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buying: Get Up Close to Some Special F1 Cars at a Special Exhibit at the Petersen Museum

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a truck that is driving down the road: Collector Juan Gonzales shares his extensive and impressive collection of modern Formula 1 cars. © TED7 Collector Juan Gonzales shares his extensive and impressive collection of modern Formula 1 cars.
  • A new Formula 1 exhibit parks at the Petersen, with modern-era cars filling the Charles Nearburg Family Gallery.
  • Among the vehicles on display are a 1987 Lotus 99T, a 1994 Williams FW15D, a 1995 McLaren MP4-10, a 1999 Ferrari F399, and Fernando Alonso's boldly colored 2018 McLaren MCL33.
  • The exhibit runs trough June 5, 2022.

Any chance to see real Formula 1 cars is something special. Here is an opportunity to see an entire room full of them. The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles has teamed up with racer, motorsports enthusiast, and McLaren team sponsor Juan Gonzalez for a new exhibit celebrating Formula 1, "Pole Position: The Juan Gonzalez Formula 1 Collection," which runs through June 5, 2022.

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It's an impressive collection of some of the most interesting F1 cars of the modern era, with many a race winner and all with famous driver provenance. Among vehicles on display are a 1987 Lotus 99T, a 1994 Williams FW15D, a 1995 McLaren MP4-10, a 1999 Ferrari F399 and Fernando Alonso's boldly colored 2018 McLaren MCL33.

Gonzalez has been involved in motorcycle Flat Track, MotoAmerica, Arrows McLaren IndyCar, McLaren F2, and NHRA motorcycle drag racing. We got to ask him several questions about the collection.

Just four of the cars in the new exhibit. © TED7 Just four of the cars in the new exhibit.

Autoweek: How did you get interested in collecting F1 cars?

Gonzalez: I 'm very passionate about F1 cars, and the idea behind this collection currently on display at the Petersen Museum was to represent the history of F1's evolution during the last decades.

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AW: Why F1 and not some other form of motorsports?

JG: As a collector, I am very passionate about racing cars, particularly F1. Nevertheless, I also collect GT cars, prototypes, and racing bikes.

AW: How did you pick the specific F1 cars in your collection?

JG: I particularly focus on the driver's record and history, as well as the features of the car and the record of the team behind it. My F1 heroes are Ayrton Senna, Michel Schumacher, Mika Häkkinen, Fernando Alonso, Alain Prost, Lewis Hamilton, and Jenson Button.

a display in a room: IMG-6015.JPG © TED7 IMG-6015.JPG

AW: How does one go about buying an F1 car?

JG: As a racing car collector, you must search for cars in different countries, starting in Europe where all the racing teams are located, and especially in the United Kingdom. You can start looking at auction houses and in magazines, or you can work directly with racing teams or private collectors.

AW: I assume they are relatively expensive?

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JG: Every collector knows that the conditions of the car as well as its history have value, in addition to the sentimental value a collector may assign to each car and the availability of cars in the market. Understandably, a collector will try to purchase a car at an attractive price with the potential to appreciate in value in the short-, medium-, and long-term.

AW: Do you ever drive them?

JG: The cars in this collection are late F1 models, and they all have extremely narrow cockpits, so unfortunately, I don't fit in them. Some years ago, I owned a 1973 shadow F1 model DM1, formerly driven by George Follmer and Jackie Oliver, and I loved to race it. I raced it in vintage events across the United States east to west coast.

a car on display: Audio visual effects add to the ambiance. © TED7 Audio visual effects add to the ambiance.

AW: What's that like? Is it as cool as we all imagine?

JG: It is an incredible experience to have the opportunity to drive an F1 car. You drive sitting very close to the ground, and when driving on a curve, the wheels provide an impressive grip, and all this provides you with a sense of security. With regards to speed, you are so focused while you drive these cars that you forget how fast you are actually going and you just keep pushing for more and more speed, trying to make the best lap time. You feel an adrenaline rush and it is something you never forget.

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AW: How did your collection come to be in the Petersen? Did they ask you?

JG: Ever since the Petersen Museum opened its doors, I have been a constant visitor. I have admired every single car collection the museum has exhibited. My son and I are currently members of the museum, and I know some of the museum's executives and board members, both as friends and collectors. Last year, while we were under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I reached out to the museum to offer my F1 car collection for display. I have always dreamed of exhibiting some of my collection cars at the Petersen, and this dream has now come true with this exciting exhibition. I hope that many people take this opportunity to visit the Museum and that the exhibition contributes to growing the passion and interest in F1.

You can get tickets and information on the F1 exhibit at the museum’s website, Petersen.org.

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