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Cernobbio, 23rd - 25th of May

The third and last pre-war class featured the following decade of the 1930s. Named “Gone with the Wind” it described the tendency to streamlining in the 1930s, maybe the biggest step in automobile designs from the more vintage look of the 1920s with huge radiators and steep windscreens.

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Star of this class was the small Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Grand Sport with Aprile Spider body brought by Italian architect Corrado Lopresto. Known for his exquisite collection of Italian one-offs and prototypes Lopresto already showed his latest treasure on the other side of the Atlantic but it was on home pastures where the car shone most. With very elegant lines the car was a crowd puller and it did not just win its class but also every public vote possible, from the Coppa D´Oro at the Villa D´Este to the public vote at the Villa Erba and certainly the kids choice award, not surprisingly with its lovely smile of the radiator inspired by the latest Alfa Romeo racer, the Alfetta. The Aprile Spider was originally born as a “standard” 6C 1750 GS Zagato but after a crash in the late 1930s the car was rebodied to the current form by Aprile. When Lopresto acquired the car a total restoration was needed and presenter Simon Kidston pointed out at the award ceremony in front of the hotel that Lopresto and his restoration team put in some efforts to find the original blue colour. As the car was repainted later in its life and the original pictures were all black & white it was the analysis of the blue colour on the Alfa badge on the pictures and its comparison to the paint to get the right shade of blue. Certainly this would have been also a deserved winner for the Best of Show as it was maybe the only true Concours car in its best sense but most likely the rebody to a later design was not to the taste of the jury. Less aerodynamic and certainly miles away from the Aprile design was the Mercedes-Benz 500 K Cabriolet A with work body. The Mercedes still featured the huge vertical radiator in V-shape that was the trademark for the supercharged cars both of the six- and the eight-cylinder line. Still the clean design of the two-seater cabriolet with the floating rear was a first sight of streamlining in the 500K although this was certainly more of aesthetic reasons than to reduce the drag. The same could be said for the Bugatti T57 as the Ventoux by Gangloff also features the typical vertical horseshoe radiator.

More streamlined are the lines of the two Lancia, an Astura and an Aprilia, both designed by Pinin Farina. Especially the short chassis 233C was a superb design with the covered rear wheels, the drop-shaped wings and the chromed radiator that seems to float over the entire bonnet to the foldable windscreen. This particular car was shown at the Milan Motor Show by Pinin Farina in 1936 and was already presented several times by its American Owner at the big shows of Pebble Beach, Amelia Island and even at the Mar-a-Lago Classic Sports Sunday at Palm Beach. Unfortunately the trip over the Atlantic was not rewarded with a class award but the jury honoured the sensitive restoration of this important Lancia.

The only real streamliner in this category was the BMW 328 by Wendler. In the 1930s BMW started to build small race cars to run in the smaller classes, the most successful was the 328 with its 2-litre engine. On many race tracks the car won its class in standard roadster form, the Mille Miglia even overall with the streamlined Touring bodies. A step further went this car as it was developed by Freiherr von Koenig-Fachsenfeld, a capacity on aerodynamics; Fachsenfeld became famous when he developed the aerodynamic version of the Mercedes-Benz SSKL that won in the hands of von Brauchitsch at the Avus 1932 when the car was already dated. Long before modern wind tunnels proved the effectivity of his design Fachsenfeld had a natural talent on how a car must look like to be slippery in the wind. His version of the BMW 328 might not be the prettiest but with a lot attention to details (just look at the radiator) it is very interesting to look at. In later years Fachsenfeld was also involved in another 328 project, the Kamm Coupe that is run by BMW Classic as a reconstruction on various events, the Wendler Coupé was runner up in this class.

Report & Images ... Peter&Wolfgang Singhof


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