Boys, Bugatti and Basketball
Day 7. I volunteered to write this blog for three reasons: #1 because I love cars, #2 my Mum doesn’t and #3 because she promised that I could get Instagram after I finished this. It’s my first time to write a blog so please pardon me if I bore you. Okay here goes…
As Daddy and I packed our bags and prepared for the drive to Los Angeles, Joaquin was roaming around the carpark, asking Mum to take a pic of every single big car. You see, Joaquin and I love cars and there are almost no big ones in Singapore, so seeing so many of them that December 16 morning, was like waking up to gigantic presents on Christmas morning, okay maybe that’s a bit exaggerated because nothing can beat the actual presents on Christmas morning, right?
Joaquin was captivated by all the big SUVs parked near our car; he was touching every one of them!
As we waved goodbye to Disneyland in Anaheim, we knew that we would all love to go back just to experience it again. Despite the slightly heavy hearts, I and Joaquin were very excited as the next part of our trip was a visit to Petersen Automotive Museum in LA.
After an hour or so of driving, we finally saw it, right there! The Hollywood sign. Perched on the hill was the bold, white word that read ‘Hollywood’. I was extremely excited to see these famous letters as I had seen them in many shows and movies before.
We finally arrived at Petersen and I and Joaquin immediately jumped out of the car and begged Mum and Dad to quickly lock the car as we couldn’t wait to start looking around the museum.
The moment we entered the building, we were immediately greeted by an amazing sight: The Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse.
It has a 16 cylinder engine with 4 turbochargers, cranking out 1001 horsepower. It rockets from 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds, has a top speed of 253 miles an hour and costs USD2.4 million. This special edition, the KPM series, has an exquisitely painted body inspired by the Stelvio Pass in Italy, which many describe as the most beautiful road in the world. Only 4 of these Picasso-worthy cars were built.
After admiring the Bugatti, we went to buy tickets for the museum. It was USD15 each for the adults (including me because I’m a big boy now 🙂 ) and USD7 for Joaquin. The prices were more than worth it as we really enjoyed the museum.
Among the other cars parked on the ground floor was this stunning Jaguar XKS…
And the first petrol-powered car ever made, the 1886 Benz. (Yup, the founder of Mercedes invented this)
The museum’s map recommended that we start exploring from the top floor of the museum and gradually make our way back down to the ground floor. We took the elevator up to the top floor and the first exhibit to view was cars in the movies. We saw all sorts of cars, from SUVs and supercars to Batmobiles and Jaguars loaded with miniguns and rockets.
This red Ferrari was used in several films in the mid-80s and early 90s.
This pair of cars was used in the legendary James Bond franchise. This Jaguar XKR was modified in order to fit weapons like the minigun at the back and the rockets in front. The rockets, however, don’t actually work.
This other Jaguar, the C-X75 prototype, was driven in the 2015 movie Spectre by the villain Mr Hinx, during an epic car chase with James Bond. In the chase, Mr Hinx pursues the British spy, who drives another prototype supercar, the Aston Martin DB10. Together, the C-X75 and the DB10 have a combined value of USD5.6 million, setting a Guinness-verified record for the most valuable vehicles ever used in a movie car chase.
But there were more than just cars on the third floor. There were bikes of all sorts and sizes, including these extremely fast superbikes.
Now this old bike has a very interesting brand name and we did not know it existed until our trip to Petersen. Apparently, many people consider Indian motorcycles to be as prestigious as the famous Harley Davidson motorcycles we see today.
Having seen the motorcycles, we descended one floor and came upon a series of interconnecting rooms. These rooms each contained cars with different significances. However, the thing all these cars had in common was that they were some of the most revered and special automobiles ever made.
Lemans racing today is highly competitive and only those teams with the best cars and the most experience have a chance to make it to the top. One of these teams is Porsche. They have been successful in racing since a long time ago, which is why this collection of old racing Porsches is so special.
