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On this past long weekend while Americans were celebrating Memorial Day, the very American Ralph Lauren was cleaning up tidily at this year's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in northern Italy on the western shore of Lake Como. It rained the first day on and off and this lowered a little the spirits of the event, but Sunday was a knockout Day Two and, at any rate, nothing put the kibosh on Lauren's 1938 Bugatti winning nearly everything there was to win.

Nothing put the kibosh on Lauren's 1938 Bugatti winning nearly everything there was to win.

Here's the hardware the clothing magnate's $40-million-value Bugatti 57SC Atlantic hauled in: Trofeo BMW Group (this is a BMW Group-sponsored event since 1999) for best in show according to the Jury; Coppa d'Oro Villa d'Este for best in show according to the invited public and press; Trofeo BMW Group Italia for best in show according to the open public on Day Two; Trofeo BMW Group Ragazzi for best in show according to the younguns; best-in-class winner of Class B a.k.a. "Purosangue"; Trofeo Auto & Design special prize for most exciting design according to the Jury.

So, hats off to Mr. Lauren's sultry black French win-mobile. There are nine classes overall and besides the mondo Bugatti in Class B, the other eight were: a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S torpedo roadster (Class A "Gentlefolk of the Road"); 1964 Ferrari 500 Superfast berlinetta (Class C "Time of Change"); 1962 Aston Martin DB4 SS saloon (Class D "Aston Martin" for the company centenary); 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB berlinetta (Class E "Cavallino contro Tridente" for Ferrari vs. Maserati); 1956 Jaguar XKSS spider (Class F "California Dreaming"); 1964 Ferrari 250 LM berlinetta (Class G "Style and Speed"); 1965 Lamborghini 350 GTS spider (Class H "Lamborghini" for the company 50th anniversary); 1965 Ferrari Dino 166P/206P spider (Class I "Racing Improves the Breed").


This was the third year of the concorso where motorcycles were also praised and awarded. Of the 35 real two-wheeled jewels and rarities shown, the big winner for best-in-show was the 1948 Russian-built 350cc two-cylinder IMZ M-35K, built in a small series at the company's factory in Gorki.

Who says snooty auction weekends aren't exciting?

The last significant category for awards at this concorso is that for concept cars and prototypes. In this case, of the seven entrants it was the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante by Touring that took the general public's best in show trophy on Day Two. Wrapped around a chassis and powertrain from the Alfa 8C Competizione, the Disco Volante successfully reinterprets the "disco volante" (or flying saucer) prototypes from past decades.

For the first time, RM Auctions hosted the sales of forty classic cars at the event, with the major headline being the $14 million-plus paid for the 1953 Ferrari 340/375 MM berlinetta Competizione designed by Pininfarina. On a sadder note, on Day Two one of the auction lot cars - a 1929 Bentley 6½-litre Sedanca de Ville by Mulliner suddenly went up in flames in the engine bay, while being started for repositioning for display purposes. It had not met its reserve price the previous evening, so it becomes an insurance issue between RM and the car's current owner. Who says snooty auction weekends aren't exciting?

Hit the play button below, for a short overview of this year's festivities, as well as another look at the concepts BMW brought along for the show.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      Mbukukanyau
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am having an Emporor has no clothes moment. We are supposed to love the Bugatti becouse everyone says its cool. But for me, its just not cool, I get rare and expensive, but I would rather see a fully restore Datsun 160 J
      samesk8r
      • 2 Years Ago
      I saw Lauren's Bugatti on display in Boston back in 2005. It was breath taking. It was a lot to take in, a lot of incredible hardware. I would have loved to see the Porsche 959 run a proper rally. Group B, too good and too dangerous to continue.
      vietusa74
      • 1 Year Ago
      I bet it's a tax write off for RL. All he has to do is put it in one of his ad, then it becomes a business expense.
      stevenh
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looking at one of the pictures, the Bugatti seems to be burning a bit too much oil. Wonder how RL really feels inside collecting all those awards when he did absolutely nothing on the car except bankroll the restorations. Hope he shares the prize with the team of rebuilders. Does RL know the difference between a box wrench and an combination wrench? I am sure that he does not even wash or wax the car himself, just has to show up to collect the prize for being able to spend the money.
      Buzzskyline
      • 2 Years Ago
      Man, I have never liked that Bugatti. I know it's supposed to be one of the most beautiful cars ever made. But it looks like a cartoon car to me.
        Tina Dang
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Buzzskyline
        This car is to be respected regardless of how you THINK it looks. Therefore, you like this Bugatti and nothing else needs to be said.
        Matthew Davis
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Buzzskyline
        Personally agree. While I do enjoy the Bugatti a lot, this particular car has been way overexposed on the concours scene for almost a decade. There were several other cars I thought were more deserving of all these awards. I have a feeling it was Lauren approaching the concorso and them being unable to say no. So, he can now check Villa d'Este off the car's long list of awards worldwide. I was not by a long shot the only one present that felt this way. Having the car there as a special celebrated guest but inelligible for awards would have been a better thing to do.
        Justin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Buzzskyline
        You have to look at it in the period context.
        Eduardo Maal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Buzzskyline
        I guess its like some old movies, where you see something and think "that's cliché". No, that's where the cliché came from! This car doesn't look attractive to me, it looks OK. But I guess it must have been revolutionary at its time.
      Vincent Teron
      • 2 Years Ago
      It shows how Eurocentric these competitions are that the 1979 Chevrolet Malibu Station Wagon didn\'t win the Class A \"Gentlefolk of the Road\" prize.
      Dane Grant
      • 2 Years Ago
      I read Ralph Lauren's name... See what cheaply made clothing made in China can get you.... Hate is a strong word, I deeply dislike that creepy man and could careless to continue reading.....
        MotionDesigner
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dane Grant
        You sound like you just want someone to pick on. Look at the tags on the things you own. I bet many of them will say "made in China".
      javier
      • 2 Years Ago
      wow to be rich and be handed awards for being able to afford to restore an already irreplacable car.... good for ralphie
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      What a crappy video host.
      Jon Smith
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm not sure what the big deal is over this car... It just looks alright. The jellybean windows and front end give it a goofy appearance.
        Brodz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jon Smith
        The big deal is; it's gorgeous, it's wonderfully made, and it has racing pedigree. It's a classic Bugatti
      imag
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Bugatti is epic, but still not as cool as RL's Trosky SSK: http://www.autobizz.com.my/forum/forum/Mercedes-Benz/966-Mercedes-Benz-Count-Trossi-SSK.html In fact, his collection is so good, it's ridiculous. http://fashionnews.zalando.co.uk/2011/06/08/i-wanna-be-a-billionaire-so-fricking-bad/
      Teleny411
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Bugatti is quite sinister.
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