Petersen Automotive Vault – Los Angeles, California - Atlas Obscura
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Los Angeles, California

Petersen Automotive Vault

Once strictly off-limits, this lower level housing curious and priceless vehicles of the Petersen Automotive Museum is now open to the public. 

While the upper levels of the Petersen Automotive Museum are sleek with carefully curated exhibitions and street-view showcases, down below is a hidden chamber of auto wonders. 

Known as “The Vault,” the subterranean parking site was closed to the public from when the museum opened in 1994 to late 2012, when the museum started to offer regular tours to the public. (Before, only VIPs and those who snuck inside could see the off-limits Vault.) It contains vehicles that have been rotated out of the museum exhibitions, or have never been on display at all. 

The Vault looks like the world’s most eclectic and pricey parking garage, and includes 150 vehicles such as a Mercedes-Benz that belonged to Saddam Hussein, President Clinton’s golf cart, an imposing 1925 Round Door Rolls-Royce that was once doomed to a New Jersey junkyard, a working mobile barber shop designed by car customizer Joe Bailon, and a shiny 1957 Jaguar that was owned by Steven McQueen.

Know Before You Go

You must purchase both a general admission ticket (adult is $16) in addition to the $20 fee needed to go into the vault. Tickets may be purchased in advance on their website. Children under 10 are not permitted to go into the vault, and photography is also not allowed.