Auto Museums

Classic Showcase: Coach-Built French Imports 1930-1950

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Tucked inside the wealthy enclave of Santa Barbara, California is one of the most awe-inspiring collections of pre-war French automobiles ever assembled anywhere on earth — even inside France.

Just a few hours south of Monterey and Pebble Beach , the Mullins Automotive Museum is almost as exclusive as the cars inside. And for good reason: dozens of the cars in the collection are priceless and completely unique.

The Mullins museum has dozens of Bugatti ’s, including the all-time most-valuable car ever: the Type 57 Atlantique . This is too easy and common, so we will focus on some of the more obscure pieces in its priceless collection.

There are highlights are every turn, but we’ve assembled some of the most influential and visually breathtaking cars here in a list of Top Ten Coach-Built French Imports - between 1930 and 1950.

This list could also have been called the "unpronounceables" because their names are quite complicated to say out loud. Doing so is a real treat, however, especially in the case of the all-star Hispano-Suiza H6C Xenia. This gorgeous coupe has some of the most otherworldly styling ever seen then or since.

Winner of Best in Show at Goodwood 2009, this Hispano-Suiza features sliding side doors, a rounded fuselage design, and bespoke luggage that looks like a million bucks.

Click past the jump for all ten of these stunners: including a number of Bugatti ’s, Avoins Voisin and the first hard-top cabrio: the 1938 Peugeot 402L Cabriolet Metallique Decouvrable.

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                Galleria Ferrari

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                Inaugurated in February 1990, until 1995 the Galleria Ferrari was run by the Comune of Maranello, owners of the fixtures and fittings. The new wing of the Galleria that was opened in October 2004 took the total surface area from 1700m³ to 2500m³, further enriching the exhibition area with new spaces and services. Situated only a short distance from the Ferrari plant and the Fiorano circuit, the Galleria, though it remains the property of the Comune of Maranello, has been run directly by Ferrari since 1995. Today, more than ever, it is has become the place where Ferrari’s past, present and future is preserved, giving the visitor a fascinating insight into the history of the Prancing Horse.

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