This past weekend, I got a chance to visit the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California during their two-day celebration of the Corvette’s 60th anniversary. For those who have never been (and up until now, I was in that group, sorry to say…), the Petersen is a 300,000 square foot temple to all things automotive, with 150 or so vehicles on display at any given time in rotating exhibits.
Publishing titan Robert E. Petersen founded the museum with the intention of creating a very different sort of experience for car lovers, and no matter what the current theme might be, a visit to the Petersen is worth taking time for as a part of any visit to SoCal. The two-floor museum breaks the “nice cars in a big room” mold with displays tailored to the era of the vehicles being presented, and a “gallery” format that is more like an art exhibit than a typical automotive museum.
How much better, though, was it to be able to also experience a car show filling a large part of the Petersen’s multi-story parking garage with Corvettes of all generations, and get a first close-up look at the C7 Stingray on the West Coast? Among the honored guests were speed parts legend Vic Edelbrock, Jr. and Mid America Motorworks founder Mike Yager, who brought along three cars from his extensive collection of significant Corvettes.
The C7 Stingray in the Flesh – Sort of…
While there have been preproduction mules running around on public roads in the southwest in Arizona and southern California, the car on display at the Petersen was actually not a runner, though it did have a unique provenance of its own. This was the mockup that was presented to the GM Board of Directors in 2011 for final approval before production.
Wish These Were in MY Garage!
At the request of the Petersen Museum, Mike Yager brought out a sampling of the cars that can be seen in his “MY Garage” museum at Mid America Motorworks headquarters in Effingham, Illinois. Out of the dozens of significant Y-bodies Yager has collected over the years, the Petersen staff picked two in particular to have on hand for the celebration – the 1964 New York World’s Fair Mitchell Styling Corvette, and Chevy Engineering Research Vehicle (CERV) 1. The third car, the 1969 Elliott Forbes-Robinson #8 Corvette Race Car, was selected by Yager himself due to the car’s successful west coast race history.
For those who missed the event, there’s still time to catch the Petersen Museum’s ongoing Corvette exhibit, which runs through the end of March. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10AM to 6PM, and for tickets, directions, and more information, visit them on the web at Petersen.org