Located near downtown, the Petersen museum opened in 1994 but by 2012 needed reincarnation – in form, content, and vision. Enter over a half-dozen heavy-duty philanthropists including Richard Varner (backer of the MotoAmerica racing series), along with executive director Terry Karges. Together they mapped out a full rework that turned the place into a truly contemporary automotive and motorcycle museum. Attended by 750 people, the opening gala on December 6 revealed 26 motorcycles among dozens of important cars including Ferrari, Aston Martin, Porsche, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz. "I would have to say that no other auto museum gets close to what we provide," said Karges, who is also a MotoAmerica partner. "I describe it as 21st Century storytelling. The exhibits get you so close to the automobile's emotional context, that some people quite literally tear up."