Marvin Gaye’s Silver Cloud at Automotive Museum!

Check this out!

At the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park, visitors can feast their eyes on all sorts of rare and gorgeous cars. Many of the cars are historically important.

I was wandering the floor of the museum today when a friendly docent pointed out an elegant 1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Saloon. It was originally owned, he explained, by music legend Marvin Gaye!

According to the San Diego Automotive Museum’s display, this car has chauffeured important musicians and Motown luminaries like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and Berry Gordy… Woah!

This super luxurious Silver Cloud has been restored and modernized by West Coast Customs, and its original blue exterior color is now ice pearl white.

Did you ever watch those television shows Pimp My Ride and Street Customs? Then you saw the work of West Coast Customs.

Would you like to drive this amazing, truly one-of-a-kind car?

According to the museum display, you might purchase this piece of history with all of its documentation and pictures by contacting the guys at West Coast Customs!

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Drive Your Pantera Day in San Diego!

Look what I stumbled upon this morning!

I was walking through Balboa Park near the San Diego Automotive Museum when I spied a bunch of Pantera sports cars. And the proud owners were taking a group photograph.

What was going on?

Today, August 27th, is Drive Your Pantera Day!

From what I could gather, these were all members of the San Diego Panteras club.

Considering the fact that only about 7,000 Panteras were manufactured, it was awesome to see about a dozen of these cool cars collected in one spot!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Will this be your futuristic “wearable” car in 2050?

A futuristic car–a new form of wearable machine–is presently on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.

The Nissan GT-R 2050 is a full-size prototype made at Nissan Design America, San Diego. It was designed by student intern Jaebum “JB” Choi to be an autonomous, human-connected vehicle of the far future!

According to the Nissan website, The completed project runs just under 10 feet long and sits just over two feet high. The single occupant, the driver, rests horizontally in a “prone” position with limbs extended in an X-shape. The driver wears a futuristic, form-fitting suit and helmet that resembles a superbike riders’ protective helmets and leathers.

Does it come with a Bat Cave, too?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Cars and Coffee outside the Automotive Museum!

Today is the third Sunday of the month. What makes that special in Balboa Park? This morning the San Diego Automotive Museum hosted their monthly Cars and Coffee event!

Dozens of cool cars, of every sort, pulled into the museum’s front parking lot by 7:30 am. Auto enthusiasts socialized, shared stories and looked at rows and rows of polished beauties.

I walked about and was amazed by the popularity of this event!

Check it out!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Evel Knievel’s Stratocycle at Automotive Museum!

The San Diego Automotive Museum is an incredible place every auto enthusiast must visit. In addition to unique and rare cars they have lots of great motorcycles, too!

One motorcycle now on display is Evel Knievel’s “Stratocycle” from the 1977 movie Viva Knievel!

The uniquely modified motorcycle–a Harley Davidson XLCH Custom Sportster–has wings and a rocket-shaped exhaust. The Stratocycle is so cool it was adapted for a popular toy!

It had been several years since I last experienced the San Diego Automotive Museum. The current displays are more awesome than ever. Walking around, your eyes will pop out of your head!

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster.

You might notice I’ve been visiting many local museums the last couple of weeks. I’m taking advantage of the San Diego Museum Council’s “The Big Exchange” reciprocal free admission program. It lasts through May 18, 2022. Learn more here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

New public art coming to Balboa Park previewed!

Monumental public art is now being created for the Palisades area of Balboa Park!

Once completed, a pair of life-size grizzly bear sculptures will be placed on the roof of the 1935 California State Building, home of the San Diego Automotive Museum. In addition, a large 12′ x 20′ cold cast bronze panel is destined to greet visitors approaching the front entrance of the 1935 Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries, which today serves as the Municipal Gymnasium.

The two buildings were constructed for the 1935-1936 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.

In 2021, almost a century later, both building exteriors, with the help of local architect Robert Thiele, are undergoing a historic restoration.

Today I was privileged to have an amazing preview!

Take a look at these photographs of a model grizzly bear standing in an indoor work area at Bellagio Precast. The bear, symbol of California, was created by San Diego sculptor Michael Matson and his son Kevin.

As you can see, the huge golden grizzly is ready to be completely cast.

A rendering shows how completed bear sculptures will be positioned atop the two front corners of the San Diego Automotive Museum, overlooking Pan American Plaza, with its proposed Singing Color Fountains.

The large bronze panel to be placed above the front entrance of the Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building will soon be created out in the yard of Bellagio Precast. Some blocks of ornamentation meant to surround the panel are already finished.

The panel’s design is based on the original 1935 bas-relief designed by Arturo Eneim that was carved out of layers of fragile wallboard.

Imagery in the panel includes an electrical power plant and the gears of industrial machinery. During the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, crowds marveled at the latest technological inventions. Inside the Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries was the House of Magic, which showcased a “talking kitchen” and television!

