The Petersen Automotive Museum recently debuted two new exhibits on Japanese car manufacturing and culture, “The Roots of Monozukuri: Creative Spirit in Japanese Automaking” and “Fine Tuning: Japanese-American Customs.”
“The Roots of Monozukuri” explores the theme of monozukuri or “the art, science and craft of making things,” and how it has led to the long term success of the Japanese automotive industry. The exhibit, which is located in the Bruce Meyer Family Gallery presented by Rolex, highlights the elements of Japanese design philosophy before the 1970’s. There is some automotive artwork from the era to contrast the automobiles. During this automotive era, there were many Japanese automotive manufacturers other than Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Mazda. Historical notes on Suzuki, Datsun, Fuji, HIno and Suminoe are also on display
Vehicles featured in the exhibit include a 1936 Toyoda AA (replica), a 1937 Datsun Model 16 Coupe, a 1938 Nissan Model 70, a 1960 Mitsubishi 500 A10, a 1966 Nissan Silvia CSP311, and a 1967 Toyota 2000GT. Many of the vehicles for the exhibit were transported to the U.S. from Japan thanks to the generous support of Nissan with additional support provided by Mitsubishi.
Running concurrently with “The Roots of Monozukuri” is “Fine Tuning.” This exhibit is in the Customization Gallery, which is in the adjacent gallery, elaborates on the aesthetic and stylistic conversation between Japanese and American tuners. Focusing on Los Angeles and Japanese car customizers, this exhibit exposes guests to rarely-seen cars ranging from drift and drag racers to highly-modified customs. Key vehicles include a 1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-X “Kenmeri,” a 1974 Mazda RX-3, a 1991 Toyota Cresta, a 1990 Honda Civic Si, and a 1998 Honda Civic Dragster.
There are a few more vehicles on the third floor that are part of the exhibit too.
I’m not a huge car fan or gearhead, but I do like the design and the style of that era. Which makes me interested in this exhibit. The simple, space-age retro designs of these automobiles is what I appreciate. Vehicles like the Flying Feather and the Fuji Cabin are my favorites, as well as the Honda Scooters in the exhibit on the third floor.
Check out the motorcycles in the exhibit just before “The Roots of Monozukuri” and past the “Fine Tuning” exhibits. They include some incredible vehicle designs. On the third floor there is some automotive related items on display, such as, car decals, car accessories, and this really cool retro car chair.
“The Roots of Monozukuri” and “Fine Tuning” will run through April 14, 2019. For more information about the exhibit or the Petersen Automotive Museum, please visit www.Petersen.org.