Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Fantastic Car Weekend in Los Angeles

We flew out this past Thursday to Los Angeles for a cruise that didn't start until Sunday.

This was intentional.

We've been spending the time since our arrival with famous Corvette race driver and bon vivant Dick Guldstrand. He has really shown us a great time.

We have visited three totally awesome collections of automobiles and other fantastic creations of Man: the Nethercutt Collection and Museum, Jay Leno's garage, and the Petersen Automotive Museum.

We were most fortunate in the timing of our arrival at the Nethercutt Museum. A private tour of the much more exclusive Nethercutt Collection was about to start and we were invited to join.

The main "showroom" is itself an incredible sight. It is a large open area, in three colors of marble, with gold trim and mirrors on the back wall. This is apparently a recreation of the kind of showroom the more exclusive marques used to employ to overcome the lower-intensity lighting then available.

While we were enjoying the cars in the showroom, we were listening to a fantastic special player piano playing a rendition of "Rhapsody in Blue" actually played by the composer himself, George Gershwin!

After a while, the group was invited to ascend to a level overlooking the showroom. On this level there were some beautiful works of art including an awesome collection of radiator and hood ornaments. I was really drawn myself to a fine porcelain piece depicting what appears to be a soldier fresh back from World War I, out on a drive with his girl, enjoying the local waterfowl.

Finally -- we ascended to the top level. This is where the Nethercutts would entertain on the weekends.

It included a dining area that seated 16 people, with mirrors at each end, situated so as to create a neverending "hall of chandeliers"... the reflection in the mirrors was that of a chandelier known to date from the 1600's and thought to be an actual Louis XV chandelier. As a lark, Dick and I stood in front of the mirror while I coerced the camera into producing an image of us in the "hall of chandeliers". As no flash photography was permitted, this was a bit of a challenge but fun to take on.

The room also included several mechanical orchestras, which were demostrated for our astonishment and pleasure, and a fabulous Wurlitzer Grand Theatre Organ. A nicely arranged program involving the organ and a linked piano was then presented.

Believe me when I tell you that I am really not doing this amazing collection any justice. Also believe me when I tell you that this is a "must" for the car guy's bucket list! Learn more about the fantastic collection here.

Next post -- the Petersen Automotive Museum.