Photo Credit: Michael Furman Photographer LTDThe Mullin Automotive Museum is a creative enclave that features the convergence of automobiles, art and culture of the Art Deco era of the mid-1920s through the late 1930s.
This eclectic gallery of French automotive classics, decorative art and photography is located in Oxnard, California at the architecturally phenomenal and ecologically futuristic 46,000-plus square-foot building. The combination of the technologically rich brick-and-mortar complex and its Art Deco-themed contents makes it an intriguing house of art-and-science extraordinaire.
The stunningly symmetrical design of the 1938 Hispano-Suiza, or Dubonnet Xenia for short, is an example of the ornately made automobiles of the period on display at the museum. With its curved-glass windows, rear-wheel covers, jutting headlamps, gull-wing windows, and "suicide" door mechanism, its otherworldly aura remains intact 73-plus years later.
Designed from sketches by WWI fighter pilot, racecar driver, Olympic athlete and heir to the Dubonnet vermouth company, Andre Dubonnet, the eponymous vehicle's bold bodylines attract followers of the automotive and the artistic communities alike. Its eye fetching door mechanism and then-revolutionary front-end suspension and steering system are perhaps its most interesting design and technological features.
The car came to fruition through the creative trilogy put together by the style-conscious and aerodynamically inspired Dubonnet. He partnered with coachbuilder, Jacques Saoutchik, and engineer Antoine-Marie Chedru to create the Dubonnet Xenia. Saoutchik assisted with the framework and Chedru worked on the independent front-suspension and steering system of the car.
Automakers General Motors, Fiat, and Alpha Romeo also used Dubonnet's front-end suspension and steering system. The system was maintained by oil pressure and included an encased coil spring and shock absorber. Mr. Dubonnet sold his system to General Motors.
The 1938 Dubonnet Xenia and numerous other automotive classics, such as 1938 Talbot Lago T150 SS, a 1937 Peugeot 402 BL Eclipse and a 1938 Bugatti 57 C Atlante, are on display at the Mullin Automotive Museum.
For information, visit www.mullinautomotivemuseum.com.