El Segundo, Calif. ‘ Howard Hughes bought a 1955 Packard Caribbean convertible, gave it to his wife, actress Jean Peters, drove it to Malibu a few times and parked it at her house in Beverly Hills. And there it stayed until the early 1970s.
“That’s where I bought it,” said Stan Zimmerman, museum designer, admiring the nearly pristine vehicle with only 1,752 miles on the odometer.
That history makes it remarkable. But what makes the car stand out is the fact that it’s one of only half-a-dozen antique vehicles that are kept behind glass at the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo, Calif.
Visitors are given the opportunity to touch the rest of the cars at the museum. They can also sit in them and, on most Sundays, ride in them. Zimmerman disdains the idea that cars should be looked at but not enjoyed for the reason they were built.
“Cars are moving art,” said Zimmerman, a 74-year-old mortgage banker. “I let people climb in the rumble seats. If something gets damaged, we can fix it.”
He believes it’s the only such museum in the country.
Most of the cars on display in the 28,000-square-foot Lairport Street facility come out of the collection Zimmerman has been amassing for decades. The rest are on loan or given by other enthusiasts. There are 70 cars on display now — from a 1915 Ford Model T to a 1989 Porsche.
The museum is located just blocks southeast of the Los Angeles Airport at 610 Lairport Street in El Segundo, Calif. The facility is open weekends 10 am till 4 pm and is open weekdays by appointment only.
For more information, visit the museum’s Web site at www.automobiledrivingmuseum.org.