The Petersen Automotive Museum is, for all intents and purposes, a Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory for gearheads.
And starting this month, the Los Angeles institution is offering up golden tickets to the masses, in the form of new and improved tours of The Vault.
Never heard of it? While the Petersen acts like a run-of-the-mill museum, with rotating exhibitions spread over three floors showcasing anywhere from 100 to 150 vehicles, it also houses something called The Vault — what basically amounts to its storage area in the basement.
Previously, the Petersen hosted private tours of The Vault. But given that it stocks a collection of autos worthy of an Ocean’s 11-style heist, demand naturally rose for public tours. And so the Petersen renovated it (they didn't want to parade guests around a parking garage, after all), resulting in these new tours.
The Vault (3 images)
The new Vault is more than double the original size, at over 60,000 square feet, boasts some 250 vehicles and touts itself as “the largest guided automotive tour in the United States.” Well, technically tours, plural. Both a 75-minute Introductory Tour and 120-minute World Tour are now available on a daily basis.
OK, but what is actually on display? The two-time Le Mans-winning 1966 “Gulf” GT40. Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta from Gymkhana III. Four-time F1 champion Alain Prost’s 1987 McLaren MP4/3. Steve McQueen’s 1956 Jaguar XKSS. A gold-plated DeLorean.
If you have no idea what those are, fret not: the tour guides will explain the provenance of each so you don’t have to BS your way around.
Oh, and while you’re there, don’t forget to show the two-wheelers some love.