San Diego Automotive Museum

San Diego Automotive Museum The San Diego Automotive Museum located in beautiful Balboa Park offers a wonderful selection of vintage and classic American and European vehicles and motorcycles.
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Operating as usual

Come check out Louie Mattar's Fabulous Car.With this Cadillac Louie Mattar established a cross-country endurance record ...
05/05/2021

Come check out Louie Mattar's Fabulous Car.

With this Cadillac Louie Mattar established a cross-country endurance record by driving from San Diego to New York and back without stopping. The trip totaled 6,320 miles and required refueling from a moving gas truck three times!

Come check out Louie Mattar's Fabulous Car.

With this Cadillac Louie Mattar established a cross-country endurance record by driving from San Diego to New York and back without stopping. The trip totaled 6,320 miles and required refueling from a moving gas truck three times!

-Quick Look-1967 "Bullitt" Mustang Fastback 450 hp 390 ci FE / 4 Speed Top LoaderOn loan from Stewart Bittle of San Dieg...
05/04/2021

-Quick Look-

1967 "Bullitt" Mustang Fastback
450 hp 390 ci FE / 4 Speed Top Loader

On loan from Stewart Bittle of San Diego, California

Is Motorcycle Monday a thing? If not, it should be.#motorcyclemondayArtist- D.Merritt
05/03/2021

Is Motorcycle Monday a thing? If not, it should be.
#motorcyclemonday

Artist- D.Merritt

Is Motorcycle Monday a thing? If not, it should be.
#motorcyclemonday

Artist- D.Merritt

Saturdays are for the shelves.Did you know SDAM is home to one of the finest collections of automotive research material...
05/01/2021

Saturdays are for the shelves.

Did you know SDAM is home to one of the finest collections of automotive research materials on the entire West Coast.

Home of:
3,393 automobile books
36,000-40,000 magazines
2,559 hardcover repair manuals
9 editions of Dykes Repair Manuals
13,000 plus Club Newsletter and Magazines
113 different automobile magazines titles back to 1901
43 current monthly automobile periodicals
Automotive Quarterly: Complete run
Road and Truck: Complete run

Saturdays are for the shelves.

Did you know SDAM is home to one of the finest collections of automotive research materials on the entire West Coast.

Home of:
3,393 automobile books
36,000-40,000 magazines
2,559 hardcover repair manuals
9 editions of Dykes Repair Manuals
13,000 plus Club Newsletter and Magazines
113 different automobile magazines titles back to 1901
43 current monthly automobile periodicals
Automotive Quarterly: Complete run
Road and Truck: Complete run

Friday already? Here's another Fast Fact.Want to drive upside down?"A modern Formula 1 car can drive upside down in a tu...
04/30/2021

Friday already? Here's another Fast Fact.

Want to drive upside down?

"A modern Formula 1 car can drive upside down in a tunnel at 120 miles per hour. F1 cars, whose average top speed is 233 miles per hour, produce around 3.5 gravitational forces when cornering. That means they have enough aerodynamic downforce to drive upside down in a tunnel."
Credit: John Harrington (Stacker)

Friday already? Here's another Fast Fact.

Want to drive upside down?

"A modern Formula 1 car can drive upside down in a tunnel at 120 miles per hour. F1 cars, whose average top speed is 233 miles per hour, produce around 3.5 gravitational forces when cornering. That means they have enough aerodynamic downforce to drive upside down in a tunnel."
Credit: John Harrington (Stacker)

2011 Shelby American Mustang GT350-R ConceptThe Shelby Mustang GT350-R Concept pictured was the last car produced with C...
04/29/2021

2011 Shelby American Mustang GT350-R Concept

The Shelby Mustang GT350-R Concept pictured was the last car produced with Carroll Shelby's direct involvement prior to his death in 2012. Its supercharged 5.0 L engine produces 624 horsepower. This car was a pace car at the 2010 Shelby American Sprint Cup NASCAR race at the Las Vegas Moto Speedway. In 2011, this GT350-R out-lapped the best from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Corvette, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

On loan from Automotive Treasures of Temecula.

