Mullin museum celebrates Belle Epoque cars and carriages

1922 Hispano-Suiza by Labourdette | Mullin museum photos
1922 Hispano-Suiza by Labourdette | Mullin museum photos

The Mullin Automotive Museum opens its next exhibit, Cars and Carriages, a showcase of Belle Epoque-era French vehicles spanning the transition from horse-drawn to early automobiles, on April 9 at the Oxnard, California, museum.

“We are excited to offer our guests the opportunity to see these wonderful hand-built pieces of rolling sculpture in person,” museum founder and Pebble Beach best of show-winning car owner Peter Mullin said in a news release. “The Belle Époque was a period of Western European history that lasted from the 1870s until the outbreak of World War I, and it translates to ‘Beautiful Era.’ It was characterized by technological, scientific and cultural innovations in France, and the arts and sciences flourished.

Horse-drawn carriage by Kellner
Horse-drawn carriage by Kellner

“This unique period saw the final – and many say most beautiful – examples of horse-drawn transportation and the rise of the brass car era. These vehicles are really sculptural art, and we are proud to exhibit some of the jewels of that wonderful era.”

The exhibit includes eight horse-drawn carriages and nine automobiles, as well as other period artifacts.

Among the hand-built horse-drawn carriages are those by L’Renault, Kellner and Labourdette as well as one by Ettore Bugatti that was hidden away during World War II and remained in the Bugatti family’s possession until the early 1980s.

Automobiles representing the era in the exhibit include those by Bugatti, Hispano-Suiza, Renault, Panhard and Levassor and Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq, as well as the 1913 Peugeot BP 1 Bébé, originally designed by Ettore Bugatti for Wanderer of Germany and built by Peugeot under license for the French market. The Bebe was the first Peugeot to sell more than 3,000 units, the museum notes in its news release.

Horse-drawn carriage by Renault
Horse-drawn carriage by Renault

Also included in the display is the wood-skinned 1922 Hispano-Suiza Type H6B Skiff Torpédo by Henri Labourdette.

The exhibition also includes other artifacts from the era, among them Louis Vuitton luggage, tools, leather driving apparel, catalogs and literature.

The Mullin Automotive Museum is open the second and fourth Saturday’s of each month from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., though tickets must be purchased in advance at the museum’s website. Tours also are offered Tuesdays at 10 a.m. by reservation.

1910 Renault Laundaulet
1910 Renault Laundaulet

One thought on “Mullin museum celebrates Belle Epoque cars and carriages”

Share your comments