Oldtimers

Lancia Astura is ‘Best of Show’ at the Pebble Beach Concours 2016

In a closely fought battle with a Figoni et Falaschi-bodied Delahaye, a Lancia Astura Cabriolet with an elegant Pinin Farina body (and a rock-star past) rose above more than 200 other entrants to claim ‘Best of Show’ at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance …

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The winning car, a 1936 Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet, was one of just six examples commissioned by a Lancia dealer in Biella, Italy. Distinguished from its brethren by curved side windows and shoulder-line brightwork, it was found dilapidated in England in the early 1960s, at which point it was restored ‘back home’ by Pininfarina and later sold to Eric Clapton. The car-collecting guitarist apparently proclaimed it “the most fun I’ve had offstage and out of bed.”

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A victory for personal passion

Similar sentiments were clearly shared by its current owner, Arizona-based Alfa Romeo collector Richard Mattei. A humble man whose personal affinity towards coachbuilt Italians far outweighs any pursuit of social kudos, he commissioned a six-year restoration to the exacting standards of originality demanded by the Pebble Beach jury. In winning the prestigious title at his first attempt, Mattei has also claimed the first victory at Pebble for any Lancia, hot on the heels of a Coppo d’Oro win for another Astura at Villa d’Este. We congratulate Mattei on his triumph, while quietly wishing the marque’s modern-day fortunes were in the hands of enthusiasts with a similar respect for its history…

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Photos: Drew Phillips for Classic Driver / Rolex

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