Photos by Larry Edsall
If you have clicked your way intentionally onto this page, you likely recognize the name Bugatti because of the automotive artistry of Ettore and his son, Jean. In the early years of the 20th Century, first the father and then father and son and, after Jean’s death while testing one of the their cars, the father again created cars that were the fastest on the track and the most beautiful on the road.
Today, those cars are cherished by collectors. Foremost among them is Peter Mullin, who turned a building in an industrial park in Oxnard, Calif., into an elegant museum to preserve and showcase not only the Bugattis’ cars but others produced during the Art Deco era.
Beginning late in 2012, the Mullin Automotive Museum staged a special exhibition of the work of French aviator, architect and automobile designer Gabriel Voisin.
Recently, the museum opened its newest exhibition, The Art of Bugatti, which not only displays an amazing array of automobiles but adds the artwork of the other Bugattis, especially Ettore’s father, Carlo, who was acclaimed in Europe for his silver smithing and his artistic woodwork in furniture, cabinets and musical instruments as well as his paintings, and Ettore’s brother, Rembrandt, who was renowned for his sculptures, particularly bronze depictions of animals.
Also included in the exhibit is work by Ettore’s other children, L’ebe, the writer; Lidia, painter and sketch artist; and even Roland, born 13 years after Jean, the child for whom Ettore designed the famed “baby” Bugatti and who eventually would manage the Bugatti factory in the years following World War II.
Visitors to the exhibition also can see artifacts that include the wooden molds used to cast metal components for Bugatti cars, a recreation of the 100P airplane developed by Ettore Bugatti and Belgian engineer Louis de Monge, and the stunning metal bodywork commissioned by Mullin for the Type 64 chassis Ettore Bugatti didn’t have time to complete.
For information on visiting the museum, see the www.mullinautomotivemuseum.com website.