The following images show how the building and its panel will appear when all is completed.

A wood framework for working on the very large cold cast bronze panel is ready outside.

I took a photograph of finished blocks of ornamentation that will be installed beneath the panel, along the edge of the building’s marquee.

It will be interesting to follow the progress of these projects, which are made possible by the Balboa Park Committee of 100. It will be really exciting to see the final result!

Is it possible for beautiful Balboa Park to become even more amazing?

Yes!

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Mayan ornamentation added to Automotive Museum!

Uniquely beautiful Mayan ornamentation has been added to the front of the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park!

This sculptural artwork, completed recently, has made the Automotive Museum’s historic 1935 California State Building even more amazing!

A little over a month ago, four permanent tile murals were installed above the Automotive Museum’s front entrance. In my opinion the new Mayan designs frame and complement the murals handsomely. (To learn more about the colorful tile murals, and to compare how the California State Building looked before the addition of Mayan ornamentation, you can click here.)

One thing I noticed is that the Mayan decoration now aesthetically links the California State Building to the old Federal Building, which is also located in Balboa Park’s Palisades, but on the opposite side of Pan American Plaza.

The Federal Building, future home of the Comic-Con Museum, has its own entrance uniquely graced with pre-Columbian style ornamentation. The 1935 California Pacific International Exposition architect Richard Requa, according to this web page, “had conceived an architectural plan for the Palisades showing how the forms of indigenous architecture in the American southwest and in Mexico could be used to produce a distinctive American style of architecture…”

For comparison, here’s an old photo of the Federal Building’s entrance after the closure of its last occupant, the San Diego Hall of Champions…

When the Comic-Con Center for Popular Culture moves into the Federal Building in 2018, will visitors wear costumes?

And here is the amazing new entrance to the San Diego Automotive Museum…

I also learned today that the Palisades’ nearby Municipal Gymnasium, which back in 1935 was the California Pacific International Exposition’s Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries, is also to be renovated and made equally amazing!

Stay tuned!

Here are two more pics I took this afternoon of the Automotive Museum..

UPDATE!

Here’s an architectural visualization I received of the California State Building with two flagpoles, and grizzly bears on the roof corners. In front of the building, at the center of a fully enlarged Pan American Plaza, you can see the proposed recreation of the 1935 Firestone Singing Fountains.

This is how the Automotive Museum might appear should plans finally come to fruition (without the palm trees and hanging vines)!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

New tile murals at Automotive Museum debut!

Today was an historic day! Four long-anticipated murals have debuted above the entrance of the San Diego Automotive Museum!

Yesterday’s scaffolding has been removed, revealing beautiful tile artwork that will be enjoyed by visitors to Balboa Park for many decades–perhaps even centuries–into the future!

I first blogged about the project back in late 2017. You can read what I wrote here.

As I explained, these permanent tile murals “…are based on murals that decorated the (California State Building) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition….Much of the California State Building’s original ornamentation no longer exists, including the four original murals. They were created for the exposition by Hollywood set designer Juan Larrinaga. Painted on fiberboard to appear like tilework, they depicted California’s commerce, scenic beauty, agriculture and industry.”

The exquisite tiles were created by RTK Studios in Ojai, California.

Those who enjoy at visit to the San Diego Automotive Museum, or the newly opened Pan American Plaza in front of the museum, will now be able feast their eyes on these four truly remarkable works of public art!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Installing beautiful new murals in Balboa Park!

Four beautiful new murals above the entrance of the San Diego Automotive Museum are presently being installed!

As I walked through Balboa Park’s new Pan American Plaza this afternoon, I noticed workers were carefully cementing finished ceramic tiles to the Automotive Museum’s historic 1935 California State Building.

If you’re curious about these colorful tile murals, and wonder how they’ll appear when finished, click here. You’ll see photos of identical, but temporary printed murals that appeared above the museum entrance several years ago.

You’ll also learn how these new ceramic murals are based on past artwork created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park!

UPDATE!

A couple weeks later I peered through the scaffolding and saw this…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Permanent murals coming to Automotive Museum!

Today, during my walk through Balboa Park’s new Pan American Plaza, I saw that four long-anticipated permanent murals are now being installed above the entrance of the San Diego Automotive Museum!

Over three years ago I posted photographs of temporary murals above the museum entrance. But now the real deal is coming! Once finished, beautiful ceramic tile artwork will replicate murals created in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition.

If you’d like to learn more about this historic project, and see photographs of each individual mural, check out my old blog post here.

Here’s a bit of the sign on the construction fence that provides more information…

And here’s an image of those four temporary murals, which anticipate what the permanent ceramic tile murals will look like!

(The building’s color appears different in this older photo. That’s because it recently received a brand new paint job.)

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!