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Petersen Automotive Museum Reopens with Dramatic New Look

LOS ANGELES — The Petersen Automotive Museum has reopened after an extensive $90 million renovation that dramatically changed its exterior and interior.

The 22-year-old museum’s former boxy facade in a former department store was replaced with a stainless-steel undulating silver ribbon over a “hot rod” red skin, while the interior renovation added a third floor and 12,000 square feet of gallery space, doubling the museum’s capacity, allowing it to display more than 100 vehicles in 25 galleries.

An underground “vault,” which can be toured by reservation, displays an additional 125 to 150 vehicles from the 300-plus pieces in the Petersen collection.

The renovation greatly increased the museum’s technology, with interactive touch screens, LED monitors, three-dimensional displays of engines, large projection walls and 10 driving simulators where visitors can race against virtual professionals or against one another.

The ground floor focuses on automotive artistry, the second floor is concerned with industrial engineering, including design and performance, and the third floor chronicles the history of the automobile with an emphasis on the car culture of Southern California.

A Hollywood-themed exhibit highlights movie cars like a 1989 Batmobile, the Aston Martin DB10 featured in the James Bond movie “Spectre” and the 2004 Pontiac Aztek from the TV series “Breaking Bad.”

The museum is the Western gateway to the Miracle Mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard that includes the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Page Museum, La Brea Tar Pits and the future Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.