The next room we came across was full of extremely rare cars, all of which were painted silver.
This was me admiring the Mclaren F1. It was by far my favourite as it was way ahead of its time in 1995 and it held a top speed record which stood for a decade before being shattered by the Bugatti Veyron.
Old vs new: the legendary Ford GT40 with its 2017 successor.
However, Petersen has more to offer than just the exterior of cars. We got to learn about the interiors and the inner-workings of cars.
This split Jaguar F-Type shows how the chassis of the car saves weight and supports the car.
We even got to get a feel of how it would be like to sit inside a Maserati.
We also saw how cars could be customised and modified. There were a whole bunch of show cars which had been cosmetically enhanced and tuned to perfection. They had colourful exteriors and shiny rims.
These two other tuned cars had looks that could probably turn more heads than a Ferrari, and could probably outpace a Lamborghini because of the modifications done to them under the hood.
This dragster isn’t road-legal and surprisingly, it isn’t used for racing. Instead, it catches attention at motor shows.
The final part of the museum tour was arguably the best. Once we arrived back on the first floor, we entered a room full of extremely rare, extremely beautiful and extremely expensive classic cars. We estimated the total value of all these cars to be more than USD15 million! There were Bugattis, Mercedes’, and many brands we didn’t even recognise.
This Bugatti Type 57c Atlantic was dubbed ‘Jean Bugatti’s Masterpiece’. Jean Bugatti is the eldest son of the founder of the legendary makers of the Veyron, Ettore Bugatti. This was said to be the best car ever designed by the French automotive engineer.
Ah these next two were among the best looking of the cars there.
Check this out, a Bugatti Type 57c which once belonged to a prince of Persia.
There were a few colourful BMWs near the exit. I wonder if Mum would dare paint hers?
Before we left the museum, Joaquin and I bought small souvenir cars. Too bad Joaquin lost his toy Shelby Cobra in the US. My toy Ford Mustang, however, is still here with me, safely kept in my collection of toy cars.
That’s it! What an amazing day for Joaquin and myself. Mum said there are more car museums in the US. I really hope we can visit them next time.
Anyway, once we had exited and said goodbye to the Bugatti Veyron, the first and last car we saw at the museum, we headed for lunch at LA’s Farmers Market.
It’s less than a mile from Petersen actually. I didn’t see anyone famous, but according to Mum, Farmers Market is a popular hangout location for many Hollywood stars. It was easy to see why as the food there was delicious.
With a good meal under our belts, we went to explore the area and found a huge Barnes and Noble bookstore where we bought several books.
After the bookstore, we headed to Magic Castle Hotel, our accommodation for the next four nights. It’s is a small hotel just two blocks away from Hollywood Boulevard. It’s behind the TCL Theatre where they hold movie premiers. It was a really convenient hotel and it even provides breakfast by the pool and free-flow of soft ice cream, which Joaquin and I never got to try because either the weather was too cold or we came back to the hotel very late.
Our place was huge, just look at the picture of the living area; and it’s got its own kitchen, I guess that’s why Mum chose it – to be able to cook for my bro, who has food allergies. Anyway, if you’re looking for a place to stay at in LA, look no further, Magic Castle is the place for you! Oh by the way, the not so good thing about the hotel was that some rooms have no lift access, like ours. We had to drag our bags two floors up.
That evening, we drove to Staples Centre where we watched an NBA match between LA Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks. The LA peak hour traffic was pretty bad that time so it was a good thing that we left the hotel early. Parking wasn’t too bad though, ours was just at the building across Staples Centre.
Our seats were pretty good; Dad said he bought the tickets online ahead of our trip.
Dad was extremely excited and happy that he was able to watch live an NBA match, and you know what, it’s possible that this was the highlight of his holiday.
By the way, my name’s Benjamin, I’m the one in the middle. Bye folks!
Our adventure the following day was at Universal Studios Hollywood. Watch out for Mum’s blog on that!