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Florence, 28th - 29th of September

Last weekend in September saw this year's edition of the Uniques Special Ones Concours d´Elegance in Florence, Italy. Held in the Giardino della Gherardesca, this garden of the Florence Four Seasons Hotel is an oasis of rest in the busy touristic capitol of Tuscany as the city of the Medici attracts millions of visitors every year to the Uffizi Gallery, the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore or the famous Ponte Vecchio. Already for the third time the organizing MAC-Group, known for their Targa Florio event or the last five editions of the Mille Miglia, invited international collectors to show their priced treasures in this luxurious ambience of the five star hotel.

The international jury led by Adolfo Orsi and Tom Tjaarda had the task to pick out the best of no less than 84 cars in 12 different classes displayed on the lawn on Saturday morning. Unlike in other concours two separate group of judges had to rate the cars in restoration and originality on the one side and styling on the other.

The first class was dedicated to the Elegance of the Thirties, the typical concours class for European coach built classics. All the way from Lithuania came a duo of Erdmann&Rossi bodied cars, a Maybach SW38 and a Rolls-Royce Wraith. Whereas Erdmann&Rossi was a logical choice for the elegant Maybach in that period the British-German “collaboration” on the Rolls was very unusual in the time just a few months before the outbreak of the war. Both cars were represented by the owners family in period fashion but star of the class was the Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Pescara Spyder by Touring. The car belonged to no less than the Duce himself and the car was entered in the 1936 Mille Miglia by Mussolini´s personal chauffeur in a special class for alternative fuel. The car was already shown in this year´s Concorso d´Eleganza at the Villa d´Este were it was reported that during the restoration of the car a few years ago a separate fuel tank for normal fuel was found showing that they cheated back then. The car won both the price in Styling and overall class and became one of the nominee for Best of Show.

With this participation in the Mille Miglia this leads to the pre- war sports car class. The Bugatti T40 Cabriolet Gangloff in untouched condition was not really in concours condition and not in running order but it showed that patination gets more and more important in the concours scene as well. A rare sight was the Bentley 4 Litre Vanden Plas. Back in 1930 Bentley produced the very expensive 8 Litre model that was not sold in large numbers due to the depression and so a cheaper version with a smaller 4 Litre straight six was introduced in the same chassis. Although the smaller unit produced a solid 120 bhp many thought the heavy chassis was underpowered and just 50 examples were built before Bentley was taken over by Rolls- Royce. Today many of these chassis are up rated to 8 Litre or basis for specials, the car on display was still in its original configuration with an Vanden Plas tourer body. The class was won by the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza in Swedish colours, this well used example is a regular sight both on the race track and road rallies.

Whereas before the war the centre of coachbuilding was Paris with many known companies like Saoutchik or Figoni the Italian design became more and more important in the 1950s. Still Touring but also Pinin Farina, Bertone or Ghia were responsible for some of the most elegant cars of this era as can be seen in class 3. Touring with the Superleggera principle was one of Alfa Romeo´s favourite coachbuilders before the war and when Enzo Ferrari started his own business after the war many of the early Ferrari were bodied by Touring as well just as the 166 Inter Coupé (Chassis 015S) on show. Today Pinin Farina is especially known to be the designer for Ferrari but well before Pinin bodied the first prancing horse in 1952 his bodies graced the Maserati A6 1500 or the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Coupé. The one-off Alfa was brought to Florence by Italian collector Corrado Lopresto who is known for his special taste in special bodied cars and prototypes. Few other collectors match the name “Uniques Special Ones” better than Lopresto and his cars are regularly shown on concours all over the world. The 6C was shown on both sides of the Atlantic and was awarded with several Class award and even Best of Show trophies. At Uniques this car had a clean sweep winning it Class in Style, Originality and Restoration plus Overall and it was no surprise that it was one of the three nominees for Best of Show as we will see later.

One of the biggest classes this year were the Fifties Berlinettas. Beside an Italian quintet two Aston Martin were displayed including one of the DB2 Factory Team Cars. The most successful of the works entered DB2 won its class on two successive Le Mans races as well as at the Mille Miglia during its active racing career. More importantly it was kept in original unrestored condition throughout its life and its current owner spend a lot of time and money after its purchase at RM Auctions London sale 3 years ago to preserve the patina and keep it in well sorted driving condition. Also in completely original condition was the class winning Ferrari 250 GT Europa that covered just about 14000 km from new. The car was just sold by its long time owners, two brothers who had the car from 1966, they joined the current owner during the winners ceremony.

Beside the wonderful Maserati A6G54 Zagato the class included three Fiat V8 powered cars, the 8V both in Rapi and Zagato configuration plus an even rarer Siata 208 CS by Balbo.

