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A “quiet” liquidation of 119 cars.
August 1, 2013 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Using "under-the-radar" auctions, the Petersen Museum in L.A. is selling much of its classic car collection to finance an exterior renovation.
posted by xowie (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
In fairness to the Petersen, here is their response.
posted by dfm500 at 1:49 PM on August 1, 2013


How does a 2006 Veyron cost $30k a year to maintain?
posted by smackfu at 1:58 PM on August 1, 2013


This is so much bullshit. The L.A. Times is fishing. Their collection is dull and in need of refreshing. Let the duplicate Model As go to a collector who will enjoy them instead of sitting parked, unseen in a basement somewhere on Miracle Mile.

Also, their "Celebrity Cars" are shitty. It's the most pandering way possible to get someone in the door who don't actually give two fucks about cars.
posted by basicchannel at 1:58 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


smackfu: Because a Veyron is a ludicrous creation with a one-off W16 engine and something like 40 million radiators just to keep everything from spontaneously combusting.
posted by basicchannel at 2:00 PM on August 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


This sounds like the same bullshit archivists and librarians face whenever they are practicing good archival and cataloging procedures. Not every piece has the same value from the historical perspective.
posted by Think_Long at 2:00 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


From their response:

• The Board of Directors would also like to officially state that no funds from the sale of collection vehicles will be used for exterior renovations of the museum. Those funds will be used to grow and restore the collection and to enhance the interior displays, galleries and make other improvements.

If so, that does align them closer to traditional standards like those set by AAM, though it seems like more transparency could have helped.
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:01 PM on August 1, 2013


Also, for those interested in seeing a smaller, albeit really great, collection of cars and even RIDE in them there's a cool museum not too far from the Petersen that I recommend: the Automobile Driving Museum*.

*I am not affiliated with them or the Peterson or anything other than being a car geek.
posted by basicchannel at 2:05 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does a quarter of the collection really qualify as "much" of it?
posted by smackfu at 2:05 PM on August 1, 2013


smackfu: Because a Veyron is a ludicrous creation with a one-off W16 engine and something like 40 million radiators just to keep everything from spontaneously combusting.

$30K would make more sense if the car was used daily. But doesn't it just sit there? Is it an issue of delicately replacing fluids so that they don't degrade within the car?
posted by spiderskull at 2:06 PM on August 1, 2013


$30K would make more sense if the car was used daily.

Oh, it's much worse if you use it daily. You change the tires every 2500 miles and they cost $40k. But as you said, I don't see most of the ludicrous maintenance costs applying to a static display model.
posted by smackfu at 2:10 PM on August 1, 2013


According to this link, routine annual maintenance on the Veyron is $21k. I'm thinking $30k to keep the car in driveable, showroom shape is not excessive … well, not for this car. I'm guessing they require specialized computer diagnostic equipment, with four-times-a-year-updates, just to change the turn signal fluid.
posted by zippy at 2:16 PM on August 1, 2013


Also, their "Celebrity Cars" are shitty. It's the most pandering way possible to get someone in the door who don't actually give two fucks about cars.

The Hannibal Twin-8 begs to differ! Hah hah hah hahhhh! Now push the button, Max!
posted by infinitewindow at 2:25 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


As much of a gearhead as I've been, I really don't care that they're selling off their cars. There's just one vehicle in their collection that I need them to keep because I've been casing the joint for it for nine years and sanding off my fingerprints and tailoring my black catsuit and assembling a playlist of perfect 1965 jazzy caper-movie soundtracks in order to plan the perfect crime, and one fine evening, prominent voice actor Frank Welker, the ghost of Don Knotts, and I are going to slip in there, tiptoe around all the lasers, and I'm going to very slowly get away on the seat of their Heinkel Tourist 103.

God as my witness—


I should add that the auction that truly broke my heart was when they sold off the Bruce Weiner Museum, which I'd been planning to visit for years, and the likes of which will never be seen again. Peterson's just pop culture flim-flam by comparison.
posted by sonascope at 2:37 PM on August 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


The article provoked a strong rebuke from the museum’s directors, who say that “deaccessioning” pieces in a collection is normal

OK, they deserve at least a punch in the throat for using that word.
posted by ShutterBun at 3:51 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's just one vehicle in their collection that I need them to keep...

If they need room, I'll take this old tractor-trailer off their hands.
posted by zippy at 4:27 PM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Exterior renovation? They already ruined a really swell mid-century modern Japanese department store (and rooftop restaurant) with those dopey fins and covered windows. A proper renovation, with display windows full of cool cars, would do wonders for the corner and the Petersen's visibility.

This is just an architectural ego battle with LACMA to the north that in no way serves the mission of the the institution, which is educational, to portray the history of the automobile within the context of Los Angeles. You know, for kids. And cars aside, the replica of the dog-shaped diner, the early supermarket display, the auto showroom, the hot rodder's garage--all that stuff is fantastic. Sad to see a public institution sliding off course like this, and hope the visit from the Attorney General will scare the board straight.
posted by Scram at 4:48 PM on August 1, 2013


It really sounds like a bunch of rich guys are selling off the collection to build a shiny box to display their own cars in. Which isn't how a nonprofit is supposed to work.
posted by tavella at 9:03 AM on August 2, 2013


I thought the history of nonprofit museums was rich people building shiny buildings to show off other shiny things. I don't think that, in itself, is a bad thing, compared to rich people acquiring shiny things and then not showing them at all.

For a prime example of this, the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Guy amasses fortune, buys art, builds mansion to display it, invites public to visit.

(It helps that he had amazing taste and timing, too)
posted by zippy at 10:20 AM on August 2, 2013


Well, the problem is what they are selling is not _their_ shiny things; it was assembled from the Peterson collection and apparently also possibly some cars owned by the LA Natural History Museum.
posted by tavella at 10:51 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interesting review in today's NYT of the remodeled LA Natural History Museum mentions that they still have a 1902 Auto Vehicle Company Tourist on display.

Also relevant to Miracle Mile, Dolly Bright Silliman, original donor of LACMA's 20th century collection and the UCLA sculpture garden as well, just died.
posted by xowie at 9:05 AM on August 3, 2013


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