Distinguished businessman, philanthropist, and renowned automobile collector Peter Mullin passed away on Monday, Sept. 18.
Mullin, whose greatest joy was his beloved wife Merle, five children and 13 grandchildren, leaves behind an indelible legacy in the many realms that were improved by his abiding passion and deep investment. He was a self-made man who surrounded himself with the things he loved, including French automobiles, art, botany, gardening and deep faith.
Mullin was a founding board member of the Petersen Automotive Museum and was asked to rejoin the board as chair by Bruce Meyer and David Sydorick in 2013 in preparation for the museum’s renovation. He envisioned a campaign, which he christened ‘Bold Moves,’ that drove the focus, fundraising and timeline of the museum’s total renovation inside and out. Mullin became a fixture at the museum during that time, leading the board, museum staff, designers and contractors to complete the project on time and on budget.
“Peter was the right chair at the right time to lead us through the transformation process that started with the renovation, which culminated in the Petersen being named the best automotive museum in the world, and eventually led to the transformation of Los Angeles’ iconic Museum Row,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “His legacy will live on for many, many years.”
Mullin’s love of cars began early in life and ultimately manifested in a deep appreciation for the art, beauty and design of pre-war French Art Deco cars. He and Merle built one of the world’s preeminent French car collections, based out of the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California. They showed many of his cars at events around the world, including the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and were frequent entrants at international Concours events, winning nearly every major award at Pebble Beach, Villa d’Este, Hampton Court, Salon Privé and more. He also twice received Peninsula Signature Event’s “Best of the Best” award and was the recipient of the Historic Motoring Association’s “Personal Achievement Award” in 2016.
Mullin’s passion for the automobile will live on at the museum through the Mullin Grand Salon, where he once proudly displayed some of his prized Molsheim masterpieces in the “Art of Bugatti” exhibition.