A tour of the Vault at the Petersen Automotive Museum

The Petersen Automotive Museum has hundreds of incredible cars, but many have never been seen by the public. Behold the Vault, where they house classics from over 100 years of automotive history that can't fit in the museum itself. Here's a tour with tons of pictures.

Geoffrey Morrison
You can't take pictures. Well, not normally. During a regular tour, there's the tour guide, and a separate minder who keeps an eye on you and your phone or camera.

Welcome to the Vault, the sprawling underground storage of some incredible and historic cars, beneath the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

By special arrangement, I got to take my camera, so I can show you some of the cars on display. From a 1903 Cadillac to a 1953 Ferrari, to a gold-plated DeLorean, there's lots to see.

If you're a fan of cars, or even just history, I recommend checking out the Petersen if you're in LA. Since the Vault is a guided tour, there's a separate fee and specific tour times (two times a day on weekdays, four times on weekends).

If you can't convince your significant other to go for the cars, the LA County Museum of Art is across the street.

At your appointed time, your guide shepherds you into the elevator. Through another set of doors at the bottom is the underground garage that is the Vault.

Because it's not a show space, per se, the lighting isn't ideal for photography. The closeness of the cars was occasionally an issue for some shots. Excuses aside, here are a few dozen cars in all their amazing glory.

Cars get swapped in and out all the time, so there might be some different cars if you visit. It's also great to go around with one of the Petersen guides, as they're able to tell fascinating stories about almost every car (much more than I could get into here).

Special thanks to Alan Taylor at ERN for helping to set this up, and the Petersen's Chris Brown for showing me around.


Geoff loves taking behind-the-scenes tours. Check out Audiophile Odyssey: Behind the Scenes at B&W, Meridian, and Abbey Road Studios . Then, check out all the other articles he's written on topics like HDMI cables , LED LCD vs. plasma , active versus passive 3D , and more. Still have a question? Send him an e-mail! He won't tell you what TV to buy, but he might use your letter in a future article. You can also send him a message on Twitter @TechWriterGeoff or Google+.

About the author

Geoffrey Morrison is a freelance writer/photographer for CNET, Forbes, and TheWirecutter. He also writes for Sound&Vision magazine, HDGuru.com, and several others. He was Editor in Chief of Home Entertainment magazine and before that, Technical Editor of Home Theater magazine. He is NIST and ISF trained, and has a degree in Television/Radio from Ithaca College. His bestselling first novel, Undersea, is available in paperback and as an ebook on Amazon, B&N, and elsewhere.

 

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