Inside the Art of Bugatti Exhibit

March 28, 2014 12:00 AM

Bugatti has a spectacular reputation for many reasons - but one of the main aspects the brand is known for is beautiful design. The French carmaker, which is now owned by Volkswagen, has consistently emphasized innovative and durable design. For those seeking a luxury car that requires minimal auto repair, these vehicles are ideal. Long?-lasting and visually striking, they are an impressive addition to any auto enthusiast's collection. A new exhibit at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, Calif., "The Art of Bugatti," offers a deeper look at the history behind the craftmanship of the family-owned Bugatti brand. 

More than cars
If you know cars, you may be aware that the Bugatti family had a knack for creating particularly stunning vehicles. Did you know, though, that these individuals had many other creative talents? AutoBlog reported that you'll have the chance to behold 27 vehicles from Ettore Bugatti, in addition to more than 40 pieces of furniture made by Carlo Bugatti and almost two dozen sculptures from Rembrandt Bugatti. For example, Rembrandt Bugatti's 1908 bronze-cast sculpture "American Bison," is on display with a 1929 Bugatti Type 46 coupé as well as three other vehicles. Carlo's creations include an oil painting of his wife Thérèse in addition to a banjo. 

"It was one of the rare artistic and artisanal families of the era. Everyone in the family just exuded huge artistic talent," says the museum's founder and chairman Peter Mullin, as quoted by AutoBlog.

Mullin also told The Wall Street Journal that the Bugatti family is truly unique in that several consecutive generations boasted achievements in art and design. Mullin, an insurance billionaire who happens to have a penchant for pieces from the Art Deco era, has contributed many of the automobiles that will be on display from his own private collection. There will also be design sketches, manuscripts and family heirlooms, some of which have never been seen by the public. All of these artifacts are meant to give visitors a more holistic understanding of the Bugatti family's accomplishments.

Upon entering the circular gallery, you'll be privy to short biographies of the family members. The other curved wall features a detailed timeline of Bugatti car production.

Iconic rides
So what remarkable cars will you find here? AutoBlog highlighted the 1932 Bugatti Type 41 "Royale" Coupe de Ville as well as the ultra-successful 1927 Bugatti 35C race car. You can't miss the 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, which The Wall Street Journal noted was purchased by Mullin for nearly $35 million in 2010.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the exhibit is the interactive kiosk. Here you'll get a glimpse at the two major engines created by the Bugattis: the extravagant 300-horsepower Type 41 "Royale" from Ettore and the minimalistic 225-horsepower Type 50 from his eldest son Jean. This part of the gallery compares the two engines, which is fitting as The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the father and son were very competitive with one another.

The Wall Street Journal called the Type 64, which Jean was creating right before he died, the "pièce de résistance." Though he never got to finish the vehicle, it has now been completed based on the plans that Jean drew for the prototype, complete with a hybrid aluminum body.

In addition to the automobiles, you'll also see a life-size reproduction of a wood twin-engine aircraft that Ettore Bugatti co-designed with Louis de Monge. The V-tail aircraft was constructed for the 1939 Deutsch de la Meurthe Cup Race, and according to AutoBlog, the plane could potentially take flight in the near future.

There's plenty of time to check out the Bugatti exhibit - it's on display through Dec. 31 of this year. However, AutoBlog noted that you must make an advanced reservation at the Mullin Automotive Museum for a tour. While the museum does offer public showings, you can also arrange for a private viewing as well. Visit the website for more information prior to making your visit.

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