Southern California's wonderful jewel, the Mullin Automotive Museum, opened its latest exhibit this week and it is worthy of a road trip. Titled "The Art of Bugatti," the new show is an intimate look at more than a century's worth of Bugatti family creativity – automotive enthusiasts associate the name with cars, but the Italian-born, French-based Bugattis were accomplished sculptors, painters, furniture makers as well as car collectors. The work on exhibit in coastal Oxnard, about an hour northwest of Los Angeles, includes more than 40 automobiles (and an aircraft) from Ettore Bugatti, nearly two dozen pieces of sculpture from Rembrandt Bugatti and more than 40 pieces of furniture from Carlo Bugatti.
Peter Mullin, the museum's founder and chairman, owns the largest private collection of Bugattis in the world. This exhibit celebrates the achievements of the Bugatti family. "It was one of the rare artistic and artisanal families of the era. Everyone in the family just exuded huge artistic talent," said Mullin.
At an early private peek at the collection, our eyes were glazed over by the spectacular 1932 Bugatti Type 41 "Royale" Coupe de Ville, with a massive 12.7-liter straight-eight, and the 1927 Bugatti 35C race car, one of its most successful competitive models. The famed 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic is also on display, which recently sold in the range of $30-40 million. One of the most unique items is the Bugatti 100P, a full scale reproduction of a V-tail wood twin-engine aircraft designed by Ettore Bugatti and Louis de Monge, built for the 1939 Deutsch de la Meurthe Cup Race (there are plans to fly it in the near future).
Tours of the museum are by advance reservation only, with both public and private viewings available. For more information, and dates, visit the the Mullin Automotive Museum online.