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Peter W. Mullin (1941-2023) was a Los Angeles born businessman and classic car collector. His personal collection was also a museum open to the public, and one of the premiere collections of “pre-war” French automobiles in the history of the world. After Mullin died in the fall of 2023, his family decided to sell off much of his collection and close the museum. Here’s what made the Mullin Automotive Museum so special.

“What did you think of the Mullin Museum?” my dad asked after we had walked around for hours.

“Come for the Bugattis, stay for the Delahayes.” I joked. Then I added, “Heck, stay for the furniture.”

Red Delahaye 135 Cabriolet
Delahaye 135 | Henry Cesari via MotorBiscuit

The Mullin Automotive Museum was located in Oxnard, a relatively small city north of Los Angeles. It featured dozens of cars, but I expect 90% of its visitors came to see one: A 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. This car, often just referred to as Chassis Number 57374, is one of just three original Bugatti Atlantics in existence. Even Jay Leno only has a replica. The grand touring coupe is in many ways Ettore Bugattis magnum opus, its body designed by his son Jean. It is easily the most iconic car of the French Art Deco era. How much did it cost Mullin? A cool $30 million in 2010. But don’t get out your wallet quite yet, rumor has it that Chassis 57374 has already been sold.

The Mullin Museum features an array of other Bugattis to keep the Atlantic company. These include the famed, unrestored “Lady of the Lake,” a Type 22, a true time capsule that spent 70 years at the bottom of a lake in Switzerland. One of my favorites was a modern bare metal hotrod interpretation of the “Atlantic” that Mullin had built bespoke on an old Type 57 frame.

This museum also hosted other Bugattis collections, such as the “Schlumpf Reserve Collection,” the largest collection of unrestored “barn find” style Bugattis in the world. For Bugatti fans the Mullin Museum was a must-see.

But like I realized, the Mullin Museum was much more than just a Bugatti collection. It was a step back in time, an oasis of the Art Deco era. This is because it was a huge collection of French cars from all different automakers. The one I couldn’t take my eyes off of was the Delahaye 135 Cabriolet pictured above. But even that car was lost in a sea of beauties.

Another reason the Mullin Museum felt like a trip back in time was the building’s ambience. Mullin had an extensive collection of art deco furniture. This included many pieces of furniture designed by Carlo Bugatti (Ettore’s father and Jean’s grandfather).

Many corners of the museum could have been sets for Midnight in Paris. There was even a second-floor lounge with a beautiful bar, overlooking the collection. For a moment, you could take a wrong turn in Oxnard, step through a door, and find yourself transported back in time.

The Mullin Museum’s final day open to the public will be February 10th, 2024. But if you don’t have tickets, don’t worry. You can see the full collection in the video below: