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Solar car to be donated tonight to Petersen Automotive Museum

January 11, 2010 | 12:27 pm


Petersen Automotive Museum will gain a new resident tonight – a solar-powered car with a hard and fast history.

The Mana La Solar Car will be donated by John Paul DeJoria, chief executive of Beverly Hills-based hair care products company John Paul Mitchell Systems.

DeJoria, whose Hawaiian home is powered solely by sun and wind energy, will attend the installation launch tonight along with actor Peter Fonda and other luminaries. The 19-foot-long Mana La will be displayed through May.

The vehicle, which also ran on wind power, was built in the late 1980s for the inaugural World Solar Challenge race in Australia. Using only sunlight as fuel, 23 cars from seven countries sped 2,000 miles from Darwin to Adelaide.

The Mana La, which was 6.5 feet high and wide, eventually dropped out after struggling with the terrain and low wind power. General Motors won the race in roughly 44 hours with its SunRaycer vehicle, followed by Ford’s entry.

The 10th World Solar Challenge was held in October and is next scheduled for 2011.

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: The Mana La. Photo credit: Petersen Automotive Museum