WORDS: DAVID LILLYWHITE | PHOTOGRAPHY: MULLIN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM
Due to the passing of Peter Mullin in September 2023, the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California has announced it will close its doors for good on Saturday February 10, 2024.
Peter and Merle Mullin founded the Oxnard-based museum in 2010 to house their stunning collection of mostly French Art Deco-era cars, and to educate guests about 20th century French automotive styling and design. The museum, housed in a near-47,000 square feet building previously owned by legendary newspaper publisher Otis Chandler, showcased the finest vehicles, sculptures and artifacts from master coachbuilders.
The Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California has announced it will close its doors for good on Saturday February 10, 2024
Peter Mullin had long been fascinated and inspired by Art Deco design, and was equally passionate about sharing it with the public. In honour of his legacy, four of the collection’s most iconic vehicles – the 1937 Talbot-Lago T150 CS ‘Teardrop’, the 1938 Hispano-Suiza H6B Dubonnet Xenia, the 1939 Delahaye 165 and the 1938 Delahaye 145 – have been donated to the Petersen Automotive Museum, which Peter (as chairman of the museum) helped transform into the world-leading institution it is today. The famed 1936 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic – the star of the collection – was co-owned with Rob and Melani Walton, while 20 cars from the collection is to be offered for sale by Gooding & Co at its Amelia Island auctions, followed by a further sale at the museum in April.
“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, director of the Mullin Automotive Museum. “We are deeply indebted to our staff, docents, volunteers, visitors and supporters who have dedicated their time and passion over the years. I hope past and first-time visitors will have a chance to say goodbye before we close.”
In recent years, and throughout Peter’s illness, Merle has been equally passionate about the collection, and has exhibited cars around the world. She was awarded with Best of Show for the 1934 Avions Voisin Type C27 Aerosport Coupé at the Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace in 2021, took the Founders’ Award with the 1937 Delahaye 135 at the 2023 Audrain Newport Concours, and Best in Class (and was one of four finalists for Best of Show) at the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for the 1939 Delahaye Type 165 Figoni et Falaschi Cabriolet. She also won Best of Show at the 2022 Las Vegas Concours d’Elegance, and has had cars at our own Concours on Savile Row in both 2022 and 2023. Her Delahaye 235 was featured in issue 17 of Magneto.
When Peter passed away last September, he left a remarkable legacy – not just of cars, but of charitable donations and support throughout the automotive, arts and educational worlds. Read his full obituary here. Peter and Merle were honoured with a special award at the Historic Motoring Awards in November 2023.
The museum will be open on a limited basis through Saturday, February 10. Please visit mullinautomotivemuseum.com for opening dates and hours.