Tar Pits, Concours and a Seminar at the Petersen

The Petersen Automotive Museum

I can’t think of a better way to spend a nice Sunday morning than chatting with good friends about old cars.

Noted collector Bruce Meyer is a board member at the Los Angeles-based Petersen Automotive Museum, and he hosted a panel discussion there last weekend.

I was the moderator, and with me were Aaron Weiss of the San Marino Motor Classic, collector Brad Du Coing, Gooding & Company Senior Specialist David Brynan, and Bruce.

The Petersen’s premier membership group, known as the Checkered Flag 200, hosted the event.

The exchange between the panel and the audience was spirited and engaging. Weiss prefers pre-war classics in perfect condition, Du Coing had just acquired a low-miles Pantera for his family collection, Meyer loves just about anything with wheels (his Doane Spencer ’32 Ford hot rod and his 1957 Ferrari 250 TRC Testa Rossa are both on display at the museum) and Brynan has an Alfa SZ and a Daytona in his garage.

When the discussion compared those who collect art to those of us who collect cars, we agreed it was unlikely that we’d ever see a parade of Rothko owners carrying their paintings down Rodeo Drive. Cars are one of the few collectibles that get shared with the public at large, at shows and on the road.

The Seinfeld Speedster was another topic of discussion, and we wondered just how much the “Seinfeld Bump” would increase values for the cars the comedian sells.

After the event, my 8-year-old son Bradley and I toured the museum. The last time I was there was for the gala reopening in December, and it was pleasant to experience the museum when things weren’t quite so hectic.

Bradley spent an engrossed hour in the Disney/Pixar Cars Mechanical Institute, where he learned about propulsion systems and then used a tablet to create his own race car.

I had a good conversation with Terry Karges, the museum’s Executive Director. Karges has done yeoman’s work, not only getting the renovation done, but also organizing the administration and finances of the institution.

Tar Pits and Travel

Following our time at the museum, Bradley and I made our way to the La Brea Tar Pits (I wondered when they will pull a ’50s Ferrari out of the muck) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. LACMA is making an aggressive push to recruit youth members. Museums, along with opera, symphony and ballet companies, face the same challenges of a graying audience that car-related organizations do. Perhaps there are things we can learn from one another.

Bradley and I will enjoy the rest of our spring break visiting Universal Studios, Legoland, and with the help of La Jolla Concours Chairman G. Michael Dorvillier, whatever else the area has in store for us.

I’ll be a traveling man the next month. I’m going to Auctions America Fort Lauderdale next week to shoot episodes of “What’s My Car Worth?” for the new season, which begins in May. After that, I’m back to La Jolla to emcee the concours there on April 10. The following week I’m emcee of the Kiawah Concours in South Carolina on April 17. Then I fly to Seabrook, TX to emcee Keels & Wheels on April 24. The weekend after that? I think I’ll take one of my Alfas out for a drive.

I look forward to meeting and chatting with you at these events. It’s definitely spring, and it’s definitely the time when we start to take our four-wheeled-friends — who have been so patient all winter — out for some fresh air.

 

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

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