Months after temporarily closing its doors, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles resumed business on Friday, June 19—and it teamed up with the Tesla Cybertruck to welcome visitors back to the premises. By showcasing the Cybertruck in its first public appearance following a private unveiling at the Tesla Design Center, the Petersen Museum confirmed the wild concept’s prestige in the car-museum realm. There is good reason for that prestige, too, as no other car right now delivers the same shock—no pun intended—factor of the all-electric Tesla Cybertruck.
On display for one week from June 20 through the 26, I dropped by the Petersen on Father’s Day, intending to change my not-so optimistic outlook on the highly criticized angular pickup. Before analyzing the stainless-steel and armored glass truck, I entertained the idea of asking other attendees what they thought of it, but ultimately opted not to out of respect for safe social distancing. Instead, I texted a photo of the Cybertruck to a couple of my friends; the women seemed to dig it, while one of my male friends immediately responded negatively: “No broken windows,” he joked. “I think it is an ugly truck, [but] shock value it has.”
Indeed, a description of the Tesla Cybertruck on a museum plaque read:
“Designed to resemble the futuristic vehicles in the science-fiction film Blade Runner (1982) and James Bond’s aquatic Lotus Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), the Cybertruck is Tesla’s first pickup truck model. The Cybertruck combines utility with performance, featuring an all-wheel-drive electric powertrain and a durable exterior made of stainless steel and Tesla armor glass. The truck’s bed, or ‘vault,’ is engineered with 100 cubic feet of lockable storage space and has an innovative automatic tonneau cover.”
Observing other museum visitors’ reactions to seeing the Tesla Cybertruck up close, the consensus was excitement and bewilderment, followed by fixation. Kids loved it, and adults would not stop taking selfies with the Cybertruck in the background.
I waited for the crowd to disperse, and then I made the rounds from every perspective possible. I crouched, paused, zoomed-in by moving closer, and circled the unapologetically futuristic electric machine. And as if a moment of divine intervention took its course, I decided on the sport that the Tesla Cybertruck is at its core a renegade—and certainly I wouldn’t pass up the first opportunity to get behind its wheel. For now, though, getting up close to it and taking photographs will have to suffice. Sigh.