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LA Car Culture

Los Angeles Attractions for Car Buffs

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It's hard to survive in Los Angeles without a car, but for some, the auto is more than just a form of transportation; it's a wonder of design, a status symbol, a mechanical feat, a canvas for customization, a means of getting the adrenaline pumping or all of the above. LA's car culture is everywhere. Here's a list attractions and resources that are all about cars and driving.

If you love other kinds of transportation too, we also have Museum Ships, Air and Space Museums and Train Museums and Attractions.

For museums on everything else, check out my Los Angeles Museums Guide by Category, or LA Museums A to Z.

1. Petersen Automotive Museum

The Petersen Automotive Museum on Museum Row on the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles
Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com
Petersen Automotive Museum on Museum Row on the Miracle Mile is LA's most popular car museum. Their collection includes a lot of famous movie and TV cars as well as experimental vehicles and cars that represent the history of the development of the automobile.

2. Automobile Driving Museum

Automobile Driving Museum
Photo courtesy of the Automobile Driving Museum
The Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo (near LAX) isn't just about the cars. It's also about the famous and not-so-famous drivers who drove the museum's vehicles. On Sundays, guests have the opportunity to go for a ride in one of the classic cars for a trip back in time.

The Automobile Driving Museum also hosts the Hot Rod/Car Craft Magazine Cruise Nights on select Friday and Saturday nights. Check their website for details.

3. Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum

Photo courtesy of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum
The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is located at the edge of the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona (home of the LA County Fair). The museum celebrates everything to do with motorsports from race cars, hot rods and custom cars to race artifacts, speed records and stories.

4. The Nethercutt Museum and Collection

Nethercutt Museum
Photo courtesy of the Nethercutt Museum
The Nethercutt Museum and Collection are two related attractions in Sylmar in the north San Fernando Valley. The Museum, which showcases 130 antique, vintage and classic cars, is open for self-guided exploration. The Collection, which includes 4 floors of antique cars, car memorabilia, antique furniture, clocks, watches and mechanical musical instruments, can only be visited on a guided tour, available by reservation only. Just outside the Nethercutt Museum is a 1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive and 1912 Pullman Private Car.

5. Marconi Automotive Museum

Marconi Automotive Museum Photo
Photo by Turville/Doyle courtesy of Marconi Automotive Museum
The Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin exhibits historic, exotic, classic and race cars. Their collection includes a large number of Italian sports cars and American muscle cars. The Marconi Automotive Museum is only open on weekdays and is closed weekends and holidays.

6. Justice Brothers Racing Museum

This private car collection next to the Justice Brothers' company headquarters in Duarte is a tribute to racing brothers Ed, Gus and Zeke Justice and everything about American racing from cars to memorabilia.

7. Toyota USA Automobile Museum

 A private museum of the Toyota company in Torrance, featuring historic Toyotas. Open by appointment only.

8. Irwindale Speedway

Irwindale Speedway Photo
Photo courtesy of Irwindale Speedway
The Irwindale Speedway Event Center in the San Gabriel Valley includes twin paved oval race tracks (1/2 & 1/3 mile) with 6000 capacity seating and a dragstrip. It is also the home of LA Racing Experience, a year-round training program for race drivers. The Speedway also hosts open air concerts.

9. Car Shows in LA

Downtown Burbank Car Classic
Photo courtesy of the Downtown Burbank Car Classic
The Los Angeles area hosts major new car shows like the LA Auto Show at the LA Convention Center and weekly car club meets where 75 hot rods and classic cars show up to a local donut shop. In between are all kinds of car shows from single brand shows to themed shows for Woodies and beach cruisers, race cars or high end luxury autos. Here's a list of some of the most popular Car Shows in LA.

10. Stock Car Racing Experience

Stock Car Racing Photo
Photo courtesy of Kijubi.com
Visitors can sign up for stock car driving opportunities at Irwindale and Fontana. Take a class, go on a ride along, or both.
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