The Miracle Mile's Petersen Automotive Museum is presently getting a big, sleek overhaul, both inside and out, but their 1994 replica of an old Washington Boulevard spot called the Bulldog Cafe is not along for the ride. Even though the big pipe-smoking pooch—built especially for a heyday-of-the-open-road-type display at the Petersen—is a super-cool example of programmatic architecture (buildings that look like things), it didn't jive with plans for the new museum, which focus more on "foreign sports cars and digital displays," says Los Angeles magazine. All signs were pointing to yet another bulldog demolition (the original was destroyed sometime after 1966).
Instead of being demolished, though, the Bulldog was rescued by Bobby Green of the theme-loving 1933 Group (they run Bigfoot East and West, Oldfield's, and the Thirsty Crow), who was already restoring another programmatic piece in North Hollywood, an old barrel building called the Idle Hour Cafe. Built in 1941, the Idle Hour is one of LA's last standing examples of buildings that look like things. The two pieces seemed like natural neighbors, but before the Bulldog could be really, truly saved, someone had to figure out how to get it out from inside the Petersen.
According to classic car news site Hemmings Daily the extraction was the biggest hurdle to saving the giant stucco dog. It was considered too big and too fragile to be moved, so cutting it up into pieces also seemed impossible. But with destruction the only other option, Green's team decided to chance it and start cutting. It took three days and a forklift, but in the end, the dog was dissected into eight sections and loaded onto a flatbed truck bound for North Hollywood. It survived the trip.
Spent the morning giving this dog a frontal lobotomy. Don't worry — it's for his own good! pic.twitter.com/qA4D3CNTCi— Forest Casey (@forestcasey) November 28, 2014
Though the Bulldog Cafe is too small to be opened as an actual restaurant, it's a great size for private parties. So it's been placed on the patio, and it's expected that both the Idle Hour and the Bulldog will open in 2015. (Los Angeles says February.)
· The Bulldog Cafe From the Petersen Museum Will be Saved as Part of a Super Cool Roadside Bar [LA Magazine]
· Petersen Museum's Bulldog Cafe saved from demolition [Hemmings Daily]
· NoHo's 72-Year-Old Barrel Cafe Finally Being Restored [Curbed LA]
· LA's Last Standing Barrel Building May Be Protected [Curbed LA]