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Story by Reed Berry
Pictures by Albert J. Wong
By it’s unique exterior appearance, one would probably never know that the Petersen Automotive Museum was once a classic multi-level Los Angeles department store. Now, instead of clothing, home goods and linens, each floor is filled with some of the most beautiful and desirable automobiles ever created. Some of them are perfectly restored daily drivers that you may have parked in your very own garage, while others are rolling works of art bearing some of the most revered names in the automotive world.
Such is the case with the current exhibit at the Petersen, The Art of Bugatti. Few of us will ever own a Bugatti automobile, as the cost of one, either a classic or newer model, will carry a price tag equal to that of a luxurious home in an upscale neighborhood. It’s always fun, however, to admire the things we can’t afford and imagine what it must be like to own them, so here I am to do just that.
Upon entering the lobby, my eye is immediately drawn to a brand new 2017 Bugatti Chiron. Sleek and sporty with a body design unlike any other vehicle on the road, the Chiron has more power than any human really needs in an automobile – a turbocharged 1,500 horsepower W16 engine. It’s the world’s fastest, most powerful and most exclusive production super sports car and, in case you’re wondering, it can be yours for right around $2.6 million.
Moving from the lobby into the Mullin Family Grand Salon, my eyes are treated to a buffet of Bugatti beauty. Classic vehicles that span nearly a century, some newer models as well, along with various art and furniture pieces. It wasn’t all about cars with the creative Bugatti family.
Ettore Bugatti was an engineer who founded the Bugatti automotive marque. His son Jean was also an automotive designer. Ettore’s brother Rembrandt was an internationally renowned sculptor and their father, Carlo Bugatti, enjoyed a career of four decades producing paintings, furniture, jewelry and musical instruments, among other things.
Among the 20 rare vehicles on display, my personal favorites include a stately 1932 Bugatti Type 41 Royale, the 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Aravis by Gangloff and a striking 1935 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. A 1925 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix, one of Bugatti’s legendary race cars, is also a real eye catcher. All of the vehicles are among the rarest and most beautiful in the world, making this exhibition a must-see for any auto enthusiast.
The Art of Bugatti exhibition runs through the fall of 2017.
For more information: http://petersen.org/bugatti/
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