The Sports Car Class of the 1950s was won by an Aston Martin DB3S. The DB3S was built in two series, the factory cars and the customer cars. The car on display was the last chassis built in the works configuration but was never entered by the factory but sold to a friend of team manager John Wyer. The car was regularly seen at historic races in the past years before it was bought by its current owner to enter in the modern Mille Miglia. It is now decorated with yellow wheel arches just as the factory entries back in the days when this colour accent was added to differ the cars early when entering the pits. Runner up in this class was the Ferrari 340 America Spider Vignale that was a true factory car with works entries at the Mille Miglia, the Bern GP and Le Mans (although not very successfully). It was modified with a Berlinetta roof before it was sold to the USA in the mid 1950s where it stayed until 1999. Back than the owner of the 8C Monza mentioned earlier started a restoration back to the open configuration, now after another refurbishment the car is shown in its Mille Miglia configuration were it was entered earlier this year.

Another Vignale bodied early Ferrari was announced but the 212 Export was unfortunately a no show.

Another class to be mentioned was the hill-climber class including a Lancia Stratos that was raced by the factory at the Targa Florio just as the Alfa Romeo T33/2 Spider a few year before. Later this car was modified from the original coupé to the spider configuration by Autodelta to be entered at hill- climbs. Later it was in the famous Rosso Bianco Collection in Aschaffenburg (Germany) were it was part of the biggest Alfa Romeo race car collection outside the factory museum. At Florence it was presented together with some of the original trophies won during its active career.

The class was won by the Ferrari Dino 166/206P that already won Best of Show at the Bensberg Classics a few weeks earlier and therefore is a contender for the Louis Vuitton Concours award at the end of the year. Although the car was used in various historic races in recent years it still is in good original condition and the new owner replaced many of the competition parts back to the original parts that came together with the car when he took it over a few months ago. Just before the Unique Special Ones Concours the original windscreen was reinstalled including the original Targa Florio stickers were it raced in 1969 and 1970. As the current owner is very interested in the history of his cars and loves to enter them on the original showplaces it would not be a surprise if we see the car on a future edition of the MAC Targa Florio.

But first it was awarded with the class award and entered the winners circle as one of three nominees for the Best of Show alongside the Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Pescara and the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Pinin Farina.

Traditionally the Concours features a special display for a coachbuilder in the center of the lawn. After a huge display for Zagato last year this year showed the work of Bertone. Beside several classic cars including a duo of Lamborghini Miura the display featured several concept cars including the latest Nuccio that was presented together with Lilli Bertone, Nuccio´s widow. The oldest concept car was the Lancia Sibilo that was sold last year at the Villa d´Este when the Bertone Collection was auctioned by RM.

Zagato has chosen the Uniques Special Ones for the European premier of the all new BMW Zagato Roadster. After the presentation of the Coupé at the Villa D´Este earlier this year BWM and Zagato realized an open version of this new model within just a few weeks. But Zagato also reconstructed a classic that disappeared, the little known Zagato version of the Porsche Speedster, a more aerodynamic and even lighter version of the 4-cam driven 356 Carrera.

After a bad weather forecast for the entire weekend the rain just waited until the end of the class award ceremony on Sunday afternoon before it was raining cats and dogs for the rest of the days so the Best of Show presentation had to be relocated to the inside. At the end the judges have chosen the Pinin Farina bodied 6C 2500 SS for Best of Show, a decision that was even approved by the “defeated” nominees as this car united a unique styling with special features like the dual headlamps with a splendid restoration.

Just with the price giving Sandro Binelli, president of the MAC- Group announced that the next edition of the Uniques Concours will not be held in Florence anymore. Although Florence was a great location the event moves on and currently several locations are within the selection for next year including Switzerland, Monaco and even Russia. Let´s wait and see what the final decision will be and when it will be announced, as soon as we know we will let you know. It will also be interesting to see whether the concours will keep the quality when relocated.

Images: Peter & Wolfgang Singhof
Text: Peter Singhof

Class 01 - Elegance in the Thirties
01 1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Coupe Windovers s/n 81JS
02 1935 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Pescara Spider Touring s/n 700635
03 1937 Maybach SW38 Sport Cabriolet Erdmann&Rossi s/n 1947
04 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith 2-door Saloon Erdmann&Rossi s/n WXA106

Class 02 - The Early Sports Cars
05 1927 Bugatti T40 Cabriolet Gangloff s/n 40488
06 1930 Bentley 4 Litre Tourer Vanden Plas s/n VA4089
07 1930 Austin Seven Ulster Sports s/n 125147
08 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza s/n 2211077

