Jeff Smith 2 p.m., March 5
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- Custom Coupe
Chapter 3: Gullwings and Droogs - The Petersen and LACMA
Sunday morning... Johnny and I had crashed out at the Holiday Inn in Van Nuys, right near the Galpin dealerships. Part of the 2 block long Galpin compound is the Horseless Carriage Diner. Excellent American style breakfast.
Before heading over to the diner, we gave the '50 a checkup. Both of us were surprised to find that the radiator was only half full (see, I'm an optimist) and that it was about 2 quarts low on oil. I rummaged around in the trunk and found a gallon of anti-freeze and a couple of quarts of 50 weight. Oh man - 50 weight oil... this thing must really piss it past the rings if they were running such thick oil!
Even with the lack of coolant, the Coupe was not overheating on the way through the hills on the 101, so I felt pretty good about that. Flathead Fords have a tendency to overheat... Its the second question that people ask when you tell them that you have a flat head (the first being "is it all stock?").
Breakfast was excellent - we both went big, eating way too much.
We finished up just in time to get over to the Petersen Automotive Museum right at opening time, 10 am. There were a few other old cars in line with us, but we thought nothing of it.
The parking attendant was stoked to see us - even more so once he found out that we had driven down from Oakland. "Thanks so much for coming, you are on the third floor. Here, this is a parking voucher and 2 for 1 to get in to see the museum". We were clueless. "Thanks!" Johnny and I looked at eachother, shrugged and drive into the parking structure.
On the third floor we found that a car show was in progress. I remembered seeing a car duster in the trunk, so I swipped as much of the dust and bugs as possible off of the '50 and then started walking around to see the show. Hot rods, customs, Porsches, Ferraris. There was even a cool little Mini Cooper.
After a bit I realized that Johnny was no where to be found, So I called him. "Come upstairs".
The Mercedes Club was there in full force on the fourth floor. There were at least four 50s Gullwing SLs there. Four. Million dollar cars. Crazy!! more Porsches, a really nice '63 XKE v12 Jaguar. Parked between two beautiful Mercedes was a 1930 Model A Tutor rat rod. Such a great mix of cars.
Later we found out that this was the first of what the Petersen is planning to become a regular event. Every 3rd Sunday from now on they are hosting a car show. Crazy luck.
We hung out at the car show for about an hour and a half, then went into the Petersen to check out the exhibits.
This was my second time to the Petersen, last time there was a big display of art deco cars. Beside each car was a dress on a mannequin that matched the style of the car. This time in the same room was a display of influential hot rods from over the years... including the very first America's Most Beautiful Roadster award winner, The NieKamp Roadster. I have been in love with this car from the first photos I'd seen, and it was a real treat to see it in person.
Other displays included a big room filled with cars with fins (like '59 Cadillacs) - even a couple from Russia and a really cool, bright pink boat when a ton of late 50s styling. The Aerodynamic display is one of my favorites. There is even an alternative power display, featuring a 60's Chrysler that runs on a turbine.
After lunch at Johnny Rockets (right inside the Petersen) we walked across the street to LACMA to check out the Stanley Kubrick exhibit. Both John and I are big fans of his movies, so we had to see it while we were there.
Such an amazing display of the art, costumes and sets from his movies. The movie model of the space station from 2001: A Space Odyssey was hanging from the ceiling. Fixtures from the Milk Bar from A Clockwork Orange filled one room (sadly, no huge, rocking phallus sculpture). Another room was filled with props from Dr. Strangelove, a display of Kubrick's cameras from his journalism days and en entire wall of domestic and foreign movie posters.
The show was wonderful, but the people watching was EPIC. So many interesting people milling about.
The ride home was perfect. There is nothing nicer than sailing down the freeway in an old car on a Sunday afternoon with a friend. We stopped at a couple of rest stops on the way, I don't think that either of us wanted the trip to end.
When we got back into San Diego, both of us were hungry. We stopped at our friend George's house to see if he up for getting dinner, he was out driving his newly painted '56 Ford pickup. So we tossed his shoes on the roof and went to get some soup.
The Ramen house that were were hoping to hit was closed, so we headed over to a Pho joint... closed too. Next door was one of our hangouts, The Longhorn. It was great to see Cathy... and after loading up on grease, I dropped Johnny off at his house and headed home.
What a great time.
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