Unusual art-deco Steyr pops up at the Oxfordshire concours
Amove across the Blenheim lawns to beside the palace added extra glamour to the thirteenth Salon Privé Concours, the first of three show days at the Oxfordshire venue. Cars included a Hollywood prop and Thirties coachbuilt style.
Steyr 220 Cabriolet
Twenty years after its Latvian restoration started, a rare 1939 Steyr 220 Cabriolet made its show debut. Said owner Felix Vencko, ‘When I first found it I didn’t like it much, but in the process of the restoration I gradually fell in love. Now I couldn’t imagine selling it.’
The car was one of 20 bodied by Gläser, of which five are thought to survive. ‘It was displayed at the 1939 Berlin Show and bought by the Austrian ambassador to Latvia. A friend of mine who restores old cars found it in 1995,’ said Vencko.
AC Cobra 260
The fifth Cobra 260 built, CSX2005, was shown for the first time in the UK since restoration. Florian Seidl, who looks after the 1962 car for Kurt Engelhorn, said, ‘He bought it via a broker from Donald Bell, who had owned it since the mid-seventies, and what we found was fascinating. It still had its original 260ci engine when most were upgraded to 289. It’s an important piece of history.’
After first owner Richard Neil became frustrated with its reliability problems, including a breakdown on a trans-usa trip, he traded it back to Shelby against another Cobra.
According to Seidl, Shelby decided to use it to gain some publicity, and hired it to Universal Studios for the film Killers, starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson and Ronald Regan, later invoicing the company $397.50 for damage during filming. He then sold it to the Shelby Performance Driving School. Engelhorn decided to restore the Cobra to Driving School specification, complete with holes in the bodywork where bumpers, the luggage rack and antenna had been.
1938 Lancia Astura
When owner Lavrentiv Stratulat first saw this 1938 Boneschibodied Lancia Astura SIV, the only survivor of four, it was in a German collection. ‘When I later found it for sale I was very happy to meet the car again,’ said Stratulat. ‘It’s fabulous – a spectacular design and very avant garde for a 1938 car. It has an electric hood that opens at the touch of a button, very advanced for the time. And it has such impressive presence – it’s
haute couture for cars.’ Apart from a repaint, the cabriolet, which starred on Lancia’s Turin and Brussels show stands in 1938, is believed to be in preserved, original condition. Even the seats have never been retrimmed.
1939 Steyr 220 making its show circuit debut
Lancia Astura of 1938 came with an electric hood