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All-British Car Show @ The Pete

British cars lined up at Brit Week at The Petersen in Los Angeles.

British Invasion at the Petersen Automotive Museum in collaboration with Brit Week

LA’s longest running car venue, The Petersen Automotive Museum, hosted an all-British car show on Sunday November 14. A clear, warm morning, and a dazzling array of Britain’s finest automobiles was more than enough to bring a sizeable crowd to the Petersen.

By Roger Lundblad

Mon, Nov 29, 2021 12:05 PM PST

Los Angeles has a seven-decades long love affair with British car brands - their sportscars, in particular. Southern California’s warm weather and miles of scenic coastal roads provided the perfect setting. Names like Jaguar, Triumph, MG, Austin-Healey, and Lotus quickly changed the complexion of LA’s car culture. Just as surfing changed the Southern California beach scene, top-down roadsters formed the catalyst for LA’s ever changing love affair with automobiles.

interior of a classic automobile

The show at the Petersen honored LA’s passion with prime examples of Britain’s automotive heritage. An ultra-rare Aston-Martin DB4GT Zagato, one of only 19 built, was the show-stopper. Designed by the young Ercole Spada, the Zagato is exquisite in every detail.

Not to be outdone, a Jaguar XK-SS, one of 16 built, was on display. Film icon Steve McQueen was at one time the owner of an XK-SS.

gray classic automobile at the Petersen in Los Angeles.

Bentley was well represented with both pre-war and post-war models. A row of Austin Minis was a crowd pleaser. The owner of a late model TVR sports car brought a fine example of this relatively little-known make. It was spotless in appearance.

If there is such a thing as royalty in the world of finely crafted British cars, the throne belongs to Rolls-Royce. No other marque has epitomized the prestige of owning a Bel-Air address than the cars built in Derby, England. Their models’ names are legendary. Silver Cloud, Shadow, and Corniche conjure images of cost-no-object exclusivity and opulence worthy of a monarch.

Jay Leno at Brit Week at The Petersen
Of course Jay Leno attended the show.

The show had one such example, well turned out in rich walnut burl trim, thick Wilton wool carpets, and leather seating, as only rolls Royce knows how. On the flip side, a finely tuned Lotus II was brough to the show. Founder Colin Chapman’s genius is clearly evident in every bracket, rivet and linkage.

classic car at Brit Week at The Petersen

The sun has set on Britain’s car industry and most of the marques present at the Petersen Museum have long since disappeared. Those that survived are owned by foreign companies but the appeal of these cars still commands respect. In their day, they offered good value, unique styling and British panache. In a word, they offered excitement. 

About The Author

Roger Lundblad's profile picture

Roger Lundblad

Roger Lundblad is a retired TV/Movie scenic designer, and a fully-accredited Porsche nut. He’s also a very accomplished photographer, who lives for those great golden light shots of exotic cars wherever in the world that he comes upon them. Splitting his time pretty equally between the Monterey Peninsula and Pasadena, he gets his share of those sightings...

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