Two exhibits on Japanese car culture to open at Petersen museum

1967 Toyota 2000GT

(May 9, 2018) LOS ANGELES — The Petersen Automotive Museum has announced plans for its upcoming exhibits set to debut on May 26. The first part of the exhibit, titled “The Roots of Monozukuri: Creative Spirit in Japanese Automaking” will illuminate key elements of Japanese design philosophy in the years preceding its climb to market dominance in the 1970s.

In contrast, “Fine Tuning: Japanese-American Customs” will examine the rise of Japanese car customization in both the home market and the United States and how the two markets influenced each other to redefine car culture.

Located in the Bruce Meyer Family Gallery presented by Rolex, “The Roots of Monozukuri” exhibit will explore 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. Each car will exemplify this theme by highlighting the creativity, innovation, craftsmanship and collaboration central to Japanese manufacturing.

Vehicles will include a 1936 Toyoda AA (replica), a 1966 Nissan Silvia, a 1967 Toyota 2000GT, a 1968 Honda N600, and a 1969 Mazda Cosmo. Many of the vehicles for the exhibit are being transported to the U.S. from Japan thanks to the generous support of Nissan. Additional shipping support is being provided by Mitsubishi.

1991 Toyota Cresta "Kaido Racer"

“Nissan is honored to be part of the Petersen’s ‘The Roots of Monozukuri’ exhibit, which celebrates 60-years of Japanese cars in the U.S.,” said Richard Plavetich, general manager, Nissan Design America. “From practical and economical to sleek and powerful, Nissan vehicle design, durability and performance has resulted in an 85-year global success story that will be well represented by the vehicles on display.”

“The impact of the Japanese automotive industry on American life is so powerful that the story has to be represented in two parts to truly capture the spirit of Japanese innovation,” said Petersen Executive Director Terry L. Karges.

“The exhibit is intended to bridge the public’s interest in the evolution of Japanese manufacturing since arriving in the U.S. with Southern California’s place as a hotbed of Japanese car customization that drove a nationwide boom in import car tuning, motorsports and more over the past two decades.”

Running concurrently with “The Roots of Monozukuri” in the Customization Gallery, “Fine Tuning” elaborates on the aesthetic and stylistic conversation between Japanese and American tuners. Focusing on Los Angeles and Japanese car customizers, this exhibit will expose guests to cars that they cannot see elsewhere, from drift and drag cars to highly modified customs and more.

Key vehicles will include a 1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GTX “Kenmeri,” a 1991 Toyota Cresta “Kaido” Racer, a 1998 Honda Civic Hatchback Drag Racer, and a 1974 Mazda RX-3.

“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