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“Disappointing”

San Diego Automotive Museum
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$89.86*
and up
Go San Diego Card
Ranked #109 of 461 things to do in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Magnificent display of vintage automobiles and motorcycles including a 1927 Bentley, 1931 Rolls Royce Phaeton and Steve McQueen's 1953 Allard.
Reviewed August 12, 2013

For America's favourite form of transport, this museum was surprisingly uninspiring. To start with it's very small and a lot of the limited space is given over to toy cars. There are some nice early examples of US cars though and a "royal" Daimler from the UK, but you can probably see the whole thing in half an hour. Disappointing and I wouldn't recommend it.

Thank Susan8552
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"on display"
in 22 reviews
"old cars"
in 13 reviews
"mattar"
in 8 reviews
"nice collection"
in 7 reviews
"balboa park"
in 34 reviews
"cool cars"
in 5 reviews
"motorcycle collection"
in 4 reviews
"restored cars"
in 4 reviews
"station wagon"
in 3 reviews
"unusual cars"
in 3 reviews
"antique autos"
in 3 reviews
"custom cars"
in 2 reviews
"loves cars"
in 2 reviews
"older model"
in 2 reviews
"film clips"
in 2 reviews
"wonderful display"
in 2 reviews
"information provided"
in 2 reviews
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151 - 155 of 221 reviews

Reviewed August 11, 2013

Saved from one star by the 47 'everything' Cadillac which will be very interesting to most people who've never encountered it (the spastic Japanese TV interview alone is worth something), and by the fact that you can get up close to most of the vehicles. Bu there are not many of them, and tons of space is given over to irrelevancies poorly presented (someone had an idea to custom paint bumper cars? who cares?) The anciallry displays aren't terribly interesting or well presented. There is a research library which looks pretty decent - I spent a little time there - but will not interest the casual visitor. All in all, this was not a highlight.

Thank scott r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2013

The San Diego Automotive Museum is small, and not in any way definitive. If you are looking for a history of the automobile, or examples of a particular year or marque, you will be disappointed. What it DOES have is a quite nice collection of classic cars and motorcycles, some rebuilt, plus some one-off automobiles.

They also have one of the best automotive research libraries on the West Coast. It can't compare with some of the archives that can be found in Michigan, but it's still pretty good.

For me, the best part was seeing Steve McQueen's motorcycles, along with some film clips of the "King of Cool."

Insider's Tip: Check the website for discounts. If you are a San Diego County resident, admission is free on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

Thank friskycelery
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2013

This is a small automotive museum, but there are quite a few classic cars inside. They also have quite a collection of classic motorcycles. The volunteers really make the museum fun and love talking about classic cars and the history of San Diego.

Thank JennLou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 21, 2013

The San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park is an automotive museum with both cars and motorcycles in their collection. The museum is located in the former California State Building, built for the 1935-36 California Pacific International Exposition. In a stop at the nearby San Diego Air & Space Museum, I made a detour to this smaller museum, but found it was worth a visit.

Some of the significant cars in the collection are: Louie Mattar's converted 1947 Cadillac that was driven non-stop from Alaska to Mexico City and across the United States, 1911 Ford Model T "Speedster", 1912 Pathfinder and a 1913 Cadillac Model 30. Other more modern examples include a Morgan, Jaguar XK120 and Lamborghini Countach. Exhibits are rotated every three months to bring in cars of different types or eras, including the visit of a Tucker Torpedo, one of only 50 ever built. The most recent exhibit focused on custom cars.

The motorcycles included a history of the Indian motorcycle with many examples of its development as well as a display on the racing motorcycle used by movie icon and speed demon, Steve McQueen.

1  Thank Bill Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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