San Diego’s premier transportation museum. Cruise into the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park for an experience that will take you on an amazing journey of design, styling, and horsepower! Rotating exhibitions plus a regular collection that includes Louie Mattar’s Fabulous $75,000, as well as a large collection of motorcycles and memorabilia. Educational events, internships, summer camps, and private events are also highlights of this museum.
While there are cool cars and motorcycles to look at, what’s even more interesting is why they are there. It’s also fun to see the evolution of styling and horsepower over the years, but look out for these favorites.
- The museum’s robust collection of motorcycles is a pleasant surprise to most guests. Forty motorcycles sit on display, dating all the way back to the early 1900s.
- Calling all Back to the Future fans—the museum has a DeLorean DMC-12 on their show floor. Guests can even hop in the car for a picture.
- A collection of classic cars is the focal point of the San Diego Automotive Museum. Each one is complete with a short description and original price.
- Louie Mattar’s Cadillac alone is enough reason to visit the museum. We won’t spoil the story behind the car. Just know it’s worth seeing in person.
- Remaining true to southern California’s culture, the SDAM boasts a collection of vintage lowriders that are fun to peruse and learn the history behind.
San Diego Automotive Museum tells the story of the social and technological past, present, and future of the automobile through its collections, exhibitions, and educational programs.
Current & Upcoming Exhibitions
The San Diego Automotive Museum is a 17,000 square foot exhibit space that showcases both cars and motorcycles in distinct and sometimes thematic collections. With a mix of rotating exhibits and our permanent collection, SDAM features over 75 vehicles and motorcycles. We invite you to explore our collection and appreciate the beauty, design, style, construction, history and future – and perhaps spark a memory of your own. Welcome to our Museum!
Bootleggers: A Trip Down the Whiskey Road
Through this exhibit, visitors will explore the relationship between moonshine running and the origins of NASCAR. It will include vehicles that were most commonly modified for “whiskey running” that served as the inspiration for modern muscle cars, as well as authentic bootlegging equipment. Cars featured will illustrate the conversation between whiskey cars and the drag racers running the dry lakebeds and salt flats in California and the West, in legendary exchanges of technology that allowed racers to set records in their creatively performance-enhanced vehicles. Read more…
Salute to San Diego’s Troops
We salute the 200,000 veterans and 140,000 active duty servicemembers of San Diego!
The future of solar, battery, and hybrid electric vehicles looks bright, with advances in battery technology and charging infrastructure making them more practical and accessible for consumers. Come see SDAM’s newest exhibit, Innovative Electrics.
Louie Mattar’s Fabulous Car!
A man, a car and a dream. Soon after purchasing his 1947 Cadillac, Louie Mattar began the process that resulted in the creation of this dream car. In 1952, he and two other men established a cross-country endurance record by driving the Cadillac from San Diego to New York and back without stopping. Their trip totaled 6,320 miles and required refueling from a moving gas truck three times!
All of the above and So. Much. More. Visit our website and then come in and see for yourself!
Visit San Diego Automotive Museum
2080 Pan American Plaza
San Diego , CA 92101
(619) 231-AUTO (2886)
Open Tuesday to Sunday
10am - 4:30pm
10am-3:30 on Resident Tuesday (4th Tuesday of the month)
2080 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA