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Legends of Los Angeles: Southern California Race Cars and Their Builders

On November 10 of this year, the Petersen Automotive Museum debuted its exhibit “Legends of Los Angeles: Southern California Race Cars and Their Builders.” Featuring 12 race cars powered by engineering legends such as Ed “The Old Master” Pink and Fred Offenhauser and driven by the likes of Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, Parnelli Jones, Bill Stroppe and Dan Gurney, the display is housed in the Charles Nearburg Family Gallery presented by Lucas Oil.

“Legends of LA” features a 180-degree panoramic video surrounding the collection in order to give visitors an immersive experience of the fastest race cars ever built in Los Angeles as they are raced on the region’s famed tracks. With vehicles from every major racing type (including midgets, sprint cars, dragsters, off-road cars, IndyCars, land-speed cars and road-racing cars), the video and display work in tandem to create a visual journey down historic tracks like El Mirage, Willow Springs International Raceway and Perris Auto Speedway.

The autos on display include a 1963 Ol’Yaller Mark IX, one of the last race cars designed and built by Southern California hot rod legend Max Balchowsky; a 1964 Shelby Cobra 289 FIA, one of five FIA-spec factory team cars that competed in the 1964 World Championship and was raced by Dan Gurney in the Targa Florio; a 1967 Long “Shelby Super Snake” with an Ed Pink racing engine, which made history when driver Don Prudhomme accomplished four quarter-mile runs in the six-second range at the 1967 NHRA SpringNationals; and Big Oly, a 1970 Ford Bronco which was raced to back-to-back victories at the Baja 1000 in 1971 and 1972 by the famed off-roading team of Parnelli Jones and Bill Stroppe.

“From the early years of auto racing to today, Los Angeles has played a key role in the development and growth of motorsports in North America,” said Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “Our new exhibit honors the region’s rich history through some of the finest examples of race car engineering and design, telling a comprehensive story about the legends that helped establish Los Angeles as the diverse racing destination that it is today.”

Before the exhibit publicly opened, the Petersen hosted a cocktail reception and media preview on Thursday, November 8, during which the museum paid homage to Parnelli Jones, a racing icon known for claiming victories in almost every major auto racing event in the USA. Jones' voice is featured in the gallery video.

“Legends of Los Angeles” will run through December 1, 2019. To learn more about the new exhibit or the Petersen Automotive Museum, please visit www.Petersen.org.