Here’s a quick thought experiment: Can someone be considered a car collector if their collection includes just one car? Certainly, if you owned only the Mona Lisa, that would be sufficient art to justify building a museum. So, it follows that if Peter Mullin decided to downsize and sell everything but his signature blue 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, one could still call him a collector.
Not convinced? Imagine this theoretical one-car collection survives the next 100 years. The tourists of 2117 will be unaccustomed to human drive and a gasoline-powered car from the 20th century, even if this “museum” is really just your “garage.” A century from now, a late-model automobile from the 1900s will appear ancient and obsolete — a lurching dinosaur — which is why my pick for a one-car collection already looks much like that: a Citroën 2CV Camionette.
Petersen Museum Responds To LA Times: "Absolutely Incorrect", "Big Misrepresentation" – Museum Will Not Refocus To Bikes and French Cars
Yesterday, we ran a News Blog post relating the LA Times report that the Petersen Museum was selling off 1/3rd of its collection to focus on motorcycles and French cars from the Art Deco period. Now, the museum has responded with vigorous denials, saying that the newspaper was wrong about what is really planned for the facility. Following our publication of that post, the Petersen’s PR rep reached out to TTAC, offering to share information that they say is more accurate. She called the LA Times story “a pretty big misrepresentation” and supplied us with prepared talking points (below) on the vehicle sales, the museum renovations and a response to the LAT article. In an interview with Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky, museum director Terry Karges said that the Times’ headline, “Petersen Automotive Museum Takes A Major Detour” was “absolutely incorrect.” Karges, who is in the motorcycle business and used to race bikes, denied that his own personal interest in motorbikes, or museum Chairman Peter Mullin’s interest in French classics will affect the collection at the Petersen.
Starting back in March, the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles started to quietly sell off parts of its ~400 car collection. When a lot of more than 100 cars was announced to go on the block at Auctions America’s Aug. 1 sale in Burbank, California, it caught the attention of collectors and curators across the world of collector cars, and the museum made a public announcement to the Los Angeles Times this week that the sales are to raise money to renovate and reconfigure the museum. Also announced was the fact that the museum, which was originally endowed by Robert Petersen, who founded an enthusiast magazine empire including Hot Rod and Motor Trend, and Peterson’s wife Margie, would be changing its focus to include more motorcycles and prewar French cars from the Art Deco period.
The museum says that many of the cars they are selling are duplicates or not suitable for public display, critics, though, aren’t happy with the changes and say that the changes reflect the personal tastes of Executive Director Terry Karges, who owns Champions Moto, a motorcycle company, and new museum board Chairman Peter Mullin, whose own museum in Oxnard, CA is one of the world’s finest collections of Bugattis and other French classics.
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