The Petersen Automotive Museum—founded by the same guy who brought you MotorTrend and HOT ROD back in the late-1940s—houses some of the world’s rarest and most exotic cars. For a budding car club like the guys on Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew, the Petersen is a perfect place to expose one’s self to nearly every style of car customization imaginable.
The Plastic Cup Boyz don’t just want inspiration on how to build their cars, they also want to see how a real car club functions, so Kevin calls his friend and famous artist, Mister Cartoon, a legend in the Los Angeles car scene. Checking out the amazing paint jobs and hydraulic suspension setups on Cartoon’s and the other members of Pegasus and Professionals Car Clubs’ rides has opened a whole new world of possibilities, especially for Will “Spank” Horton.
Spank is struggling to figure out exactly how he wants to build his 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396. There are a myriad of tough choices to navigate when dealing with a rare car like Spank’s. First, it’s a numbers-matching, real-deal SS396 and it’s dressed in that gorgeous (and original) green metallic paint. “I’m still tryna decide. I love the green, but sometimes I be thinking about a wrap color to switch it up and I can take it off whenever I want,” Spank told us.
Then there’s the power and some reliability issues with the 396 big-block. “The reason I wanna LS swap is I’m hearing the LS is more efficient on gas and more reliable on longer drives, but it’s still in the air for both,” Spank said. His SS396 Chevelle is in good hands at Lucky Costa’s shop, but some of the cosmetic upgrades Spank is asking about will eat up all of the Plastic Cup Boyz’s $20,000 build budgets—and then some. The Petersen Automotive Museum might have given Mr. Horton a bit too much inspiration.
Exploring the Petersen Automotive Museum
Founded in 1994 by Robert E. Petersen and his wife, Margie, the Petersen Automotive Museum houses more than 300 cars, motorcycles, and trucks. The building, located in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles, takes up an entire city block. Approximately 100 vehicles are on display in the museum’s 25 rotating and permanent displays. Then there’s the vault, where another 250 vehicles wait for their turn to be cycled through the main floors, which is also available for guided tours (we highly recommend taking one).
The Plastic Cup Boyz had a specific reason for visiting the Petersen. Remember, whoever puts their $20,000 to best use gets named president of Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew, and the competition is stacking up! Currently on display at the museum is the most famous lowrider in the world, a 1963 Chevy Impala dubbed “Gypsy Rose,” so named for being adorned with 100-plus hand-painted roses. Don’t forget the tufted velvet interior and all the other intricate details and pinstriping in the paint job, which took two years to complete. An entirely hand-done paint job like Gypsy Rose’s definitely exceeds the $20,000 build budget, but the trip has opened the floodgates of customization possibilities to the guys on Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew.
Who “Will” be President of Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew?
Harry Ratchford and John Clausell both have cars that are, for the most part, done. Lucky has already taken care of “Quarter Water,” Harry’s 1970 Chevelle. John’s 1968 Camaro SS427 is getting a Magnuson supercharger and some bigger brakes, then he’s done there. But none of the Plastic Cup Boyz ever said the $20,000 had to go into one car, so Kevin Hart might not be the only crew member with more than one car—soon.
Even the only member of the Plastic Cup Boyz with no muscle car, Joey Wells, is considering picking up another car to go alongside his 1956 oval-window Beetle. But this time VW-lover J’Dub is considering some American iron. “I’m looking at getting a 1968 Cutlass. Watching the guys with their muscle cars have gotten me a little envious, so I’m looking at purchasing a muscle car. Plus, one of my favorite aunt and uncle purchased a brand-new 1968 Cutlass and never got rid of it. She kept this car in pristine shape. Never missed an oil change. Imagine that. Never missing an oil change over 30 years. I think that’s amazing. I can’t remember to close the garage door when I come home. So I’m paying homage to Aunt ‘Doe Doe’ and Uncle William with the ’68 Cutlass,” Joey says.
How a Real Car Club Operates
While half the crew is taking in automotive glory at the Petersen, the other half of the Plastic Cup Boyz are meeting up with a few like-minded friends: Mister Cartoon of Pegasus Car Club and Eddie “Tweet” Edwards of Professionals Car Club, two of Los Angeles’ premier lowrider clubs, and their crews to go for a cruise.
Mister Cartoon isn’t just a famous lowrider club member, he’s a world-renowned muralist and tattoo artist. All of his cars feature some sort of paint customization, from the subtle pinstriping on his family truckster ’62 Impala Wagon, to the four-year-long and intricate job done to “Penny Lane,” Cartoon’s 1959 Impala with a paint job inspired by a brand-new penny.
Rolling with Pegasus and the Professionals is the best way for the guys on Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew to learn what it takes to operate a successful car club. Mister Cartoon thinks they have the friendly banter part down perfectly; they just need to write their bylaws, set up the clubhouse, finish building their cars, come up with a logo, choose a leader…the Plastic Cup Boyz have a long way to go before they’re a fully fledged car club.