If you’ve never been to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, the only word we can think of to sum it up is “impressive.” Regardless of where your automotive passion lies, there’s something at the Petersen to get you salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs at a dinner bell.

As overwhelming as the museum may be for first time visitors, its displayed exhibits only scratch the surface of the cars in its collection. Under the museum lies a vault full of the good stuff - cars or memorabilia that aren’t currently on display for one reason or another, yet represent potential milestones in automotive history.

Previously accessible by staff, donors, curators and invited guests only, the Petersen Museum will be opening its secret vault to the public, for a very limited time during the 2012 holiday season. There are over 150 vehicles and other items of interest stored there, so it’s an opportunity not to be missed.

Getting in will cost you an additional $25, and all visitors must be age 13 or older since touching the priceless and irreplaceable cars is forbidden. Since group size will be limited to no more than 10 participants per tour, you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth. Given the secretive nature of the vault, do we even need to tell you that photography isn’t allowed?

Tours will only be conducted from December 15 through January 6, and bookings can be made in advance by calling the museum at (323) 964-6331. Want a taste of what you’ll see? How about a Ferrari given to Henry Ford II by Enzo Ferrari himself, before their widely publicized falling-out?

Maybe you’d prefer a Jaguar XKSS previously owned by Steve McQueen, or a 1939 Bugatti given to the Shah of Iran as a wedding gift? Whatever your passion, there’s something in the vault guaranteed to stir it. For more information on the tours, head on over to the Petersen Museum website.