As we test our patience with shelter-in-place orders during the Corona Virus Pandemic and wonder what automotive event will be cancelled next, let’s revisit some of the special cars from the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. In this three part series we’ll include at least one desirable car from almost every class on the lawn. Consider this your armchair concours, where pajamas are appropriate attire for one’s ravenous viewing of rare luxurious cars.
We are living in the new age of what if, the what if which was never considered possible has happened to and for many. Take five minutes and flip the script, what if you could build your dream garage, money no object of course, what cars here might you fill it with?
Zagato Centennial Prewar
1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spider – The classic Alfa 8C, the eight cylinder car of the 1930s had many iterations and body styles, however the 2300, originally a racing car, is one favored by purists. Built as one of two 2.3 litre factory race cars, this car was first raced at the Targa Florio, driven by Tazio Nuvolari. Afterwards the car was sold to Scuderia Ferrari and raced by Enzo in his last competitive race. Piero Taruffi drove the car to victory after which it was again sold, where it competed in three successive Mille Miglia races. To further celebrate the car’s style and performance it accepted the wining 2019 Gran Turismo Trophy at Pebble Beach.
Bentley Centennial Derby
1939 Bentley 4 1/4 Litre Vanvooren Pillarless Saloon – Originally owned by Lilly Bollinger, of the French Champagne family, it is said she slept next to it, bricked up in the champagne sellers to keep hidden, after the Nazi’s commandeered her chateau. The lady clearly loved her car. It was the last Bentley bodied by Vanvooren. Ms. Bollinger was reunited with the car after Patton’s army arrived in 1944.
European Classic Closed
1937 Delahaye 145 Chapron Coupe -As one of the cars from the noted Mullin Automotive Museum, this car has fantastic history. Driven by Rene Dreyfus and Louis Chiron for Ecurie Bleu racing team in the 1938 and 1939 racing seasons, and later purchased by Henri Chapron who fitted the 145 with the above body. This was one of the cars purchased by Fritz Schlumpf for his collection in Mulhouse.
Bentley Centennial 3 Litre
1927 Bentley 3 Litre Speed Model Vanden Plas Open Sports – This was the final works Le Mans team car built for 1927. This car was part of the famous White House Corner crash when the entire Bentley team smashed into each other around 10pm. Another 3 litre also involved went on to win the race, however this car was too damaged to continue. It went on to be repaired at the factory and further raced by the team and later privateers.
Ferrari Grand Touring
1951 Ferrari 212 Inter Ghia Coupe – The Ferrari 212 Inters were completed by a number of coach builders, of the six 212 Inter Coupes built in this configuration this one was bodied by Carrozzeria Ghia. Remember, Ghia, in business since 1915, had their factory was destroyed during WWII. All tooling and buildings were lost and while attempting to rebuild in 1944 Giacinto Ghia died of a heart attack. Two of his associates rebuilt the company and provided designs for many companies. The design element which really switches this car from okay to fabulous is the side view with the long flowing curve of the roof line. Compared to the Vignale and Touring bodies the Ghia body reads far more elegant in overall display.
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sport Cabriolet A – One of the most awe-inspiring Mercedes to waft down the road, this particular car is even more special. It is one of only five 540Ks built on the roadster chassis and represents one of the earliest road uses of the new 5.4-litre motor. Built by Mercedes factory’s own Sindelfingen coachworks ups the rare scale even further. Notice the louvers are horizontal rather than vertical. How many times have you seen this?
Bugatti Type 57
1929 Bugatti Type 57C Gangloff Aravis – Called “the most beautiful of all Type 57s” by Jean Bugatti it truly is a masterpiece of design. Gangloff finished the car in this blue and white scheme specified by Bugatti. Originally sold new to Grand Prix Driver Maurice Trintignant for use as his daily driver.
European Classic Open
1938 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Figoni and Falaschi Teardrop Cabriolet – Of the two cabriolet bodies Figoni & Falaschi built on the T150 C (competition) -SS (super-sport) chassis, this is the only survivor. This was the shortest and lightest T150 built and what the Talbot-Lago race cars were based on. One look and it’s easy to understand how this car was also a Best Of Show Nominee. It did not leave empty handed, winning both the Gwenn Graham Most Elegant Convertible as well as a First In Class Award.
1956 Maserati 200SI Fantuzzi Sports Racer – Created as a replacement for the Maserati A6CGS, three of these as factory drives, all slightly different, were first entered at Monza in 1956. One car was damaged during practice, the second car completed only one lap, the third, driven by Stirling Moss and Cesare Perdisa the came in 2nd. In all 28 200 SIs were built including one sold to Carroll Shelby in 1958.
See you next Friday for part two of our visit to the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as we embrace sheltering in place with a Friday Concours series.