The year 1963 was a pretty good one for things on wheels – Lamborghini was born that year, as was the Porsche 911, and we'll give a shout out to the all-American Apollo GT even though it only lasted four years. This summer, Petersen Automotive Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Baja 500 and Baja 1,000 desert races with an exhibit called Braving Baja: 1,000 Miles to Glory.

Truth be told, the 50th anniversary of the peninsula race was last year – it was in 1962 that Dave Ekins and Billy Robertson, Jr. did a 950-mile timed run from Tijuana to La Paz to prove the grit of Honda's new CL72 Scrambler motorcycle. That single time trial has turned into the trophy truck, buggy, Volkswagen Beetle and motorcycle spectacle that we know today. 1962 was also the anniversary of Shelby American and the dearly departed Iso, so it still wasn't a bad year for things on wheels.

The event kicks off with a tribute dinner on May 2 featuring Elkins and Parnelli Jones – another legendary off-road racer – in attendance taking audience questions. Two days later will be a one-day off-road show in which anyone can participate who has a museum ticket and a vehicle that can handle the dirt.

The exhibit itself runs through September 2nd and will feature all manner of Baja paraphernalia including numerous bikes and buggies that have run the route, like a 1964 Myers Manx, a 1960 Bilstein VW Baja Bug driven by Doug Robinson and the 2003 Honda XR650R ridden by Mouse McCoy as seen in the Baja documentary Dust to Glory. If you're interested, there's a press release below with info on all the events.
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CELEBRATE FIFTY YEARS OF BAJA RACING WITH OFF-ROAD LEGENDS AT THE PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM

Parnelli Jones and Dave Ekins will answer audience members' questions at a tribute dinner that kicks off the Petersen's one-day Off-Road Show and summer exhibition, Braving Baja: 1,000 Miles to Glory.

Los Angeles, Calif. (April, 2013) – To prove the durability of its motorcycles, America Honda sent a CL72 Scrambler on a 950 mile trek through rocks, sand washes, dry lake beds, mountain passes and paved roads. Fifty years later, that 1960s run is remembered for initiating one of the most significant off-road races for both two and four wheeled vehicles in the world-the Baja 1000. Legendary racers Parnelli Jones and Dave Ekins will help the Petersen Automotive Museum honor Baja with a tribute dinner, one-day off road show, and summer-long exhibition: Braving Baja, 1,000 Miles to Glory.

The Petersen will host its Baja Tribute Dinner on May 2 at 6:00pm. Parnelli Jones, a renowned racer of all genres will be honored at the tribute for his off-road racing success, including multiple Baja 1000, Baja 500 and Mint 400 wins in his famously fabricated Bronco, "Big Oly." Dave Ekins and Bill Robertson Jr. will be honored for their daring, first timed run down the Baja peninsula with America Honda. Both Ekins and Jones will answer questions from the audience. Tickets for the evening of food, drinks and legends are available at www.BravingBaja.org.

The Baja Day Off-Road Show is Saturday, May 4, from 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. The off-road show is included in the daily museum admission rate for spectators, and participation is open to anyone with a vehicle that is off-road capable, including trucks, buggies, motorcycles, sand rails and more. Vendors will be on-site as well. Participant and vendor registration is located at www.BravingBaja.org.

The Braving Baja: 1,000 Miles to Glory exhibition will run from May 4 through Sept. 2, 2013 featuring artifacts of all sizes including significant motorcycles, trucks, buggies, clothing and ephemera. This never-before-seen collection of historic off-road racing vehicles will show where it all began and how it has evolved.

Vehicles on display will include:
- 1962 Honda Scrambler 250 (Bud Ekins)
- 1963 Triumph Cub
- 1964 Meyers Manx
- 1964 Triumph Desert Sled TR6-SC
- 1969 Husqvarna 500 Twin
- 1970 DKW 125
- 1970 Miller Havens VW single-seater (Drino Miller)
- 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross (Gunnar Nilsson)
- 1971 Harley-Davidson
- 1974 Husqvarna 250CR (Mary McGee)
- 1975 Honda C&J 440 (replica / Baker-Cannaday/ Bell Honda overall winner)
- 1975 Rokon Automatic
- 1960 Bilstein VW Baja Bug (Doug Robertson)
- 1995 Honda XR228R (Mulder, Johnson, Dunlevey)
- 2003 Honda XR650R (Mouse McCoy "Dust to Glory")
- 2004 Honda XR650R (Winningest Bike in Baja)
- 2012 Honda CRF450X

Go to www.BravingBaja.org to purchase tickets. Proceeds from the Tribute Dinner and the Off-Road Show benefit the Petersen Automotive Museum's educational programming. The Petersen is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational institution.

The Petersen Automotive Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard (at Fairfax) in Los Angeles, California 90036. Admission prices are $12 for general admission adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students with ID, $3 for children ages 5 to 12. Museum members, active military with ID and children under five are admitted free. Vault tours are available for an additional $25, and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Parking is free for the first 30 minutes and $2.00 each additional 30 minutes. One hour validation with purchase of $20 or more in the Museum Store or Johnny Rockets located in the museum lobby. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm. For general Museum information, call 323/930-CARS or visit the Museum's Web site at: www.petersen.org.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 3 Comments
      T.rack
      • 1 Year Ago
      Fun race...did it 3 times in the 90's ..like so many things, long point to point off road races are becoming too litigous and fading away...so lucky I had the chance...involved training, family, friends and technical efforts from local shops to OEM's = the best components of racing
      mhsden
      • 1 Year Ago
      I spent yrs getting ready for that race before I got the chance the truck I bult for the race got stolen . I will never have the money to do it again .
      gramargo
      • 1 Year Ago
      In the 70's and 80's there were many more small businesses sponsoring vehicles in these races. My husband went as co-driver (used to say he was supposed to say "turn left", "turn right", "STOP!") for Fillmore Ford for several races, and later had a VW dune buggy of his own, but had to stop driving because of a back injury. We used to go pre-running a couple of weeks before the races in our own VW equiped with rollbars and more powerful engine, along with a group of other fans. What fun that was, with everyone helping everyone else if anything went wrong along the way. It's gotten far too commercial now, I think, though there's still a lot of good time camaraderie to be had. Being at pit stops during the race was great, and the parties at La Paz after the 1000 race were fantastic.