The San Diego Automotive Museum has a wide range of attractions that includes permanent and visiting exhibits, educational opportunities, and much more.
Imagine opening a barn door and finally a perfectly preserved classic car. Many collectors dream of it, but few accomplish it.
Museum visitors get the chance at that feeling, though, by visiting the Barn Find exhibit. Although not in perfect condition, the 1928 Studebaker sat in a shed in Imperial Beach for more than four decades and has all of its parts on-site.
One of the signature cars in the collection is Louie Mattar's Fabulous Car, a 1947 Cadillac that was driven non-stop from Alaska to Mexico City and across the United States.
William S. Harley drew his first motorcycle engine plans in 1901. Today, Harley-Davidson is one of the most known names in the motorcycle community and beyond. The museum's collection takes a look at the history of Harley-Davidson and some of its most popular work of the 1900s.
1901 wasn't just the year of Harley-Davidson's origin. Indian Motorcycles was also taking off during this year. A designer and engineer named Carl Oscar Hedstrom, along with his partner George M Hendee, provides the first motorized bike. The museum exhibit takes a look at Indian Motorcycles' history, including its relaunch in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, in 2008.
From classic designs to high-end bikes, the museum's large collection of international motorcycles takes a look at bikes from around the world.
Louie Mattar's Fabulous Car
Did you know that you can drive from San Diego to New York and back without stopping? If you don't believe it, all you need to do is look up Louie Mattar.
The San Diego Automotive Museum's exhibit teaches you all about Louie Mattar's Fabulous Car. He built his dream Cadillac in 1952 and proceeded to make a 6,320-mile trip without stopping, fueling from a moving gas truck as needed. His car was even equipped with a stove, refrigerator, sink, and all the other necessities of home, all stored under the cushions!
Created in the early 1900s, Plank Road was a necessity for those who traveled through the hot desert and high sand dunes of Imperial County. The single-lane road was not without issues, though, including traffic jams and needing to pull off to let other drivers pass in the opposite direction.
Despite its dangers, people who traveled the road always considered it an adventure, and some people even took picnics with them as they traveled the road purely for amusement. The museum's display teaches you more about the road's history and importance.
Whether for his acting or his racing of motorcycles and automobiles, most people have heard the name Steve McQueen. He began racing a used Harley in the early 1950s as a way to earn extra cash until his acting career took off, and by the 1970s, he was a well-known racer and the world's highest paid actor.
The Steve McQueen exhibit takes a look at his life on the road and behind the cameras.
That 70's Car Show
The 1970s were known as the decade of change, and the automobile industry was literally along for the ride. The 70s Car Show exhibits how cars and fuel advanced (along with their prices) throughout the decade, where they became more economical, and how the United States caught up with foreign car manufacturers.