“The older I get, the faster I was. There are old bikers and there are bold bikers, but there are no old, bold bikers.”―...
04/28/2021

“The older I get, the faster I was. There are old bikers and there are bold bikers, but there are no old, bold bikers.”
― Evel Knievel

“The older I get, the faster I was. There are old bikers and there are bold bikers, but there are no old, bold bikers.”
― Evel Knievel

Only two tires, but unlimited amounts of inspiration.Come see our motorcycle collection and so much more at The San Dieg...
04/27/2021

Only two tires, but unlimited amounts of inspiration.

Come see our motorcycle collection and so much more at The San Diego Automotive Museum.

Only two tires, but unlimited amounts of inspiration.

Come see our motorcycle collection and so much more at The San Diego Automotive Museum.

WIN A TOUR TO JAY LENOS'S GARAGEYour donation of $40 enters you into this opportunity drawing.For more info please visit...
04/26/2021

WIN A TOUR TO JAY LENOS'S GARAGE

Your donation of $40 enters you into this opportunity drawing.
For more info please visit: https://www.sdautomuseum.org/jaysgarage

Contest runs March 15 - May 15, 2021. Winner drawn May 15, 2021.

Good luck!

WIN A TOUR TO JAY LENOS'S GARAGE

Your donation of $40 enters you into this opportunity drawing.
For more info please visit: https://www.sdautomuseum.org/jaysgarage

Contest runs March 15 - May 15, 2021. Winner drawn May 15, 2021.

Good luck!

Wow. What a line up! Special thank you to The Ferrari Owners Club of San Diego for coming and seeing all the new and exc...
04/24/2021

Wow.
What a line up!

Special thank you to The Ferrari Owners Club of San Diego for coming and seeing all the new and exciting things happening at The San Diego Automotive Museum.

Stay tuned for more footage.

Wow.
What a line up!

Special thank you to The Ferrari Owners Club of San Diego for coming and seeing all the new and exciting things happening at The San Diego Automotive Museum.

Stay tuned for more footage.

Happy Friday, ready for today's fast fact?Have you ever had a "tune-up" performed on your vehicle?"The man who invented ...
04/23/2021

Happy Friday, ready for today's fast fact?

Have you ever had a "tune-up" performed on your vehicle?

"The man who invented mass production of autos, Henry Ford, coined the phrase “tune-up.” The first ignition systems were composed of spark plugs and ignition coils. If the coils worked together properly, they would buzz at the same level and be in tune. If they did not, it meant the vehicle wasn’t running at its optimum level and the coils needed to be adjusted, or tuned up."
Credit: John Harrington (Stacker)

Happy Friday, ready for today's fast fact?

Have you ever had a "tune-up" performed on your vehicle?

"The man who invented mass production of autos, Henry Ford, coined the phrase “tune-up.” The first ignition systems were composed of spark plugs and ignition coils. If the coils worked together properly, they would buzz at the same level and be in tune. If they did not, it meant the vehicle wasn’t running at its optimum level and the coils needed to be adjusted, or tuned up."
Credit: John Harrington (Stacker)

The San Diego Automotive Museum welcomes the Ferrari Club of San Diego this Saturday, April 24th. SDAM is excited for th...
04/23/2021

The San Diego Automotive Museum welcomes the Ferrari Club of San Diego this Saturday, April 24th.
SDAM is excited for the opportunities to support the local car community and car clubs.

The San Diego Automotive Museum welcomes the Ferrari Club of San Diego this Saturday, April 24th.
SDAM is excited for the opportunities to support the local car community and car clubs.

Happy Earth Day! Lets celebrate by showcasing the:1965 Hydrogen (Carroll) Shelby CobraYou're looking at the only hydroge...
04/22/2021

Happy Earth Day!
Lets celebrate by showcasing the:

1965 Hydrogen (Carroll) Shelby Cobra

You're looking at the only hydrogen powered Cobra in the world. Owned by Carroll Shelby, this car was built to break the Hydrogen Land Speed World Record, of which it did so successfully. The Hydrogen Cobra would be the last Shelby car that Carroll surpassed a world record with.

