The Petersen Revs Back Into Action

By Michael Berick

Los Angeles attraction - Petersen

The new Cars Mechanical Institute will be a magnet for kids. PHOTO COURTESY PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM

For the past year, there has been a major transformation taking place on the southeast corner of Fairfax and Wilshire on the Miracle Mile. After 20 years, the Petersen Automotive Museum (6060 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; has been getting an overhaul – inside and out. Now the work is complete and the Los Angeles attraction is ready to roll again.

The building’s former Sixties-era beige walls now sport a “hot rod red” color and long metal “ribbons” wrapped around the exterior.

The Petersen’s interior has had a significant makeover as well, with 25 new galleries showcasing more cool cars and vintage vehicles, and presenting a more comprehensive look at automotive history, artistry and industry. Technology upgrades include more than 40 interactive touchscreens, three projection walls that range from 130 to 166 feet in length, and eight Microsoft Xbox Forza racing simulators.

The biggest attraction for kids, however, will be the Cars Mechanical Institute. In this exhibit, co-developed with Pixar Animation Studios, visitors will use a “CARSpad” mobile device on which Cars characters will serve as guides and teach facts about auto engineering and design.

The Petersen’s big reopening day is Dec. 7, which should create a different type of traffic jam along the Miracle Mile. The museum will be open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, and admission will be $15 for adults, $12 for ages 13-17 and $7 for ages 3-12.

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