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The incredible and legendary sports cars of the Marconi Automotive Museum

There aren't many museums in the world where you can see a Ferrari F40, and a DeLorean adjacent to a Cizeta-Moroder V16T, but you can at the Marconi Museum in Los Angeles. Here's a look inside.

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Geoffrey Morrison
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1 of 50 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

A rather unassuming exterior, belying all the incredible machines within.

For the full story behind this tour, check out The rare and gorgeous sports cars of the Marconi Automotive Museum.

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2 before 4

As you enter the museum you're greeted by some lovely two-wheeled machines, like the Bimota YB11 on the left, the Yamaha CBR600F2 along with various Ducati and Honda models.

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Museum of awesome

Many of the lovelies in the main section of the museum.

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M1

One of my favorites of all time, the BMW M1. The entrance is next to the Ferraris, but I was drawn to this like a magnet.

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Simple and functional

Not very lavish for a high-end sports car, but certainly functional. I dig the dog-leg first gear.

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512 TR

Those iconic side strakes are so instantly recognizable as a Testarossa, though this is the later 512 TR of which Ferrari says includes an interior that was "redesigned to increase comfort and ergonomics and the exterior facelift was designed to improve aerodynamics."

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So wide

Big tires plus a super-wide flat-12 engine results in this. Wide then, and about as wide as the modern big Ferraris. So cool.

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Big block

Under the hood is a massive 7.0-liter V8 with over 400 hp.

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Wood wheel

What a delightful cockpit. I wonder what the engine sounded like in here. Oh, this.

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1991 F40

Though 478 hp is almost tame these days, what an absolute monster the F40 was.

That's a 195 S in the background.

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Twin turbo V8

More cars should so gloriously show off their engines.

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Stripped out

Keeping the weight as low as possible, the interior is nicely spartan.

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1960 195 S

Compare that to the 195 S race car's interior, 41 years older.

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"Daytona"

A Ferrari 365 GTB/4 "Daytona" in the only other respectable Ferrari color.

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Rarest

This is one of the rarest cars you'll ever see. A 1996 Ferrari FX, built custom for the Sultan of Brunei. Powered by a Testarossa flat-12 mated to a then racing-only sequential gearbox. It's the only one not still in Brunei.

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F1 and Indy

Along two of the walls (and on several) are a bevy of race cars. The middle one is Mario Andretti's 1993 IndyCar.

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Hanging out

Nice horse. The real stars here are Michael Schumacher's 1996 Ferrari and Ayrton Senna's 1988 Honda.

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Tight fit

This was the first Ferrari race car to use a V10.

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F50

Slower and heavier than the car it replaced, perhaps the F50 was just a little too much less... crazy?

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Still simple

The interior was still no-nonsense race-car-for-the-street.

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McFly

Ah the DeLorean. The first car to break my heart. I wanted one so bad (I mean look at it!). But as I learned more about cars, I understood that underneath it's a bit meh.

Those doors though...

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Mustangs

Serious Pony car muscle. A 1969 Mach 1, next to '68 and '67 GT350s.

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GT350

The story here is the red GT350 which was a "little old lady's" daily driver for 24 years. She wasn't from Pasadena, but she did more to Southern California with this car.

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More muscle

Around the corner in the small annex to the main museum room are these two Mach 1s, a 1970 on the left and a 1971 on the right. Peeking out from behind are two Bentleys, a Turbo RL from 1994 and a 2002 Azure.

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More racers

The annex is largely more racers, of the smaller variety. There are a few more cars on the platform above, but these were too hard to photograph due to the angle and the lighting.

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Big American metal

A 6L V8 drags nearly 19ft/5.8m of Cadillac in this 1957 Coupe de Ville.

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Cruisin'

The 1956 Eldorado looks almost tame by comparison, but it's nearly as large.

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Gullwing

No car museum is complete without the legendary 300 SL. Still a beauty more than six decades later.

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Inside an SL

I think plaid seats should make a comeback. Just me? Hello? Anyone?

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Fuel injection

The first production car with fuel injection, the 300 SL's system was famously mechanical. Since there was no fuel cutoff, some fuel would enter the cylinders after you turned off the car, but before the engine stopped moving. This would dilute the oil. Oil changes were a recommended every 1,000 miles. Small price to pay for such a car though.

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Lambo

Ah the Countach. The ultimate angular masterpiece. Too bad this 1989 Anniversary Edition still has its ugly bumpers. Such it was in its day, though.

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V16

Another rare treat at the Marconi, an actual Cizeta-Moroder V16T. Only 20 were made.

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V8x2

The 81-inch/205.7-centimeter(!) wide chassis was necessary to hold the V16, which was actually two transverse V8s mounted facing each other with the transmission in between (sort of like a "T").

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Blue Wraith

A stately and immaculate Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith.

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Custom prize

This custom GMC Sierra was given to Oscar de la Hoya after he won the gold medal for boxing. It has some incredible artwork of the man himself on the hood, bespoke trim pieces, suicide doors and...

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Gold power

...a 24-karat gold sound system in the bed.

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Model A

The Marconi has a decided sports-car tilt, but there are a few older gems like this Model A. The nearby Automobile Driving Museum and not-as-nearby Nethercutt Museum and Collection offer a wider variety of cars from this era.

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Maser

A '74 Maserati Bora. This one has the 4.9L V8, but lacks the US-spec bumper nubbins. To be fair, I'd have taken them off too.

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512i

One of the museums subtle surprises, a 1981 Ferrari BB 512i, none of which were ever sold (offically) in the US.

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Black on black

Hotblack Desiato would dig this car.

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Fast cat

A XJ220 is rare enough, but this example is even rarer. It's 1 of 5 XJ220-S models. 3.3 seconds to 60 thanks to carbon-fiber bodywork, stripped-out interior and a 690 hp twin-turbo V6.

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Dual Dinos

A '73 GTS and a '72 GT.

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Espada

Though the Espada looks epically wide and long, it isn't compared to many cars today. It's shorter and narrower than an Aston Rapide or Porsche Panamera, for example.

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Dials and switches

There is just something so cool about deeply recessed binnacled gauges and big manual switches.

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Rear window

Reminds me of a second-generation Honda CRX, with this tinted mini-window on the back of the trunk.

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Jarama

Even more rare than the Espada, the Jarama shared its engine but in a smaller car. Only 328 were made, 250 of them were the 365 hp GTS like this one.

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Viper

Still gorgeous and totally iconic. How many other cars from 1996 could say that?

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Off ramp

I'm not a huge Corvette fan, but Chevy really nailed the C7. What an awesome looking car. This Z06 has been modified a bit (look at those wheel arches!).

And sadly, this is the end of our tour of the Marconi and these amazing cars. For the full story, check out The rare and gorgeous sports cars of the Marconi Automotive Museum.

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