On loan from Fuad Faresi

Tomorrow, April 22nd 1/2 off general admission for the drivers of eco-friendly cars (electric or hybrid). #earthday
04/21/2021

Tomorrow, April 22nd
1/2 off general admission for the drivers of eco-friendly cars (electric or hybrid).
#earthday

Tomorrow, April 22nd
1/2 off general admission for the drivers of eco-friendly cars (electric or hybrid).
#earthday

What is the coolest BARN FIND you've heard of?
04/20/2021

What is the coolest BARN FIND you've heard of?

What is the coolest BARN FIND you've heard of?

1914 Ford "Model T"Engine: 4 cylinderValves: Side Valve Horsepower: 20hp @ 1600rpm  Transmission: 2 speed planetary Maxi...
04/19/2021

1914 Ford "Model T"

Engine: 4 cylinder
Valves: Side Valve
Horsepower: 20hp @ 1600rpm
Transmission: 2 speed planetary
Maximum Speed: 50 mph

Come see this and so much more at the San Diego Automotive Museum.

1914 Ford "Model T"

Engine: 4 cylinder
Valves: Side Valve
Horsepower: 20hp @ 1600rpm
Transmission: 2 speed planetary
Maximum Speed: 50 mph

Come see this and so much more at the San Diego Automotive Museum.

Time to get those tires turning with today’s FAST FACT.The World’s first speeding ticket was given on January 28, 1896.W...
04/16/2021

Time to get those tires turning with today’s FAST FACT.

The World’s first speeding ticket was given on January 28, 1896.
Walter Arnold was chased through the streets of Paddock Wood, Kent by a police officer on a bicycle.

Can you imagine how fast he was going?
A whopping 8 MPH. The ticket would cost him one shilling.

Time to get those tires turning with today’s FAST FACT.

The World’s first speeding ticket was given on January 28, 1896.
Walter Arnold was chased through the streets of Paddock Wood, Kent by a police officer on a bicycle.

Can you imagine how fast he was going?
A whopping 8 MPH. The ticket would cost him one shilling.

1959 MGA Twin CamEngine: 1.6 LiterPerformance: 100 HPCompression: 9.5:1Weight: 2,185 lbs.Transmission: 4-speed manualFas...
04/15/2021

1959 MGA Twin Cam

Engine: 1.6 Liter
Performance: 100 HP
Compression: 9.5:1
Weight: 2,185 lbs.
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Fastest Speed: 115 mph
Original Price: $1,500

1942 WLA Harley DavidsonEngine Type: 740 cc SV flat-twinPerformance: 24 HPWeight: 549 lbs.Top Speed: 65 MPHTransmission:...
04/14/2021

1942 WLA Harley Davidson

Engine Type: 740 cc SV flat-twin
Performance: 24 HP
Weight: 549 lbs.
Top Speed: 65 MPH
Transmission: 3 speed foot shift
No. Produced: 80,000+

When World War II began in Europe in 1939, the U.S. military began making preparations and requested a motorcycle that was durable and could handle rough terrain. Three main manufacturers submitted models: Harley Davidson, Indian, and Delco. The first Harley Davidson models from 1940 were notated as 40 WLAs.

The Harley Davidson WLA was produced from 1940 to 1945. W indicated the 45 cubic inch valve engine. L indicated its high compression, and the A indicted the army as the military branch. Harley Davidsons assigned to the Navy or Marines differed marginally in design. Approximately 80,000 were built. They were mainly used for messenger duty between commands, security by military police, and for convoy escorts. The WLA was awarded the Army-Navy “E” Award for excellence in wartime production. Designated “WLC”, it had a heavier frame than the WLA and had black out lights. Black out lights were headlights and taillights that allowed only a very narrow beam of light to be visible. This protected against being seen by enemy forces at night.

