The San Diego Automotive Museum
The Automotive Museum stands as a living tribute to the automobile and what it has meant to our culture. Since opening its doors in December of 1988 millions of local auto enthusiasts and tourists from all over the world have visited this world-class collection.
2 for 1 Adult Admission
The fabulous collection of exhibits includes Louis Mattar’s Fabulous Car, a 1947 Cadillac which he equipped with an electric stove, a refrigerator, a washing machine, a chemical toilet, an ironing board, a medicine cabinet, and, believe it or not, a kitchen sink.
The Museum offers guided tours, too—you’ll learn the intriguing history behind America’s love affair with the automobile. Come to the San Diego Automotive Museum— it’s all here! You won’t want to miss all the cool cars and bikes the museum has! Spend the day at Balboa Park and find some of the best museums San Diego has to offer.
The original idea of creating an automotive museum in Balboa Park came from Briggs Cunningham. He was 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. A year later they gave unanimous approval to the museum and granted. And a long term lease for one of the historic buildings in the jewel of San Diego – Balboa Park.
After spending approximately $1 million renovating and upgrading the building, the San Diego Automotive Museum opened in December of 1988. Since then millions of local auto enthusiasts and tourists from all over the world have visited our world-class collection. Today the museum stands as a living tribute to the automobile and what it has meant to our culture.
That ‘70s Car Show: A Decade of Change
The San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park is proud to announce their new exhibit: That ‘70s Car Show: A Decade of Change. The exhibit will run through June 13, 2020.
The 1970s was a defining decade of change. From social changes such as the Civil and Equal Rights Movements to the political upheaval seen in Watergate, the end of the Vietnam War, and the Middle East Crisis, to the advent of personal computers and video games, the whole world was in flux. Inflation was on the rise, and a world-wide recession took its economic toll. At the beginning of the 1970s, the average house cost approximately $25,000. By the end, it was almost $60,000.
The automotive industry was no exception. In 1970, the average car cost $4,000. By the end of the decade, it was $6,000. The price of gas went from 36 cents a gallon to over a dollar. The era of cheap gas was over. The need for fuel efficiency and reduced environmental impact, coupled with the World Oil Crisis, permanently changed the automobile and automobile manufacturing. Imports dominated the automotive market because U.S. manufacturers were slow to adjust to this changing reality and changing consumer needs.
It wasn’t all bad, however. The 1970s saw many technological advancements as well. Microprocessors and email were invented in 1971, the bar code in 1973, and by the middle of the decade, personal computers had a foothold in the household that they would never give up.
And again, the automotive industry was no exception. Automobiles got smaller and vastly more fuel-efficient, and U.S. manufacturers slowly caught up with their foreign counterparts. Competition breeds innovation and the technological leaps in automotive design and performance began in the ’70s can still be felt today.
Take a stroll through That ’70s Car Show and down memory lane. Remember the bad times and the good times. Remember the 1970s: A Decade of Change.