- The world-renowned Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, has announced it will close its doors for good on February 10.
- The museum opened in 2010 and housed the greatest collection of French cars of the 1930s ever assembled, rivaled only by the Schlumpf Collection in Molsheim, France. Peter Mullin passed away last year at age 82.
- While four cars will go to the Petersen Automotive Museum, there is no word yet on what will happen to the rest of the automobiles and to all of the art.
It was great while it lasted.
The Mullin Automotive Museum, a bastion of great French cars of the 1930s, as well as art, furniture, and even fashion of the Art Deco movement, will close its doors for good on February 10.
The museum is located in Oxnard, California. It was founded by Peter Mullin and his wife, Merle, as a place to gather their unsurpassed collection of Bugattis, Delages, Delahayes, Voisins, and other sculptured French cars, as well as furniture and objets d’art from a time that many consider the epitome of car design and artistic expression.
“Peter and Merle Mullin founded the Oxnard-based museum in 2010 to educate guests about 20th-century French automotive styling and design by showcasing the finest vehicles, sculptures, and artifacts from the most esteemed French master coachbuilders,” read a statement from the museum released today.
Peter Mullin passed away on September 20, 2023, after a long illness. Merle continued to show cars from the collection at gatherings such as Pebble Beach, Villa d’Este, and Amelia Island, often winning Best of Show honors. The Mullins won Best of Show at Pebble Beach in 2011 for their uniquely inspiring 1934 Voisin C-25 Aérodyne and took top honors at Amelia as well as awards at Chantilly and Villa d’Este, among many other shows.
Mullin rose from humble beginnings in Southern California to found a financial empire that allowed him to pursue his artistic enthusiasms, particularly with French cars. Mullin started out in college at UC Santa Barbara as an art major but came to a realization early on that made him change his major to economics.
“A friend and I were working for an artist, a man of considerable talent, but there came a point where he couldn’t afford to pay us,” Mullin once told Autoweek. “I realized that something was wrong—here was this guy who had all this artistic talent, but who couldn’t make a living at it. So I went into business instead.”
He founded Mullin Consulting in Los Angeles when he was just 28 and co-founded M Financial Group 10 years later. His businesses were successful enough to allow him to pursue his first passion, French cars of the 1930s.
The Mullins supported many charities throughout the years, among them the Music Center of Los Angeles, St. John’s Hospital and Health Center in Santa Monica, Occidental College in Eagle Rock, and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Most recently, the Mullins made a $15 million donation to fund the Art Center’s South Campus.
The Mullin Museum has nearly 47,000 square feet of exhibit space, with a main floor filled with cars surrounded by galleries above that showcase the furniture and other Art Deco items. The museum includes a rooftop garden, theater, gift shop, and archival storage.
Four of the Mullin Museum’s most iconic vehicles have been donated to the Petersen Automotive Museum, of which Peter Mullin had served as chairman: the 1937 Talbot-Lago T150 CS “Teardrop,” the 1938 Hispano-Suiza H6B Dubonnet Xenia, the 1939 Delahaye 165, and the 1938 Delahaye 145 will all become part of the Petersen Automotive Museum, an institution that Peter Mullin also helped transform into a world-class museum.
There is no word yet on what will happen to the rest of the collection.
“Sharing these ‘rolling sculptures’ and beautiful art with others was Peter’s truest passion, and the museum helped bring that vision to life,” said Merle Mullin. “We are deeply indebted to our staff, docents, volunteers, visitors and supporters who have dedicated their time and passion over the past 13 years. I hope past and first-time visitors will have a chance to say goodbye before we close.”
Mark Vaughn grew up in a Ford family and spent many hours holding a trouble light over a straight-six miraculously fed by a single-barrel carburetor while his father cursed Ford, all its products and everyone who ever worked there. This was his introduction to objective automotive criticism. He started writing for City News Service in Los Angeles, then moved to Europe and became editor of a car magazine called, creatively, Auto. He decided Auto should cover Formula 1, sports prototypes and touring cars—no one stopped him! From there he interviewed with Autoweek at the 1989 Frankfurt motor show and has been with us ever since.
Source: Motor - aranddriver.com