Ste­fano Ricci Her­itage Tro­phy Tal­bot-lago heads a sump­tu­ous Floren­tine con­cours

The sec­ond Ste­fano Ricci Her­itage Tro­phy cel­e­brates some of the finest clas­sics go­ing

Classic Cars (UK) - - Contents -

The sec­ond Ste­fano Ricci Her­itage Tro­phy, held ten years af­ter the first event by the men’s high-end fash­ion house, brought to­gether 40 rare and unique cars to the Pi­azza Pitti in Florence, Italy.

Tal­bot Lago T150C

Christo­pher Gard­ner pre­sented his 1937 Tal­bot Lago with unique roadster body­work by Pourtout of Paris. ‘It took 22 years from the time I bought the first pieces to the puzzle com­ing to­gether.’ Solv­ing the prob­lem in­volved a global quest to re­unite body, chas­sis and en­gine, and re­search how it was orig­i­nally.

‘It was one of two Tal­bot La­gos or­dered through the Paris agent Luigi Chinetti by Count and Count­ess Col­hiva of Por­tu­gal, each to have Figoni et Falaschi body­work. But it wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble to com­plete both by 1938, so the Count’s more sport­ing T150C with 4.0-litre triple-stromberg en­gine and Wil­son pre-se­lec­tor gear­box went to Pourtout in­stead.

‘I found the body in France on an­other chas­sis. It was clearly wrong – the front axle was seven cen­time­tres too far for­ward. And it had a 3.0-litre en­gine. The Por­tuguese Auto Club records showed it was reg­is­tered as a 4.0-litre. When I found a pic­ture of the car hav­ing its en­gine re­moved, I could see that it was the 4.0-litre hemi, so I started hunt­ing for it. I found it with a col­lec­tor who had bought the whole car for it. Tal­bot Lago only made around 35 of th­ese rac­ing mo­tors, so peo­ple buy them when they can.’

Gard­ner found the chas­sis by chance in the late Nineties, ‘I bought a Figoni & Falaschi Tear­dop from an Amer­i­can Tal­bot Lago col­lec­tor. He told me that he had an­other chas­sis, with a coupé body that he’d re­moved. It was clearly much ear­lier than the chas­sis. I fi­nally got to buy it in 2004, from his es­tate.’

‘It had taken 15 years to un­cover the his­tory of the car and re-unite the en­gine, chas­sis and body­work.’ Gard­ner even man­aged to con­tact the Count­ess, who could re­mem­ber hav­ing the body re­moved and set aside in a barn, so that a more prac­ti­cal four-seater could be fit­ted to ac­com­mo­date her fam­ily.’

The project got off to a good start. ‘The first time we fit­ted the body to the chas­sis it just clicked – the fire­wall had never been re­moved from the body. We started in 1987, but then the project seemed to go in the wrong di­rec­tion. I was wrongly ad­vised that the sweep of the whee­larch in the front fen­der was in­cor­rect and that it should be cut. I said, stop, stop, stop!

‘Even­tu­ally I found Jean Bon­nefoy, who has a small shop in France – they have the touch.’

OSCA MT4 1350

A 1949 OSCA MT4 made its postrestora­tion con­cours de­but in Florence. Said owner Mario Canig­gia, ‘I bought it four years ago. OSCAS are the last true Maser­atis and I like the Vignale de­sign. It’s the only one on an OSCA chas­sis, but an iden­ti­cal one was built on a Fer­rari 212 and, of course, there’s the sim­i­lar body on the Cun­ning­ham C3s.’

The OSCA’S tubu­lar chas­sis was orig­i­nally clothed in tor­pedo-style body­work by Dorino Ser­afini, but when Gigi Vil­loresi bought it in 1951 he had this alu­minium coupé body cre­ated for it by Vignale so that he could use it as his road car.

‘The most dif­fi­cult part of the restora­tion was the en­gine – many parts were cor­roded. The best thing about this par­tic­u­lar car is the power once it gets past 3500rpm. It makes more than 100bhp but weighs just 750kg. It’s amaz­ing.’

‘It had taken 15 years to un­cover the his­tory of the car and re-unite the en­gine, chas­sis and body­work. The Count­ess re­mem­bered the body be­ing re­moved’

Fer­rari 166MM

The Ste­fano Ricci event marked a re­turn to Italy for a unique Fer­rari 166MM that had spent most of its life in the United States. St­ef­fen Görig re­vealed, ‘I bought it last year from the US. What I found ap­peal­ing, if true, is that this is the only Fer­rari-bod­ied car from th­ese times.’ There’s some de­bate whether the Spi­der body was de­signed by Aure­lio Lam­predi and built in-house by Fer­rari, or by Au­to­dromo. ‘The car cer­tainly looks a lit­tle bit awk­ward, but it grows on you.’

Görig was also at­tracted by its his­tory. ‘This car did the Mille Miglia twice, the first time in 1953 with Al­berico Cac­ciari and Bill Ma­son, when it came third in class, and again in 1954 with John Fitch and Kirk Dou­glas for the movie The Rac­ers.’

Görig is more used to a Porsche 911 GT3R, ‘It’s my old­est car. I feel it should go quick but it drives well. The V12 is like a sew­ing ma­chine.’

Alfa 1900SS

Cor­rado Lo­presto’s unique Alfa Romeo, The Ar­row, was bod­ied by Vignale to a Michel­lotti de­sign for the 1955 Turin Mo­tor Show.

‘I bought it from a friend eight years ago. The body was in good con­di­tion but we spent a long time to get it per­fect. We had just one pho­to­graph to help get the de­tails right, but af­ter we’d fi­nalised it I found an­other pic­ture.’

What really helped was that the pho­to­graph had been taken from a dif­fer­ent an­gle. ‘We had thought that the bon­net trim was a sin­gle strip but the new pho­to­graph showed that it was ac­tu­ally two strips with a white sec­tion be­tween them. We could see the white around the front grilles as well, so we had to change it all.’

For­tu­nately the orig­i­nal seat leather, wood-ef­fect painted in­stru­ment bin­na­cle and leather dash­top were good enough to be pre­served. ‘It was ready last week.’

1937 Tal­bot Lago T150C was built with unique Roadster body­work by Pourtout of Paris, com­plete with re­tractable wind­screen

Vignale de­signed OSCA weighs just 750kg and has 100bhp

The unique Fer­rari 166M (left) had lived in the States for most of its life. Alfa 1900SS la Fléche (be­low) re­quired the care­ful anal­y­sis of two pho­to­graphs to get the bon­net line de­tails right even af­ter the car had been fin­ished

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