4 Must-Visit Car Museums

Four new architectural marvels make worthy settings for some of the sexiest cars ever built.

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Porsche Pavilion at Autostadt
Wolfsburg, Germany
On the outside, the Porsche building in Volkswagen’s 69-acre “car city” looks like something the king of aerodynamic design, Eero Saarinen, might have built. On the inside, 25 silver models depict Porsche’s unlikely evolution from the 1948 teardrop-shaped 356 two-seater to the brawny Cayenne SUV of today.

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LeMay—America’s Car Museum
Tacoma, Washington
The onetime largest privately owned car collection in the world has moved into an intergalactic hangar just off Interstate 5 that remains true to founder Harold LeMay’s wide-ranging tastes: Inside, a $1 million Duesenberg Model J shares the floor with lemons like the Wayne’s World–era AMC Pacer.

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Riverside Museum
Glasgow, Scotland
Century-old cars from defunct Scottish manufacturers like Argyll and Beardmore are on display beside latter-day artifacts like a 1995 Subaru Impreza driven by native-son rally hero Colin McRae—all set behind a zigzagging façade designed by Pritzker Prize winner Zaha Hadid. Front and center is a wall of cars, where life-size vehicles perch like specimens in a collector’s case.

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Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari
Modena, Italy
The original brick workshop of Enzo Ferrari’s father assumes mythic status beside this new paean to the carmaker’s legacy. The 53,820-square-foot museum features a roof punctuated by vents worthy of a Ferrari Dino, and vintage race cars on display have included Alfa Romeos, Maseratis, and the 1947 125 S—the first car to bear the Ferrari name.• • •

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The Opening: Go Inside the Vault at a Los Angeles Car Mecca

Auto lovers, rejoice: The Petersen Automotive Museum has opened its permanent collection to the public. In the basement you’ll find more than 150 lust-worthy cars—Steve McQueen’s Jaguar XKSS roadster, an Art Deco Rolls-Royce coupe, a 1939 Bugatti that belonged to the Shah of Iran. Those with more catholic tastes can admire a 1998 Cadillac stretch convertible blessed by Pope John Paul II.

Photographs courtesy of each location.