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Southern California's wonderful jewel, the Mullin Automotive Museum, opened its latest exhibit this week and it is worthy of a road trip. Titled "The Art of Bugatti," the new show is an intimate look at more than a century's worth of Bugatti family creativity - automotive enthusiasts associate the name with cars, but the Italian-born, French-based Bugattis were accomplished sculptors, painters, furniture makers as well as car collectors. The work on exhibit in coastal Oxnard, about an hour northwest of Los Angeles, includes more than 40 automobiles (and an aircraft) from Ettore Bugatti, nearly two dozen pieces of sculpture from Rembrandt Bugatti and more than 40 pieces of furniture from Carlo Bugatti.
Peter Mullin, the museum's founder and chairman, owns the largest private collection of Bugattis in the world. This exhibit celebrates the achievements of the Bugatti family. "It was one of the rare artistic and artisanal families of the era. Everyone in the family just exuded huge artistic talent," said Mullin.
At an early private peek at the collection, our eyes were glazed over by the spectacular 1932 Bugatti Type 41 "Royale" Coupe de Ville, with a massive 12.7-liter straight-eight, and the 1927 Bugatti 35C race car, one of its most successful competitive models. The famed 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic is also on display, which recently sold in the range of $30-40 million. One of the most unique items is the Bugatti 100P, a full scale reproduction of a V-tail wood twin-engine aircraft designed by Ettore Bugatti and Louis de Monge, built for the 1939 Deutsch de la Meurthe Cup Race (there are plans to fly it in the near future).
Tours of the museum are by advance reservation only, with both public and private viewings available. For more information, and dates, visit the the Mullin Automotive Museum online.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Efficient cars are all the rage these days, but Joe Kyte has made a business of crafting some of the coolest green cars around - literally. Kyte is better known by his nickname Topiary Joe, and in addition to being a talented artist, he is also a real gearhead.
Kyte has been creating topiaries for the last 20 years. It began when he was marketing greenhouse products to Walt Disney World and saw their plant sculptures. He realized that he could do that and since then, has done around 3,400 pieces.
His most intriguing creations are the rolling sculptures that move and turn. Prices for those start at about $18,000 and can be as high as $30,000. While, the wheels are machine-bent, Kyte said all the other parts are done with a table vice and a Lincoln Electric arc welder. Topiary Joe is taking the Porsche (pictured above) to Palm Beach later this year to sell or says he may donate it to Porsche North America. If you really want it, the sculpture is currently on Craigslist for sale for $24,000.
Topiary Joe has also had a life-long love of cars. "I was driving my first MG Midget before I was 14," he told Autoblog. He grew up in Oak Ridge, TN, where the Manhattan Project was partially developed. He says the town was full of recent college grads driving Mercedes, and he caught the bug. His automotive mentor was a nuclear physicist who taught him to repair and restore the Mercs.
Kyte has completed commissions for Sandals Resort, Dreamworks, Absolut, and many more. Among his favorite creations is the Ferrari that he created at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that is now exhibited at the airport each year before the race. Check out his website for a wider look at his work.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Bugatti has been building some of the fastest vehicles in the world since 1909, but its brief history with airplane racing is less well known to many fans. It started in the '30s when founder Ettore Bugatti believed he could build a plane to win the Deutsch de la Merthe Cup Race. He worked on a design called the 100P that never flew. At least, it never flew until a group of Bugatti fanatics called Le Reve Blue decided to build an exact replica of the plane at the Mullin Automotive Museum's Art of Bugatti exhibition. The plane will make its public debut on March 25 in Oxnard, California.
The 100P was on the cutting edge for 1930s aircraft. It used two Bugatti-built 4.9-liter, straight-eight engines with 450 horsepower each to power two counter-rotating props mounted in tandem at the front of the plane. It boasts an estimated top speed of around 500 miles per hour. Other amazing features for the time included the V-shaped tail, forward-pitched wings and a zero-drag cooling system.
Le Reve Blue took on the project in 2009 to create a replica using the same materials and production processes as the original. The group decided to unveil the finished project at the Mullin because of the museum's commitment to Art Deco and machine-age design. It plans to actually fly the plane at some point in the future as well.
In addition to the 100P, the Art of Bugatti exhibition promises "among the largest assembled collection of Bugatti artifacts and automobiles." Scroll down to read the full details on the 100P replica.Permalink | Email this | Comments