The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles opened its newest exhibit on Saturday, February 23, 2019 featuring ten race cars from the collection of Petersen Founding Chairman Bruce Meyer. Titled “Winning Numbers: The First, The Fastest, The Famous,” the exhibit contains cars from Meyer’s personal garage that broke land speed records, several that won at Le Mans, a Belly Tank racer, hot rods and even dragsters.
“Buy the best example of what you want, and pay whatever it takes. That way, you cry only once.” ~ Bruce Meyer
The California native is considered one of the world’s foremost ambassadors of automotive enthusiasm, and has spent decades carefully building a collection of truly exceptional vehicles. “I don’t consider myself a collector,” Meyer said during a Fireside Chat discussion with Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “I consider myself an enthusiast.”
The cars he has acquired were not part of some plan to collect a specific marque or part of an investment portfolio, but more of what mattered to Bruce. The cars have a significant importance to Bruce and the passion he had for them throughout his life — evident in his eclectic collection. He buys cars that are attractive to him. He bought hot rods when people thought they were just junk. To him, the significance is in the history and importance of the car, rather than the collectible quality. Bruce’s collection is really quite simple … they are race cars that he likes and admires.
“You’re never too old to have a happy childhood.” ~ Bruce Meyer
“Affectionately called ‘the car guy’s car guy,’ Bruce Meyer epitomizes true automotive passion,” said Petersen’s Karges. “The charisma with which Bruce shares his passion is what sets him apart. ‘Winning Numbers’ reflects his discerning tastes as a collector and motorsports enthusiast, and we’re proud to share his fervor for the hobby with the community.”
The exhibit showcases a selection of his finest competition vehicles. These race cars are not trailer queens or your typical museum pieces. Bruce drives all of them regularly and he gladly displays them at several car shows and exhibits. His desire to share them with others is further evidence of his passion, appreciation and understanding of their history and why it is important to make them accessible. The selection of ten cars from Meyer’s collection are on display in The Bruce Meyer Family Gallery, on the second floor of the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles.
Bruce Meyer’s race cars on display in the “Winning Numbers: The First, The Fastest, The Famous” exhibit include:
1929 Ford ‘747’ Bonneville Racer that Meyer ran 204 mph at Bonneville Salt Flats
Pierson Brothers’ 1934 Ford 3-Window Coupe was for a while known as the fastest closed car in America
1952 So-Cal Speed Shop Belly Tank Racer, which was fashioned from a P-38 Lightning fighter belly tank from World War II by hot rod racing icon Alex Xydias
The winningest Ferrari road racer of all time, the 1957 Ferrari 625/250 Testa Rossa, which claimed first prize in more than half of the 50 competitions in which it was raced
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione ‘SEFAC Hot Rod’, which placed third overall and first in class at Le Mans
First production 1962 Shelby Cobra, CSX2001
1962 Greer Black Prudhomme dragster, which was raced by drag racing legend Don Prudhomme who won 237 of the 241 races in which he piloted the car
1965 Iso A3/C Bizzarrini won its class and was ninth overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1979 Kremer Porsche 935 K3 that took first place overall at Le Mans
“Winning Numbers” will run through January 19, 2020 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. For more information, visit Petersen.org.
Bruce Meyer Race Car Collection – Photo Gallery (photos: Victor Varela)
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