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No limit to what people can do with automobiles: Robert E. Petersen’s Wonderful World of Wheels

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While the Petersen Automotive Museum has hyped this video that it pulled from its archives a few weeks ago as test footage of Ken Miles in a Shelby Cobra, it’s really so much more than that. In September 1966, CBS aired Robert E. Petersen’s “The Wonderful World of Wheels,” a nearly hour-long special that seemingly aimed to cover every motorsport and automotive enthusiast activity that Petersen’s publishing staff could find.

Sure, it included the aforementioned footage of Ken Miles driving a Cobra around Riverside, but it also bounced around from go-karts to slot cars to truck camping to old-school water-pumper dune buggies before stitching together footage from drag races, the Indianapolis 500, and Bonneville. And if all that weren’t random enough, Lloyd Bridges hosted the special and drove Bill Cushenberry’s Silhouette in a few bookend clips.

All the stuff of legends now, but the special just made it seem like what most people did in their spare time and on the weekends back then.