made famous as the rapid-response vehicle for the cast of Ghostbusters,” the museum notes. “The converted ambulance made multiple appearances in the sequels to the original 1984 hit, including the more recent reboot Ghostbusters: Afterlife. 

“While ‘Ecto-1’ received updates to its appearance over the years, it will display in its original 1984 condition.” 

Regarding the Back to the Future DMC-12, the museum reports, “Multiple versions of the DeLorean ‘Time Machine’ were made throughout the years for the two sequels, but this is the only example appearing in all three films.”

“Some vehicles used in television and movies have become just as popular as the stars themselves,” Terry Karges, the museum’s executive director, is quoted. “We are excited to display what are genuinely some of the most iconic vehicles from Hollywood’s long and storied history of film and television series production. 

“The unique collection is sure to appeal to fans of movies and television along with any automotive enthusiasts.”

That noise from Nashville

Some cars are propelled by a propeller

It’s “Start Your Engines” on March 19 at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, where at six times during the day, staff will run a variety of vehicle powerplants, including the propeller-driven Hellicron, a 2-stroke Scootacar, a rotary-engine  Hercules motorcycle, and the air-cooled and rear-engine Tatra T-603.

March 17-18 is also a hoods-up weekend at the museum, with the engines of more than 40 vehicles exposed for viewing.

Under the hood at the Gilmore

Horsepower Tour

Through March 31, it’s “Hoods Up! Engines on Display” at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, where some special “Horsepower Tours” are offered. 

The March 12 tour at 1 p.m. features Pontiacs and GTO. On March 16, it’s GM and Camaro at 10:30 a.m. On March 19 at 1 p.m., it’s Ford and Shelby.

Special events this weekend 

The Route 29 Carolina Cruise begins the morning of March 12 at the Richard Petty Museum and ends later that day at the Mustang Owner’s Museum in Concord, North Carolina.

“Le Mans Prototype — Winning the Race by Plying the Rules” is the theme of Demo Day on March 12 at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, where the cars being exercised are the 1963 Ferrari 250P, 1966 Ford GT40 Mk II and 1970 Porsche 917LH. (This program takes place instead of the previously announced “Car Detective” program.)

It’s Hoods-Up Weekend at the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island, which also is featuring its replica of the Benz Patent-Motorwagen of 1888 and a movie about Bertha Benz in honor of women’s history month. 

The Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario, offers a special March Break Activities program March 11-19 for school-age children and their families. On March 17 at 7 p.m., the museum hosts its Third Thursday lecture program, this month featuring Dale Johnson’s presentation on “General Motors Canada and the Star Blanket Cree Nation.”

Mark your calendar

March 14 is Maine Museum Day and the Owls Head Transportation Museum will offer free admission. It also will offer half-price memberships if purchased that day.

Early Studebaker EV

“Wired: The Rise (and Fall) of Electric Cars” will be presented by curator Kyle Sater at 1:30 p.m. March 15 at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana.

John Oates and Guthrie Trapp perform March 26 in concert in Newport, Rhode Island, to benefit the Audrain Automobile Museum. 

“Drive-In Theaters: An American Institution” is the subject of a presentation March 26 at 11 a.m. at the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The program will be presented by Jeffrey Bliemeister, the museum’s executive director, and Tim Neal, manager of the Sky Vu Drive-In, which has been operating since 1948 in Gratz, Pennsylvania. The program will be presented live at the museum’s drive-in theater and via Zoom.

“Developing the American Sports Car” will be the theme of Demo Day on March 26 at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia. Featured cars are the 1909 American Underslung, 1911/13 Mercer Raceabout 37J, 1927 Stutz AA Black Hawk and 1966 Corvette 427 Stingray.

The Mustang Owners Museum in Concord, North Carolina, launches its car-show calendar on March 27 with a “Fords on Sunday” event.

The Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario, offers Oshawa Automotive Walking tours on April 2, April 23 and May 7.

“Foundations of Photography” classes featuring Andrew Taylor begin April 9 and run through October 22 at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum hosts its first Cars & Coffee event of the season April 9 with free beverages and donuts provided by Founders Grounds and Jack’s Donuts. Subsequent cruise-ins are scheduled for the second Saturday of each month. Entry into the Speedway grounds is through Gate 2.

National Mustang Day will be celebrated April 15-16 at the Mustang Owner’s Museum in Concord, North Carolina, with the opening of the museum’s newly expanded exhibit area and a driving cruise, car show, seminars and a Shelby panel presentation and more.

The North East Motor Sports Museum in Loudon, New Hampshire, opens its outdoor event season April 16 with the inaugural New England Racers Reunion. The event, taking place at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, will include all eras of racing vehicles.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, celebrates National Mustang Day with a cruise-in car show co-hosted by CJ Pony Parts. Museum admission will be free for anyone arriving in a Mustang.

The Third Thursday Zoom program on April 21 by the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario, features “Lost Car Rescue: Behind the Scenes of a Canadian Car Show.”

The spring lecture series at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, England, continues April 23 with Alan Chandler discussing petroliana collecting.

A second wave of vehicles arrives September 22, 2022, and runs through May 14, 2023, in “The Allure of the Extreme” supercar showcase at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, opens three new exhibits on May 21 — Orphan Cars, ATVs and AMCs.

The Revs Institute in Naples, Florida, hosts a combined meeting of the World Forum for Motor Museums and the National Association of Automobile Museums from November 9-12.

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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