While production of the WLA ceased after the war, production restarted during the Korean War.

On loan from Kenny Mappes of San Diego, California

Thank you to everyone that attended Balboa Park Committee of 100's official presentation to Mayor Todd Gloria and the Ci...
04/13/2021

Thank you to everyone that attended Balboa Park Committee of 100's official presentation to Mayor Todd Gloria and the City of San Diego of monumental works of public art for Balboa Park.

Now, there's even more to see and admire at the San Diego Automotive Museum.

Images courtesy of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership.

04/13/2021
04/13/2021

Are you ready?
Going LIVE in 30 minutes.

Tune in to see the Balboa Park Committee of 100's official presentation to Mayor Todd Gloria and the City of San Diego of monumental works of public art for Balboa Park.

1964 Pontiac GTO 505 hp 467 ci / 3-Speed Turbo 400 AutomaticEngine: 467 ci V8Performance: 505 HPCompression: 9.94:1Weigh...
04/12/2021

1964 Pontiac GTO
505 hp 467 ci / 3-Speed Turbo 400 Automatic

Engine: 467 ci V8
Performance: 505 HP
Compression: 9.94:1
Weight: 3,485
Transmission: 3-Speed Turbo 400 Automatic
Original Price: $2,852

The new Pontiac Tempest for 1964 received a complete redesign significantly increasing the size and weight of its smaller predecessor. This new mid-sized Tempest was offered and badged as a LeMans, and with that, a $296 option could be selected famously known as the “GTO”. This option sidestepped General Motors’ rule that no car could have more than 10 cubic inches of displacement per 100 lbs. of vehicle weight by including Pontiac’s 389 ci engine as a key part of the package. The 3,485 lb. GTO by rule was to be limited to Pontiac’s 326 ci V8. John Z. DeLorean was able to sneak the GTO option past GM management long enough to secure over 5,000 preorders. A number so impressive that GM decided not to cancel the option, which in turn changed the automotive world forever. The Muscle Car Era was launched!

The 1964 Pontiac GTO displayed here takes the GTO option to an all-new level with a JBA Speed Shop built 455 ci powerplant stroked, balanced, and blueprinted to 468 ci. Features include aluminum heads and 2 x 4 Edelbrock carburation. Bore 4.185 stroke 4.250 producing 505 hp 576-lb ft. Torque. The transmission is a 3-Speed Turbo 400 Automatic with Gear Vendors Overdrive, Lokar Shifter, Hotchkis suspension, 9” Ford Posi, Dual Exhaust and Doug’s Headers.

On loan from Jay Bittle of San Diego, California

1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  Engine: 453 Cu. In. (7.4 L) Inline 6 Performance: 85 HP Compression: 3.92:1 Weight: 5,500...
04/10/2021

1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
Engine: 453 Cu. In. (7.4 L) Inline 6
Performance: 85 HP
Compression: 3.92:1
Weight: 5,500 Lbs.
Fastest Speed: 60 MPH
Transmission: 3-Speed Manual
Original Price: $15,880
Total Number Produced: 7,874 (1907-1926)

The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is widely considered to be one of the most important cars ever produced. It was the first automobile built by Rolls-Royce in significant volume. While upgraded and enhanced during its production life, this model had an amazingly long run of 20 years (1907-1926). A total of 7,874 Silver Ghosts were built. Today, almost 100 years after production ended, the fact that more than 1,500 remain in running condition is a testament to their quality and durability.

The Silver Ghost displayed here is a U.S.-built car and one of the first left-hand drive versions produced. The body is a Mayfair Cabriolet Permanent by Merrimac Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Works. After almost 100 years, this car is in mostly original condition with only 24,000 original miles. It spent the ‘30’s, 40’s, 50’s and ‘60’s at the Warner Brothers studio in Hollywood, where it appeared in a number of movies. It was auctioned in 1971 when Warners sold off their movie car fleet. It then traveled back East, where it remained until the current owners brought it back to California in 2015. This car has competed very successfully at concours d’elegance events in the Preservation class, an increasingly popular category for original, unrestored vehicles. It has won numerous local and national awards, including at two Rolls-Royce Owners Club national meets. This Ghost was also shown at the prestigious Pebble Beach concours in 2019. It is currently in top mechanical condition and tours regularly with the Silver Ghost Association.

