Ralph Lauren sends 17 of his classic sports cars to Paris for the world to see
This was the first of four Alfa Romeos designed by coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring to compete in the 1938 Mille Miglia. Powered by a twin-cam, supercharged straight-eight engine, it was capable of almost 120 mph, with a rear-mounted 4-speed transaxle and hydraulic brakes. Driven by Carlo Pintacuda and Paride Mambelli (who won in 1937), this car finished 2nd in 1938, behind a similar Alfa driven by Clemente Biondetti with mecahnic Aldo Stefani. Biondetti would win three straight Mille Miglias after WWII. (June 8, 2011)
1938 Bugatti Type 57S(C) Atlantic coupe
This is the ultimate in 1930s French Art Deco automobile design, derived from the 1935 Aerolithe show car. It's the last of only four Atlantics built. Powered by a 3.3-liter, supercharged straight-eight engine, it is notable for the riveted spines on the roof and front fenders.
"If this car ever comes up for sale I believe it will be the most expensive ever. It's stunning from any angle. The riveted spine was a wild thing to do. The original Aerolithe body was magnesium, which could not be welded and had to be folded or riveted. It was such a popular styling cue that when the other cars were built of aluminum, they kept the spine."
1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Mille Miglia
This was the first of four Alfa Romeos designed by coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring to compete in the 1938 Mille Miglia. Powered by a twin-cam, supercharged straight-eight engine, it was capable of almost 120 mph, with a rear-mounted 4-speed transaxle and hydraulic brakes. Driven by Carlo Pintacuda with mechanic Paride Mambelli (who won in 1937), this car finished 2nd in 1938, behind a similar Alfa driven by Clemente Biondetti with mechanic Aldo Stefani. Biondetti would win three straight Mille Miglias after WWII.
"Without a doubt the best pre-war sports car; nothing to top it and you could drive 120 mph all day. Every part of this car is a work of art and you could admire engine components, or even brake backing plates in your office all day long. If money were no object, any car enthusiast would have to have one of these."
1950 Jaguar XK120 Alloy Roadster
Launched at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show in London, Jaguar's XK120 roadster took everybody by surprise. Powered by a 3.4-liter twin-cam 6-cylinder engine, it was such an eloquent statement that the basic shape endured — as the XK140 and XK150 — until 1961 and the launch of the E-Type. Only 240 alloy-bodied XK120s were made and this is one of six factory cars. Driven by Clemente Biondetti, it competed in the 1950 Mille Miglia and Targa Florio.
"In a survey conducted by Classic and Sports Car magazine, this car came out in the top 10 of the best alloy XK120s, in terms of condition and competition history."
1954 Ferrari 375 Plus
Designed by Pinin Farina, the 375 Plus was the biggest hammer in Ferrari's stable in 1954. The Aurelio Lampredi-designed V-12 engine was punched out to 5-liters, and top speed rose to almost 180 mph. Only five cars were built but they won the first race of the season at Agadir in North Africa, at Silverstone, the Le Mans 24 Hours and the La Carrera Panamericana Mexican road race. This car went to Argentina where Carlos Valiente was very successful with it.
"I've had the pleasure of driving this car. It's fabulous. The body is all rivets and bumps and bulges and the exhaust has tiny tailpipes which make it sound like tearing a sheet."
1955 Jaguar D-Type "Longnose"
The D-Type Jaguar had big shoes to fill after the C-type, but aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer started with a clean sheet, designing a three-piece monocoque hull with dramatic stabilizing fin. The cars won Le Mans in '55, '56 and '57 and the Nurburgring in 1956. This is one of only 10 longnose cars, which raised the D-Type's top speed to 160 mph.
"This car has a dual identity as XKD505/601. It was rebuilt by the factory after crashes at Le Mans. The factory combined parts from both cars to create a longnose D-Type, a sensational piece with real provenance."
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe
Mercedes-Benz planned their return to racing in 1951 and the 300SL was developed with a multi-tubed "birdcage" frame and 3-liter, fuel-injected, six-cylinder engine. The frame required very high sills, so the gullwing doors were developed to open upwards, like wings. The 300SL was very successful, winning the 1952 Le Mans 24 Hours and the 1953 La Carrera Panamericana road race. It was also driven by Sophia Loren, Elvis Presley, Zsa Zsa Gabor and many others.
"This is one of 29 alloy-bodied 300SLs. We did the restoration in the late 1980s, painted silver with green leather and green plaid. There was plaid just like this woven in Massachusetts and we found a woman who milled the exact fabric and weave of the original."
1955 Porsche 550 Spyder