Stefano Ricci Heritage Trophy Talbot-lago heads a sumptuous Florentine concours
The second Stefano Ricci Heritage Trophy celebrates some of the finest classics going
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’
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.’
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