Class 03 - Early post-war Italian Coachbuilding Elegance
09 1948 Fiat 1100 S s/n 500211
10 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Coupé Pinin Farina s/n 915769
11 1949 Ferrari 166 Inter Coupé Touring s/n 015S
12 1949 Maserati A6 1500 Pinin Farina s/n 079
13 1950 Lancia Aprilia Coupé Bertone s/n 6687
14 1951 Lancia Aurelia B52 Coupé Bertone s/n B52-1074
15 1951 Stanguellini 1100 Berlinetta Sport Bertone s/n 346389

Class 04 - Moyenne Corniche of the Fifties
16 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Cabriolet Park Ward s/n BC28D
17 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Roadster s/n 1880120023853
18 1959 Rolls-Ryoce Silver Cloud Convertible H.J.Mulliner s/n LSGE466
19 1962 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II Convertible Mulliner Park Ward s/n LSAE639

Class 05 - Fifties Road/Racing Berlinettas
20 1950 Aston Martin DB2 Coupé Factory Team Car s/n LML/50/8
21 1953 Aston Martin DB2/4 Coupé s/n LML/549
22 1953 Siata 208 CS Coupé Balbo s/n CS069
24 1954 Fiat 8V s/n 106.000102
25 1954 Fiat 8V Berlinetta Zagato s/n 106.000059
26 1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT Pinin Farina s/n 0409GT
27 1955 Maserati A6G/54 Berlinetta Zagato s/n 2107

Class 06 - La dolce vita
28 1948 Lancia Aprilia Convertible Bertone s/n 439-11667
29 1949 Jaguar XK 120 Roadster s/n 670003
30 1952 Cisitalia 202 SC Stabilimenti Farina s/n 183SC
31 1954 Arnolt Bristol De Luxe Roadster Bertone s/n 404X3097
32 1955 Lancia B24 Spider Pinin Farina s/n B24-1012
33 1961 Jaguar E-Type 3.8 Roadster s/n 875056

Class 07 - Small Barchettas
34 1937 Lancia Aprilia Barchetta Tenconi s/n 39-1320
35 1948 Fiat-Zanussi Fontebasso Sport s/n 5500748
36 1950 Abarth 204A Motto s/n 04
37 1951 Ermini Siluro Sport 1100 s/n 028051

Class 08 - Sports cars of the Fifties
38 1949 Healey Silverstone s/n D1
39 1952 Ferrari 340 America Spider Vignale s/n 0196A
41 1954 Cooper T33 Sports s/n CJ154
42 1956 Aston Martin DB3S s/n DB3S/11

Class 09 - Hill-climbers
43 1969 ATS 1000 Sport Prototipo Fantuzzi s/n 001
45 Ferrari Dino 166/206P s/n 0834
46 1967 Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato s/n 818332-001289
47 1968 Alfa Romeo 33/2 Spider s/n 750.33.014
48 1973 Lancia Stratos Bertone s/n 001512

Class 10 - The Swinging Sixties
49 1961 Jaguar E-Type 3.8 Coupé s/n 860010
50 1962 Bentley S3 Continental Flying Spur Mulliner Park Ward s/n BC44LXA
51 Morgan Plus 4 2-seater Cabriolet s/n 5446
53 1965 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada s/n IA3-0248
54 Ford Mustang GT Convertible s/n 8F03R183481
55 Maserati Ghibli Speciale Ghia s/n 115.366
56 1970 Iso Rivolta Lele Bertone s/n 05210001

Class 11 - Gentlemen´s Small Cars
59 1959 Fiat 600 Coupé Viotti s/n 100617033
60 1967 Austin Mini Pick Up s/n AAU71194909A
61 1967 Morris Mini Minor Traveller Estate s/n MAW4961853

Class 12 - Single-Seaters
62 1948 Cooper MK4 F2 s/n CS100
63 1952 Connaught A Type s/n A6

Bertone Display
64 1978 Lancia Sibilo Bertone s/n S12201
65 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Ramarro
66 1990 Chevrolet Corvette Novola
67 1991 Lotus Emotion
68 1994 Porsche 911 Karisma
69 1999 Alfa Romeo La Bella
71 2011 Jaguar B99 GT
73 2012 Bertone Nuccio

Zagato Display
76 2012 Porsche Carrera Speedster Zagato
77 2012 BMW Zagato Coupé
78 2012 BMW Zagato Roadster

Alfa Romeo Display
23 1954 Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportiva
54 1965 Alfa Romeo Guilia SS Prototipo
74 2012 Alfa Romeo 4C Concept

44 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 4675GT
57 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV
70 2012 Pegani Zonda Clinque Roadster
72 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4
75 2012 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta