When I was a kid, one of my favorite TV shows was Knight Rider; the original Knight Rider, not that weird remake from 2008. Generally speaking, most people born after 1990 aren’t all that familiar with the original show.
If you don’t know anything about the original Knight Rider, just imagine if Tony Stark had a curly afro and put J.A.R.V.I.S. in a Pontiac Firebird called “K.I.T.T.” instead of the Iron Man suit then imagine if that show was in the 80s. You can immediately see why I was in love with the show. In fact my parents bought me a K.I.T.T. big wheel when I was a kid and I used to race against another kid who had a Dukes of Hazard big wheel. It was serious business.
Anyway, the reason why I bring up Knight Rider is because for many gear heads (even some non-gear heads) we all seem to have a TV show, or a film from our lives featuring some kind of crazy vehicle that captured our imagination. Some of us have several cars that influenced us. While K.I.T.T. was the first for me it definitely wasn’t the only one. Obviously there is the legendary DeLorean from Back to the Future, or the Batmobile from ’89 Batman film.
Imagine if all of those iconic TV and movie vehicles were all gathered in one place and you have the new Hollywood Dream Machines exhibit at the Petersen Automotive museum.
The entire exhibit features 40 different vehicles ranging from classic films all the way up to modern blockbusters. In addition to KITT and the Batmobile, there are also vehicles from both Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, iRobot, and Minority Report. There are even vehicles from properties that weren’t TV or film like a life-sized Warthog from the Halo video games.
I was invited along with several other journalists to a preview of the exhibit which kicked off with a panel of veterans from the what is often referred to as the “picture car” business. Panelists included Harald Baker Harald Belker (Automotive Designer for “Total Recall,” “Batman and Robin,” “Minority Report,” “Iron Man,” “Tron”), Dennis McCarthy (Motion Picture Car Coordinator for “Black Panther”, “Captain Marvel”, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and more), George Hull (Film Designer for “Blade Runner 2049,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and more) and Josh Hancock (Picture Car Coordinator).
Additionally, the panel also included Bob Gale who is the co-creator, co-writer, and co-producer of the Back To The Future films so yeah, that was a big deal for me.
Once the panel concluded we were free to explore the exhibit before it opened to the public and I was like a kid in a candy store. The best thing about the exhibit is that its cross-over appeal. You definitely do not have to be a gear head to appreciate the vehicles on hand.
I wouldn’t be able to go into detail on all of the cars featured but in addition to K.I.T.T. and the DeLorean, another car that really hit home with me was the Ford flathead roadster featured in the original Iron Man film. Fun fact: that roadster is actually owned by Iron Man director Jon Favreau. I loved it 3000. If you don’t get that reference then go watch Avengers Endgame already!
There are plenty of pictures of the exhibit below for you to check out but believe me when I tell you pictures do not do it justice. Do what you can to get down to the Petersen and checkout the Hollywood Dream Machines exhibit for yourself.
Hollywood Dream Machines debut gallery: