Tuesday, September 26, 2023


“Batman” to “Back to the Future”: Celebrity car stars galore at LA museum

Automobiles have long had starring roles in movies and television programs. The Petersen Automotive Museum, among the country’s most well-known vehicle shrines, is now honoring many four-wheel icons from Hollywood.

Located in downtown Los Angeles, the museum’s new exhibit, “Cars of Film and Television,” which opened March 12, expands upon a former display called “Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy.”

The 1981 DeLorean from the movie Back to the Future is on display at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles.
The 1981 DeLorean from the movie “Back to the Future” is on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Images Courtesy of Petersen Automotive Museum

The new offering, a keen attraction for RVers in Southern California, features a collection of some of the most famous vehicles ever to appear in film and television. Vehicles from the blockbuster “Black Panther,” the trilogies “Men in Black” and “Back to the Future,” and the “Ghostbusters” and “Batman” series of movies are all featured.

Stars of the new exhibit include the wildly popular 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor dubbed “Ecto-1,” originally made famous as the rapid response vehicle for the cast of “Ghostbusters.”

The converted ambulance made multiple appearances in the sequels to the original 1984 hit, including the more recent reboot “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” While “Ecto-1” received updates to its appearance over the years, it will display in its original 1984 condition.

Another Hollywood vehicle making its return is the 1981 DeLorean “Time Machine” from the “Back to the Future” trilogy of movies. The producers originally chose the DMC-12 as the foundation for the famous time-traveling DeLorean due to its stainless-steel construction and gullwing doors. Multiple versions of the DeLorean “Time Machine” were made throughout the years for the two sequels, but this is the only example appearing in all three films.

“Some vehicles used in television and movies have become just as popular as the stars themselves,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “We are excited to display what are genuinely some of the most iconic vehicles from Hollywood’s long and storied history of film and television series production. The unique collection is sure to appeal to fans of movies and television along with any automotive enthusiasts.”

Other notable unique additions to the new exhibit include the Batmobile from “Batman” and “Batman Returns,” the intricate Moto-Terminator motorcycle that appeared in “Terminator Salvation” and the classic 1976 Ford Gran Torino from the “Starsky and Hutch” television series.

The Petersen Automotive Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd. (at Fairfax) in Los Angeles, California. Admission prices are $17 for general admission adults, $15 for seniors and $12 for children ages 4 to 17. Active military with ID, personal care attendants and children under age 4 are admitted free. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

To purchase tickets or for more information about the Petersen Automotive Museum, please call 323-930-CARS or visit www.petersen.org.

James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: james@jamesraia.com.




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