Friday, September 17, 2010

Natural History Museum's Automobile Storage Facility Opens to Public



Kristin Friedrich; (213) 763-3532; cell: (323) 449-7370
Lauren Clark; (213) 763-3580; cell: (323) 841-4139





63 Rare Vehicles are Housed in Gardena Facility; Focus is Automobiles

Made or Designed in Southern California


LOS ANGELES - The Natural History Museum has been collecting and preserving California’s automotive culture since 1929.  Today, the Museum’s automotive collection is the largest on the West Coast at a public institution.  The collection consists of 63 historic cars and motorcycles dating from 1900 to 1984.


Until now, these vehicles were on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum on a rotating basis. But on Friday, October 1, 2010, the Natural History Museum launches a monthly, behind-the-scenes tour series at the Gardena, California storage facility. Participants will learn about the history of automotive design, and Los Angeles’ rich — and sometimes surprising — automotive past.


One of the standouts in the collection is the 1908 Pierce Great Arrow, which this August won the 1st prize in the Prewar Preservation Class and the Chairman’s Trophy at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Museum’s 1908 Pierce remains in original, unrestored condition. It was donated by the widow of T.C. Wohlbruck in 1937; her husband owned a private car museum in the San Jose, California area. Before entering Mr. Wohlbruck’s collection, the car was owned by Mrs. Edward de Nivernois, the wife of the editor of the San Francisco Examiner, and her initials can still be seen in gold leaf on the door of the car.


The NHM’s Gardena storage facility houses 63 rare and historic vehicles.

Other highlights in the Museum’s Gardena facility include a 1909 Case steam traction engine used in a San Fernando Valley orange grove, and the “newest” car in the collection, a 1984 Buick convertible which served as the Olympic Torch Relay Car in the L.A. summer games.


Though the focus of the collection is on automobiles made or designed in Southern California, it includes a wide variety of vehicles:

  • 1902 Tourist (produced by the first car manufacturing company in Los Angeles)
  • 1932 Duesenberg (the body of this glamour car was designed and manufactured in Pasadena)
  • 1953 Cadillac El Dorado (a car that defines post- WWII American design exuberance)
  • Industrial designer Raymond Loewy’s (he of the Shell logo) personally-designed 1957 BMW 507 Coupe


Gardena Facility Tour Info:
Guided tours are held on the first Friday of the month starting October 1, 2010. Reservations are required; group tours available by special arrangement. Tours last approximately one hour. There is a 20-person cap on each tour, and visitors must be 16 years of age or older. Call (213) 763-3505 for reservations and location details. $10 for general public; $8 for NHM members; free for NHM Fellows and employees.



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Lauren Clark

Marketing & Communications

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90007


tel. 213.763.3580

fax. 213.743.4843



1 comment:

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