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December 6, 2023 Cars

Shifting Gears: “Drive With Swizz Beatz” & The Petersen Automotive Museum

Petersen Automotive Museum Vault 3

Supercharged! That’s the first word that comes to mind when thinking about the renowned Petersen Automotive Museum’s recent events surrounding the premiere of the new Onyx Collective docuseries on Hulu, “Drive with Swizz Beatz.”

A seasoned car enthusiast myself, I’ve attended countless automotive events. Always on the lookout for unique and exciting experiences that celebrate fast cars and motorsports, of course, I readily said, “Count me in,” when I was privileged to receive an invite to not one but two exclusive events hosted by the Petersen Automotive Museum in collaboration with hip-hop legend and car collector Swizz Beatz. Afterall, it’s not every day that you get an opportunity to experience the true spirit of car culture, an exclusive showcase of automotive gems, a revving ode to speed, and the thrill of encountering hip-hop icon and car enthusiast Swizz Beatz.

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The first event, an unforgettable experience for car enthusiasts, featured an exclusive screening of an episode of the docuseries – more on that later – followed by a rare access to explore The Vault, the Petersen’s most esteemed collection. On display in The Vault are 250 rare cars, including the Dodge Viper First Generation, Bugatti EB110, Ford GT and GT40, Vector W8, RUF Yellowbird, Ferrari F40, and more.

Petersen Automotive Museum Vault

Stepping into The Vault is like entering into a hallowed hall of automotive history. The sheer concentration of automotive excellence is awe-inspiring, with each car whispering tales of innovation and craftsmanship. From the meticulously crafted 1942 Lincoln Zephyr Presidential limousine that transported Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, the sleek lines of a pre-war Bugatti to the raw power of vintage muscle cars, The Vault offers a comprehensive journey through automotive history.

Days later, I found myself back at the Petersen for the All-Make Cruise-In and Toy Drive, a vibrant gathering showcasing the enduring passion for automobiles. Car enthusiasts from all walks of life were at the museum, and a diverse array of makes, models, and car clubs were on display. The event also supported the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive, benefiting Toys for Tots, and attendees were encouraged to donate a new unwrapped toy.

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The panel discussion featuring Swizz Beatz, his son Nasir Dean, and Matt Farah, Editor-at-Large at Road & Track magazine and host of the popular car podcast “The Smoking Tire,” stood out as one of the event’s highlights. The panel delved into the intricate world of car culture and offered a fascinating exchange of ideas and perspectives. Swizz Beatz and Nasir were the epitome of cool, mingling with the crowd afterward and admiring the diverse array of vehicles on display.

In his own words, renowned entrepreneur and globetrotter Swizz Beatz kicks off each episode of “Drive with Swizz Beatz” with a declaration that embodies his diverse interests: “My reputation as a renowned, multi-platinum Grammy Award-winning music producer is a result of such drive and runs parallel to my passion for cars. Now, in hopes of expanding his worldview and pushing his limits, my son Nasir and I will set out on a journey to explore different car cultures across the globe. To experience diverse communities from all backgrounds exploring car clubs to driver’s stories and their unbelievable vehicles, celebrating treasures built with the drive we have in common.” And let me tell you, he did just that and so much more.

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True to its name, the docuseries delves into the world of drive, not just the act of driving, but the unwavering, relentless pursuit of passion and discipline that fuels it. The series starts by exploring Houston’s car culture, then venturing to Japan, Atlanta, California, Saudi Arabia, and culminating in Swizz’s hometown of New York.

Opting to bypass exploring the storied low rider culture in Southern California, when Swizz and his son finally arrive in Los Angeles to talk all things cars and culture, the docuseries provides viewers with a deeper understanding of the Hot Rod culture in The Sunshine State. After all, SoCal is the birthplace of Hot Rods, so why not?

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From tracing the footsteps of NASCAR drivers who got their start in Legend Cars to highlighting how these small but mighty vehicles piloted by motorsports professionals and stunt drivers are used in Saudi Arabia, “Drive with Swizz Beatz” expertly pieces together the puzzle with all things racing. Swizz also shines a light on the captivating world of camel racing, proudly presenting his own camel team, Saudi Bronx.

After marveling over the awe-inspiring collection of vintage, classic, exotic, and custom-built cars, the adrenaline-pumping spectacle of purpose-built Trophy Trucks, the breathtaking Baja 1000 off-roading footage, or Swizz cruising the streets in a La Ferrari, you’ll be compelled to jot down the newfound knowledge each episode offers, just like me.

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Two things stood out to me after watching all six episodes. First and foremost, Swizz Beatz comes across as a student first, not an arrogant know-it-all celebrity. Secondly, “Drive with Swizz Beats” is a comprehensive immersion into the automotive world, delving into the technology behind some of the most groundbreaking cars ever built and exploring the passion that drives people to get behind the wheel.

Swizz and Nasir’s passion for cars shows in the diverse range of vehicles featured in the series, from the rugged grit of suspensions and chassis to F150s, Chevys, reimagined Porsches, and a mesmerizing Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Their connection to the automotive world is as genuine as the roar of the engines that power these machines. Even Swizz Beatz’s panic attack when he strapped in for a wild ride in a windowless truck resonated deeply with me. Having experienced something similar in a stock car when I strapped into a Head and Neck Support (HANS) device – a mandatory safety device used by major auto racing sanctioning bodies to minimize head and neck injuries in the event of a crash – I could empathize with every emotion he displayed.

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Don’t be fooled. Like the Petersen Automotive Museum, the docuseries following Swizz Beatz and his son Nasir Dean as they explore cars across the globe is more than just for petrolheads. Whether you share a love for all things automotive, both “Drive with Swizz Beatz” and the Petersen are about appreciating and experiencing the world of cars. Like those featured in the docuseries, each vehicle displayed at the museum is a testament to the discipline and passion involved in innovation, fulfilling dreams, and the human spirit.

“Drive with Swizz Beatz” is available on Hulu now. To learn more about the Petersen Automotive Museum and its exhibits, visit its website.


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