Those of us who did not grow up around cool cars, much less ride in them, looked to television and the movies to give us an up-close shot. Through car-focused TV shows and blockbusters on the big screen, like Starsky and Hutch and Batman 1989, we could vicariously get behind the wheel of some of the hottest and craziest rides. And now the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is giving cinema fans a chance to see the most iconic cars and oddball creations featured in film and TV.
Visitors can expect to view popular models from Hollywood’s biggest hits, including the Batmobile driven by Michael Keaton in Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) and Ecto-1 emergency vehicle from the Ghostbusters franchise.
Based on a 1967 Chevrolet Impala, the V-8-powered Batmobile used Rolls-Royce engine components for the hood-mounted intake and turbine blades from a British Harrier fighter jet. The example on display at the Petersen is one of three studio authorized versions constructed for promotional use.
Another fan favorite, the Ecto-1 (short for Ectomobile), is a mashup of an ambulance and hearse that started life as a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Futura Duplex. Famously rocking the white and red paint scheme with 50s-style fins, this peculiar-looking station wagon is among the most recognized in the world.
Switching gears to television, the red and white Ford Grand Torino, which had a starring role in Starsky and Hutch (1975-1979), also makes the collection. Driven by crime-fighting duo David Starsky and Kenneth Hutchinson to patrol the streets of Bay City, California, this 1976 example is one of three surviving Gran Torinos used throughout the series. You can find the autographs of the starring actors, other cast members, and film crew on the headrests and various parts of the car.
With things finally normalizing, a car haven seems ideal to stretch the legs. The latest collection to join the Petersen Automotive Museum will entertain movie fans and car enthusiasts alike.