With rarely seen vehicles, cool rides and rocket-fast sports cars, the Petersen Automotive Museum’s latest exhibition looks at the evolution of the Porsche.
Split between the museum’s first floor Mullin Grand Salon and its basement vault, “The Porsche Effect,” which coincides with the 70-year anniversary of the brand, opens Feb. 3 and runs through Jan. 27 2019. The exhibition is made up of dozens of cars, historical documents and artifacts that trace the evolution of the cars not just as road and race vehicles, but also as works of kinetic art.
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“This exhibit is about how Porsche has managed to create this timeless silhouette, this memorable appeal that’s created such a large fanbase,” said Brittanie Kinch, the exhibition’s co-curator.
All of the cars in the exhibition would turn heads on the street, but here are a few in the collection that will really turn your head at the museum.
The one that shaped the future
The Car: 1939 Type 64 60K10
Only three of these cars were built to compete in the 1939 Berlin-Rome endurance race, but World War II put a stop to that event.
“It has this amazing body that’s the predecessor of all Porsches that are on the road today. If you look at this car it is a study in aerodynamic design. Obviously it’s a gorgeous car,” Kinch said.
The first family Porsche
The Car: 1987 928 H50
Regarded as an early precursor the Porsche Panamera, this 310 horsepower burgundy egg-shaped concept car looks like a wagon on steroids with its four doors and big rear windows for the kids to see the road fly by a top speeds of 160 mph.
The one with Hollywood cool
The Car: 1958 356A 1600 Super Speedster
This low-to-the-ground black convertible with a black top and white steering wheel already looks cool enough on the display platform. But it becomes even cooler when you find out that it was owned by the King of Cool, actor Steve McQueen. The actor and avid racer bought the car and raced it at Willow Springs and Laguna Seca.
“That’s another example of Hollywood really adopting Porsche as a symbol of status and sex appeal,” Kinch said.
The rare siblings
The Cars: 1997 911 GT1 and its street legal younger brother the 1998 911 GT1 Strassenversion
It’s not often that these two road rockets are seen side-by-side. The race version is a 600 horsepower beast that can reach speeds of up to 206 mph. Only nine were ever built.
And at 544 horsepower, with a top speed of 194 mph, the street version of this race car wouldn’t be left far behind on the track. The street version includes a softer suspension, more ground clearance and, according to the plaque at the exhibition, a “more civilized interior.”
“It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most people outside the factory or who have never been to the Porsche Museum to see them together,” Kinch said.
The movie star
The Car: 1979 928
Tom Cruise was a very bad boy in the 1983 comedy “Risky Business.” When his overbearing parents took off for the weekend he raided the liquor cabinet, danced around in his skivvies and took his dad’s silver Porsche 928, which ultimately ended up taking a dive into Lake Michigan.
One of the four cars used in the film that didn’t end up in the water is on display in the basement as part of the exhibition. And the keys are in the ignition. But don’t even think about it.
The Porsche Effect
When: Feb. 3-Jan. 27, 2019. Museum hours are 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. daily.
Where: Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
Admission: $16 for adults, $13 for seniors and students, $8 for children ages 3-12. Vault tours are an additional $20. Children younger than 10 are not allowed on vault tours.
Information: 323-930-2277, www.petersen.org