The World’s Greatest Sports Coupes at the Petersen Museum
Posted By Ryan McBride On April 10, 2014 @ 3:10 pm In Automobiles,Events,Los Angeles,Museums | 1 Comment
On Wednesday, April 10, the Petersen Automotive Museum debuted its latest exhibition, “The World’s Greatest Sports Coupes,” sponsored by Jaguar and the new F-Type coupe. The show brings together an all-star cast of fixed-roof cars, chosen by some of the most famous auto enthusiasts in the world. Celebrity guest curators including directors, rock-stars, actors and auto-industry notables, were asked to pick their favorite coupes of all time.
Visitors to the exhibit first encounter the new F-Type, a heartbreaker in its own right, then wander past the Alternative Fuels permanent exhibit and on into the Grand Salon to see a collection of sports coupes as heterogeneous as the celebrities who chose them. The cars selected ranged from the full race 1968 Ford GT40 Mk III, chosen by John Lasseter of Pixar, to the 1964 Porsche 356C that Patrick Dempsey selected. Metallica front man James Hetfield’s customized, one-off Jaguar may have been the strangest coupe there, and was the only one largely designed by its owner. Named the “Black Pearl” (No relation to Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Ship), the car began life as a 1948 Jaguar Mk IV. Hetfield, working with designer Rick Dore, completely redid it, turning the “Black Pearl,” into a unique art-deco sculpture straight out of a Tamara de Lempicka painting. Another interesting selection was the 1974 Iso Grifo which Brian Johnson chose. Styled by Bertone and powered by a massive Ford Cleveland 351 V8, it’s suitably bonkers for a guy known to use a 1928 race car as his daily driver.
Director Francis Ford Coppola chose the 1954 Plymouth Explorer Concept. Designed by Virgil Exner and built by Ghia, the Explorer (not to be confused with Ford’s SUV) conjures up the ideals of American restlessness and the golden age of science fiction. The hosts of Top Gear USA, Tanner Foust, Adam Ferrara, and Rutlege Wood, chose another American car, the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray. Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason chose the incomparable 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, Adam Carolla selected the 1963 Ferarri Berlineta Lusso, and Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal picked a 1967 Jaguar E-Type, the ancestor of today’s F-Type coupe.
Motor Trend’s editor-at-large Angus MacKenzie decided on the only Japanese car in the exhibition, and the only car in the show which would require a California smog-check, the 1991 Acura NSX coupe. I would add that if I were forced to daily-drive any of these works of art, I would definitely pick the Acura. Founding Chairman of the Petersen, Bruce Meyer, chose the gorgeous 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing, and Ian Callum, Jaguar’s design chief, selected the 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato—widely considered one of the most beautiful cars of all time. The walls of the exhibit showcased photography by Scott Williamson highlighting other significant sport coupes.
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