- Mar 1, 2005
Ralph Lauren's cars at the MFA: More eye candy
Once you pass the Bugatti Grand Prix, Bentley Blower and Alfa Romeo Mille Miglia, it's the big, bad Merc of Count Trossi and two of the world's finest Bugattis. Click through to see the literal heart of the Museum of Fine Arts exhibit of RL's whips.
The Mercedes-Benz ?Count Trossi? is a one-off re-body based of the epic 1930 MB SSK. The Count in question was an Italian playboy (?Didi? to his friends) who found success as both President and driver for Ferrari. When it came to street wheels, the man loved Mercs. He sketched this design himself, which looks like nothing so much as a prototype Batmobile. The British coachbuilder who gave it life is still unknown. Oh, and the clutch is on the left, the brake on the right and the gas pedal in the middle.
The bodywork of the 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Gangloff Drophead Coupe was designed by Ettore Bugatti?s son Jean. While the shape is not a million miles away from the ?in your face? SSK, the younger Bugatti?s roadster has irrisistable Gallic charm. ?Gangloff? refers to the workshop that realized Jean?s vision, ?S? indicates that the car was lowered (?surbaisse?) and ?C? means the 3.3-liter straight eight had a compressor attached. The 57SC?s aerodynamic design and 220hp engine made it the world?s fastest production automobile of its time, at 120mph.
And so we come to exhibit?s poster child: the 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe, one of only three built and one of two still existent. Despite the Atlantic?s current status as a contender for the title of the world?s most beautiful car, its limited production run is a good indication of the design?s early reception. Reports suggest that it?s also a bear to drive, with unpredictable handling (the worst kind), an enormously loud engine and zero side visibility. Still, the Atlantic?s Mohican haircut (a styling cue carried over from an alloy-bodied show car) and flowing shape make it one of the most outrageous cars ever built.