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L.A.’s Petersen Automotive Museum Reveals ‘Early Sketch’ for Exterior Redesign


(Courtesy Petersen Automotive Museum)

The Pedersen Art Museum made headlines recently for what the Los Angeles Times characterized as a plan to sell off “a third of its 400 classic cars” to finance a major renovation and “put more emphasis on motorcycles and French vehicles…passions that match the tastes of the museum’s new leadership.” That leadership was not amused and has fired back with a statement intended to set the record straight.

“The collection has now reached over 400 pieces. Not only are we unable to showcase all of the vehicles, but maintaining and keeping that many cars in running order is virtually impossible,” wrote museum board chairman Peter Mullin and co-vice-chairman Bruce Meyer in an open letter posted to the museum’s website. “We are culling the collection for the first time in nearly 20 years, selling cars that can easily be procured on loan or vehicles that were never intended for exhibition.” The only vehicles that are being sold, according to Mullin and Meyer, are those “that we have in multiples or are not in show-worthy condition.”

And the French cars and motorcycles? The L.A. museum, founded in 1994 by publishing honcho Robert E. Petersen (Motor Trend), is expanding its mission beyond Southern California car culture, but not at the expense of the local scene. “Southern California car culture will not be abandoned,” noted Mullin and Meyer. “Hot Rods and race cars will always be a part of our museum, as will exotics, art deco automobiles and vehicles with Hollywood provenance.”

As for that renovation, stay tuned. The museum has retained Kohn Pedersen Fox for the job and released the above “example of an early design sketch” in advance of a detailed announcement of the redesign concept set for August 18 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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