15 Million Reasons Why Peter Mullin & Art Center College Of Design Will Influence What You Drive For The Rest Of Your Life

Peter & Merle Mullins
Peter & Merle Mullin with Art Center students and faculty.

Peter Mullin is the guy we'd all like to grow up to be. Gasoline in his veins, money in the bank and a willingness to share that money to make the world a better, more beautiful place.

In case the name doesn't ring a bell, he co-founded the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California. He's chairman of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. He is also president of the American Bugatti Club.   The son of a chemical engineer, a race fan since boyhood, and a vintage car racer today.

The deep involvement with the museums and Bugatti Club tells you Mullin appreciates classic beauty.  But he's also committed to making sure that beauty and inspirational design are with us long after he's gone.  So Mullin and his wife Merle are donating $15 million to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.


The 2013 Toyota Camry XLE V6 Can Run With Nissan Altima and Honda Accord, But Can It Dance?

2013 Toyota Camry XLE V6
The 2013 Toyota Camry XLE V6. Handsome, roomy and quick.

Hot on the heels of our recent reviews of the 2014 Nissan Altima 3.5 SL and the 2013 Honda Accord Touring, Toyota has sent us a V6 version of the Camry.  It's a 2013 model (Toyota seems to be booking a lot of journalists into last-minute '13s), but there are no major changes in the '14s, so what the heck.

When the first Camry came along for the 1983 model year, the competition was the Honda Accord and the Nissan Stanza, which stood where the Nissan Altima is now in the lineup.  And as unlikely as it seems given the juggernaut Toyota has become in the three decades since, it was an uphill climb.  There was a waiting list for Honda Accords.  And Consumer Reports found the Nissan Altima more reliable than the first-generation Toyota Camry (ouch!) for four years running (1983-1986, inclusive).

Well, Toyota learned fast, and grabbed not only the sales but the reliability crown and has never looked back.  Until recently, the Camry was in an enviable if not glamorous position...the safe bet in a segment known for boring cars.  In fact, it was deep clover for Toyota for most of the past decade, with Honda having seemed to lose its mojo and Nissan keeping costs down to the point where its cars were starting to feel like cheap goods.

But now, as we've chronicled in this space, we're in something of a renaissance of the family sedan.

The Americans are a mixed bag...Ford's Fusion looks fabulous (Ford: You really need to get us in one, because I'm driving and writing about everyone else's), especially from the front, the Chevrolet Malibu is better than anyone thought a Chevy Malibu could be, and the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200 are still rental cars you'll want to upgrade out of.

The Koreans are fully competitive and credible with cars like the Hyundai Sonata and the Kia Optima.  The Germans have a contender in the Volkswagen Passat.
And even sleepy Subaru is sleepy no more, with market share that goes up month by month and a strong candidate in the Subaru Legacy.

So how does the Toyota Camry stack up?