By Troy Siahaan
I spent several hours last Friday looking at cars. From replicas of the 1886 Benz Patent Moterwagen, one of the first “practical” cars (as its placard insists), to the 2017 Ford GT, cars were everywhere I looked – and I loved it. I was at the Petersen Automotive Museum attending media day, where several excited staff and board members were on hand to showcase the museum’s $125 million renovation. It’s strange for me to think that, despite being born and raised in Southern California, I’d only been to the Petersen museum once. And that was for a work trip.
Nonetheless, I think my time on Friday made up for much of the lost opportunities I had during my childhood. I loved learning about the cars of yesteryear, seeing rare and exotic race cars and sports cars, and picturing myself piloting them. I enjoyed trying to put myself back in time, because, to me, trying to understand the past helps me put the present (and the future) in context. Imagine turning a crank to start your car, or double clutching to change gears. We’ve come a long way since then and yet, somehow, the rear end of my Toyota Tundra is suspended on leaf springs not too dissimilar from those seen on cars from a century ago. Progress?
As a fan of racing cars from the 1970s, the 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL Art Car is one of my favorites. This example, the first in the line of 17 BMW Art Cars, was painted by American artist Alexander Calder and raced in the 24-Hours of LeMans.
By and large, the Petersen is a car museum. And I know plenty of motorcyclists who couldn’t care less about cars. Some even get pretty testy with their disdain (hatred?) towards four wheels. There’s a mantra floating around …read more