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10 cars to see at the Petersen Museum's Hollywood Dream Machines exhibit

Los Angeles is the center of both the entertainment industry and car culture, so where better to celebrate the fantastic vehicles of movies and television?

The Petersen Automotive Museum's temporary Hollywood Dream Machines exhibit does just that, featuring more than 50 vehicles from sci-fi and fantasy films, TV shows, and video games. Visitors can see the original Landspeeder hovercraft from Star Wars: A New Hope, the actual DeLorean time machine used in all three Back to the Future films, a full-scale model of a TRON Light Cycle, and much more. We look at 10 vehicles fans should see before the exhibit ends March 15, 2020.

DeLorean - Back to the Future

DeLorean – Back to the Future

There may not be a film car more iconic than the 1981 DMC DeLorean from Back to the Future. Already futuristic-looking with its gull-wing doors and stainless steel exterior, it was perfect for the role of a plutonium-fueled time machine. While three DeLoreans were turned into time machines for the film trilogy, the one displayed at the Petersen is the only one that appeared in all three films. 
 
Discerning fans will notice that the car appears exactly as when it's first seen in the first Back to the Future—it still has a plutonium fission reactor, as opposed to the Mr. Fusion reactor Doc Brown installs later.

Ford Explorer – Jurassic Park

Ford Explorer – Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park relies on a fleet of autonomous electric Ford Explorers to take visitors on safari tours of the island, and one of those vehicles is in the Petersen's parking lot. It isn't one of the two that appear in 1993's Jurassic Park movie—those vehicles, #4 and #5, famously encounter the park's T. rex, with #4 being destroyed. Explorer #7 is briefly hinted at in the film, though, when its name appears on a computer screen.
 
The vehicle at the Petersen is a replica built for a 2019 Walmart TV commercial featuring famous film cars. The biggest difference between it and the Explorers in the 1993 film is that it doesn't have a glass bubble roof—bad news for any T. rexes trying to get at the people inside.

Batpod – The Dark Knight

Batpod – The Dark Knight

The Petersen has three of Batman's vehicles, with the most recent being the Batpod first seen in 2008's The Dark Knight. The example on display is one of six Batpods that were built for filming.
 
Don't let the motorcycle's radically sparse layout fool you: It was built to be driven on-set by a stunt performer, so the design isn't just for show. All the hand controls work, and the tires are real Hoosier racing tires. Take a close look at the footrests and you'll find where the engine's radiator has been cleverly worked into the pod's body. 

Batmobile – Batman

Batmobile – Batman

The Batmobile from the 1989 movie Batman offers a more classic take on the Caped Crusader's car, with its polished piano-black exterior and bat-inspired flourishes. Some of the more extreme design elements are non-functioning, though still authentic—the nose cone intake for the car's turbojet engine, for example, features real turbine blades taken from a British Harrier fighter jet. Keep an eye out for smaller flourishes, too, like the bat-shaped hub caps and the cleverly designed windshield wipers.

LAPD Spinner – Blade Runner

LAPD Spinner – Blade Runner

Flying cars have become a mainstay of futuristic movies, and the Spinners featured in Blade Runner inspired many of them. So it's appropriate that the exhibit features four Spinners, along with other vehicles from the 1982 film and its 2017 sequel. Chief among them is a replica of the 2019 LAPD Police Spinner that Deckard rides to LAPD headquarters early in the first film. It faithfully reproduces many of the finishing touches on the film car, such as the Spinner nameplate and the front-mounted rear-view mirrors.
 
Visitors who want to see Spinners that were used in filming can also check out Deckard's Spinner and the 2019 Everyman Car (from Blade Runner) as well as two Spinners used in the filming of Blade Runner 2049

The Nux Car – Mad Max: Fury Road

The Nux Car – Mad Max: Fury Road

The movie Mad Max: Fury Road is a love letter to automobiles, filled with snorting hot rods and enormous war rigs. One of those souped-up machines is the chrome Nux Car that war boy Nux drives in the film's first act. Visitors can see up-close the tiny platform that protagonist Max was shackled to as the hot rod roared across the post-apocalyptic desert, as well as the grenade-tipped "thundersticks" stored in the car's rear.
 
The car on display at the Petersen is one of many built for filming; this example was only used for exterior shots, so it has a passenger seat that isn't in the film. 

K.I.T.T. – Knight Rider

K.I.T.T. – Knight Rider

The Knight Industries Two Thousand, better known as K.I.T.T., starred alongside David Hasselhoff in the TV series Knight Rider from 1982 to 1986. As a talkative artificial intelligence, it was a character in its own right, not just a ride. Other abilities included a computer-assisted pursuit mode, rocket boosting, and microwave jamming—the controls for which are visible inside the cockpit of the K.I.T.T. at the Petersen.

This car is one of four used for the show's pilot episode and is one of the few that weren't destroyed when the show ended. 

Mach 5 – Speed Racer

Mach 5 – Speed Racer

The Mach 5 replica displayed at the Petersen is an oddity. Most famous movie and TV vehicles are built first and then become famous. The Mach 5, however, became famous as Speed Racer's car in the hit 1960s animated series of the same name, without ever leaving the drawing board.
 
The show remained so popular that Speed Racer Enterprises planned to build and sell 100 road-legal Mach 5 replicas in the late 1990s, building this prototype in 1999. That plan never came to fruition and few cars were made, leaving the prototype as a rare example of a fictional car's popularity leading it to be built in the real world. 

Warthog – Halo

Warthog – Halo

The Warthog is another vehicle that gained fame before any real-world examples were built. Fans of the video game series Halo will instantly recognize the green all-terrain vehicle from countless rounds of manning the mounted machine gun and escaping with captured flags. The example on display was built to promote Halo 4 and is based on the Hummer H1. It's a functioning vehicle, capable of speeds up to 25 mph, and is street legal, though only because it's 12% smaller than the in-game model. 

Weyland Transport – Prometheus

Weyland Transport – Prometheus

This futuristic eight-wheeled transport is the exhibit's largest vehicle and was featured in the 2012 film Prometheus, part of the Alien franchise. It's built on a chassis from a Tatra T813, a Czech all-terrain military truck, and can carry up to 20 passengers. Three Weyland Transports were built for filming, but the one on display, RT01, is the only one that had a full interior for filming. Visitors can explore the interior with an interactive display in the museum lobby.

Peterson Automotive Museum

See these dream machines with AAA savings

AAA members can save $2 on adult admission to the Petersen when they buy online, so take advantage before the Hollywood Dream Machines exhibit closes March 15, 2020. Members also save on annual Petersen memberships and get 10% off Petersen retail merchandise in-store when they show their AAA membership card.

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