Jim and Sabrina's 1959 Chevrolet Apache 32 Long bed Stepside Pickup
Petersen Automotive Museum VCCA Tour - January 28, 2006

The Apache went for itís longest trip yet, a trip to the westside of Los Angeles on an outing with members of three of the local chapters of the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America to see the Steve McQueen exhibit at the Peterson Automotive Museum.

Sabrina and I started early on this winter Saturday morning with the alarm going off at 6:00 am. We were out late the night before as we had tickets to see Dan Rather speak at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. So, albeit groggy, we both got up and got ready to head out the door.

After getting dressed, I went outside and climbed into the truck. It was a very cold morning. It might even have been in the 40ís. The truck fired right up but it wanted more fuel so I had to pull the choke out more then normal. Within a few minutes the truckís engine started purring and I knew it was going to be a good day. Just after 6:45 am Sabrina climbed into the truck and we were off.

We arrived at Mimiís Cafť in Tustin at about 7:00 am to meet some of the other members of the OCVCCA . Several members attended breakfast, as it is a regular weekly event for the chapter to meet there and have breakfast together. After our oatmeal and saying goodbye to the members not going on the tour, Sabrina, Dennis and Frances McGillis, a couple that they brought along and myself all headed up towards Los Angeles.

Dennis drove his BMW as his 1965 Chevelle is having its engine replaced with a 350 small block crate motor that he won at the 2005 OCVCCA All-Chevrolet Show in October. Dennis was kind enough to set his cruise control at 55 mph allowing us to slowly drive up the 5 fwy. towards L.A at a pace the truck could safely handle. We transitioned on to the 101 fwy. for a shot time in East Los Angeles and then on to the 10 fwy. We drove west on the 10 until we exited off at Fairfax Blvd. We headed north up Fairfax about three miles to the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Fairfax Blvd. The museum is on the right side of Fairfax at Wilshire. We turned in and parked on the third level parking area.

A few members of the Southern California Chapter of the VCCA were already there. Shortly thereafter the members from the Foothill Region of the VCCA also arrived. According to its web site ďthe Petersen Automotive Museum is recognized internationally for its innovative design. It is dedicated to the interpretive study of the automobile and its influence on our culture and lives. Encompassing more than 300,000 square feet, its exhibits and lifelike dioramas feature more than 150 rare and classic cars, trucks and motorcycles".

During our visit, we saw the vehicles above, which were once part of Steve McQueenís private collection. In addition to these cars and motorcycles, we enjoyed the museumís first floor exhibit that features vehicles surrounded by settings that depict the development of both the automobile industry and Los Angeles from the turn of the twentieth century through the 1960s.

On the second floor, next to the Steve McQueen exhibit, there were a few cars left from the Presidents, Popes, and Potentates: Cars of the Heads of State exhibit that ran from June 18, 2005 through January 22, 2006. We also saw a Hot Wheels exhibit hosted by Mattel and with the racecars of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Tom "Mongoose" McEwen.

After about two hours, we all walked south on Fairfax a block to eat lunch at Tom Bergin's Tavern an Irish pub that served some very good Irish food. Many of us ordered one of the pubís specialty offerings - Uncle Tomís Favorite - a grilled Ruben sandwich on Rye bread and topped with Swiss cheese. I ordered mine with the potato salad and had a diet Coke. The lunch was a great way to top off a wonderful morning.

After lunch, we all headed back to our vehicles and started the journey home. Dennis and Frances leaded again and we agreed to head south on Fairfax back to the 10 fwy. and then head west to the 405 fwy. When we approached the 405 fwy. we took the southbound transition ramp and upon merging on to the southbound 405 fwy. we suddenly came to a dead stop. LA traffic! Even on a Sunday, itís bad. It took about 30 minutes, but after we passed the exit for LAX, the traffic cleared up and it was smooth going the rest of the way to Orange County. We parted ways at the 22/405 interchange. Dennis continued south on the 405 fwy. to Irvine and we headed east on the 22 fwy. to Orange.

The truck logged about 90 miles on this trip. It now has over 300 miles on its odometer. The day was full of great conversation and fellowship, good food and fancy cars. A perfect day for a bunch of old Chevy enthusiasts. It was also great to see the truck perform so well on this trip. I canít ever remember driving it into Los Angeles when I was a kid. I know I took it out to Riverside and up to San Bernardino and it regularly went to South El Monte when I worked there, but if I did drive it into Los Angeles I donít remember doing so. I did remember how much it I hated driving it in bumper-to-bumper traffic. That gets old quick. Needless to say, I would do it again, but next time, I think I will avoid the 405 fwy for the ride back home.

To read about our participation in the San Juan Capistrano CARe Show, click on to the "Next" button below.





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