Petersen debuts its latest exhibit,  “Legends of Los Angeles : Southern California Race Cars  and Their Builders,” honors racing icon Parnelli Jones

Story by Glenn Oyoung. Photos courtesy of Petersen Automotive Museum.

If I were to say the word “motorsports” to you, what city would come to mind? Indianapolis? Charlotte? Watkins Glen? Your answer will most likely depend on your favorite form or racing — whether it be stock car, sports car, or open wheel. The Petersen’s latest exhibit “Legends of Los Angeles” makes a strong case for L.A. (as defined by the greater L.A. area/SoCal).

12 locally-built race cars grace the Charles Nearburg Family Gallery on the second floor of the Petersen. They include cars designed by the likes of Fred Offenhauser, Harry Miller, Frank Kurtis and Max Balchowsky. Some of the highlights include the 1924 Miller 122, the 1929 Ford 22 Jr. Model A Roadster, the 1963 Ol’Yaller Mark IX, the 1966 AAR Eagle #31 and the 1975 Edmunds Tamale Wagon.

“Although people tend to associate different cities with car racing, Los Angeles has played one of the most consequential roles in the sport,” said Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “Our new exhibit pays tribute to this rich history and honors racing greats such as Parnelli Jones, who has been a hero to fans around the nation for decades.”

Jones accepts the winner’s trophy from race sponsor Robert E Petersen at the 1967 Motor Trend 500 at Riverside International Raceway

I was honored to attend  the opening reception which paid tribute to Parnelli Jones,  one of the most versatile racers of all time and an icon in American motorsports. He was bestowed the Robert E. Petersen lifetime achievement award by Petersen board  Vice-Chairman Bruce Meyer and the  Executive Director Terry Karges. The reception was well-attended by friends and family of Jones, and notably by folks who had competed against him and love him to this day. The admiration for Jones not only as a racer but as a man struck me as something we can all aspire for regardless of our driving talent and a testament to his humble nature.

“Legends of Los Angeles” runs through December 2019. To purchase tickets or learn more about the Petersen Automotive Museum, visit the Petersen Automotive Museum website.