The Petersen's Breakfast Club Cruise-In Is Amazing Every Time
Maybe I'm getting jaded, but I haven't made a habit of seeking out Sunday morning car shows. Years in Cleveland, Columbus, and New York soured me on bleary-eyed hangs anchored by the same six supercars with not much to drool over. Since I've moved to Southern California, I haven't given them a proper try again. Until last weekend at the Petersen. What a fool I've been.
Before I even got into the show, I was in traffic behind a Lotus Exige. By the time I got to the top of the parking structure, I had parked next to a mint S2000 and been stuck behind a gorgeous selection of American muscle cars. I got out, walked over to the booth where we were handing out magazines and merch, and nearly bumped into the mint Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing parked alongside. It's not often that you nearly stumble into what is, by my estimation, the best car ever made.
So it went all morning, scrambling between talking to readers, grabbing photos for social media, handing out magazines, and gawking over every kind of weird, brilliant car. From the Lincoln Continental to the inexplicably imported TVR Sagaris, the Petersen's show covered every sect of this little world we inhabit. Rarely in this world will you see a baby Bugatti, a Pagani Huayra R, a Rothmans livery rally 944, and a '49 Mercury in the same place.
This business, it blinds you to a lot of the amazing cars out there. When you write about, drive, and debate the best cars day in and day out, it's easy to treat these machines as familiar. What made the day at the Petersen special, though, was re-acquainting myself with that child-like wonder I had at my first cars and coffee. Sure, a new Huracan is not going to swivel my head like it once did, but when a rat rod clatters to life it's hard to look anywhere else.
Most importantly, I got to meet a variety of people with like-minded interests. By which I mean, other people who stare slack-jawed at every S2000 and grill its owner on its history. And those who, spotting our Road & Track booth, came up to talk about the magazine. Some had subscribed for 60 years, some had never heard of us. But everyone was curious and kind.
As the lot emptied, it was weird to see this little wonder of the car world disassemble. Unlike a Radwood or a themed car show, this wasn't a big once-a-year blowout. It was a Sunday at the Petersen. This is just what they do. Worried I wouldn't get to feel that innocent wonder again, I started packing up the car to head home. Before I did, though, I decided to wander into the museum. Just like that, the feeling was back.
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