via Historic Automotive Promotion
And the winner is....1936 Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet
First time was the charm for Richard Mattei, whose 1936 Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet won Best of Show at Pebble Beach, the first time Mattei had ever entered the prestigious Concours.
“I takes on almost two personalities,” said Mattei, grinning on the ramp after he’d won. “One with the top up, it’s more aggressive, almost hot roddish; the other with the top down, well, it’s still aggressive but more elegant.”
The Astura is one of six (Mattei said seven) built for a particular Lancia dealer in Italy. The program says this about the car: “Known as the Tipo Bocca, each had unique features. This one had a power top, curved side glass and engraved side trims running around the entire body. It also has a basket-woven interior, skirted rear fenders and wood-grained instrument.”
The car was first restored by Pinin Farina, then sold to guitarist Eric Clapton, who described it as “…the most fun I’ve had off stage and out of bed.” Pinin Farina got the car again and put it in its museum before Mattei purchased it from a private party in the U.S.
The beauty in this winner may be as much in the detail as in the overall stance and proportions. The Astura’s metal trim is lined with detailed metal etching that would look perfectly at home on a magic sword in The Hobbitt. It took years to recreate the intricate details that trace themselves through the metal pieces that line the exterior of the car. When Mattei bought the car he figured about two thirds of that engraving was missing. But numerous photos taken when it was new showed exactly where and how detailed the etching was. It was up to specialist Jim Stokes of JS Workshops near Goodwood to restore it.
“That is the thing that stopped it from being here last year,” said Stokes.Stokes used “a lot of practice strips” before successfully trying the process on the real trim.
The seats were done by Italian firm Bottega Veneta, known also for their stylish handbags. It’s said to be pretty comfortable to sit in.
“To sit in that car is like sitting in a movie theater,” said Barbara Reis, Mattei’s “significant other.”
The bulk of the restoration was handled by Jeff McDonald of Canby, Oregon. Canby was as happily surprised as anyone on the stage.
“I was hoping for third place,” said McDonald. “Just hoping to get something so he could drive over the ramp.”
Well he did drive over the ramp, and in glorious first place.