On Display: Mickey Rooney Movie Car

"The Big Wheel" vehicle is part of the Justice Private Automotive Collection.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Big Wheel
    Mickey Rooney's race car from 1949's "The Big Wheel" is on display in Duarte as part of The Justice Private Automotive Collection.

    If you're a film fan and fender fan, both, and you call Southern California home, then you know the pleasures of your pursuits are plentiful.

    Vintage movies show on in historic movie palaces, and cars? Collections and museums feature vehicles that have gained fame on tracks and film sets alike.

    And when the two combine? It makes for a bit of magic, and certainly when fans are paying tribute to a star who has recently passed. Mickey Rooney died on April 6 at the age of 93, and aficionados of Andy Hardy and his other major roles are finding ways to commemorate the actor.

    One stop is The Justice Private Automotive Collection in Duarte. The display features a car Mr. Rooney drove in 1949's "The Big Wheel," so that's pretty nifty, but the vehicle has further LA ties beyond the film.

    It "did run as a regular" on the race circuit, says collection representative Courtney Justice. And if you know you're Hollywood racing history, then you can guess where The Charlie Allen special, which is designated as a 1939 Kraft Kurtis Midget, regularly raced: Gilmore Stadium, which was formerly adjacent to Farmers Market at Third & Fairfax.

    Tinseltown tire history and ties to Mr. Rooney, both? Definitely worth a look for the car and star fan.

    But The Justice Private Automotive Collection has plenty of shiny specimens beyond the racer. "Over 100 cars" are in the stroll-and-admire museum, including a 1932 Ford Phaeton from the Andy Hardy movies. Yep, so Mr. Rooney drove that one as well.

    Neato, and a nice way to pause and remember, too.

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