On loan from Michael and Patricia Adams of Escondido, California.

1927 Ford Model T Pickup “Radical Kustom” Hot RodEngine: 331 Cu. In. "Hemi" V8Performance: 250 HP (Est.)Compression: 9.5...
04/08/2021

1927 Ford Model T Pickup “Radical Kustom” Hot Rod

Engine: 331 Cu. In. "Hemi" V8
Performance: 250 HP (Est.)
Compression: 9.5:1
Weight 1,750 lbs
Fastest Speed: 125 MPH (Est.)
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
Original Price: $75,000
Number Produced: 1

This is a show-winning, “full-kustom” hot rod created in the 2000’s with no expense spared. Note that this hot rod is a radical
reinterpretation of a 1920’s pickup, with virtually no stock parts. Instead, each component has been fabricated or machined from scratch at the highest level of craftsmanship. On a car like this, it’s all about details like the finely crafted “trunk,” the beautifully fabricated seat-back brackets, the yacht-like wooden floor, the artfully machined fluid reservoir caps, and on…and on…and on!
The roots of hot rods go back to the late 1930’s in Southern California, where people raced hopped-up cars on dry lake beds in the desert northeast of Los Angeles. The exact origin of the term “hot rod” is murky, but it likely relates to replacing an engine’s camshaft with a “hotter” version – a “hot stick” or a “hot rod.” When the U.S. entered World War II in 1941, hot rodding understandably died. It was reborn when returning GI’s, armed now with cash from Uncle Sam, dusted off their hibernating beasts and took their hobby to the next level. Today, hot rods enjoy a permanent place in the history of American “can-do” automotive ingenuity. We may see fewer on the modern highway, but hot rods are still being lovingly hand built and wait in garages for cruise nights and shows.

On loan from the Whitworth family of Rancho Santa Fe, California

April 13, 2021The Balboa Park Committee of 100's official presentation to Mayor Todd Gloria and the City of San Diego of...
04/07/2021

April 13, 2021

The Balboa Park Committee of 100's official presentation to Mayor Todd Gloria and the City of San Diego of monumental works of public art for Balboa Park.

April 13, 2021

The Balboa Park Committee of 100's official presentation to Mayor Todd Gloria and the City of San Diego of monumental works of public art for Balboa Park.

Make sure to check out the newest episode of Cruisin' featuring the San Diego Automotive Museum. Special thank you to Fi...
04/02/2021
Check it Out, it’s Back Open! The San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park

Make sure to check out the newest episode of Cruisin' featuring the San Diego Automotive Museum.
Special thank you to Filmsmith Productions and TV and Radio automotive expert Dave Stall for creating this video.

In this Cruisin' episode, we're happy to announce the reopening of the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboas Park! Joined by Executive Director Lenny Leszcz...

Address

2080 Pan American Plz
San Diego, CA
92101

Opening Hours

Tuesday 11:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 17:00
Thursday 11:00 - 17:00
Friday 11:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(619) 231-2886

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About Us

Mission Statement:

The Mission of the San Diego Automotive Museum is to tell the story of the social and technological past, present, and future of motorized vehicles throughout its collections, exhibitions, educational programs.

The original idea of creating an automotive museum in Balboa Park came from Briggs Cunningham, a renowned automobile collector and racer. The idea circulated for many years until an inspired group of local automotive enthusiasts propelled the idea forward. In 1979, the San Diego City Council first considered the issue and in 1980 they gave unanimous approval to the museum and granted a long term lease for one of the historic buildings in the jewel of San Diego - Balboa Park.

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