Cernobbio, 23rd - 25th of May
After the class of the coupĂ© certainly a class for 1950s open
sports cars could not be missed. On both sides of the Atlantic
these European Spiders, Roadsters and Convertibles were very
popular and the theme â€śFrom St. Tropez to Portofinoâ€ť summed up
the spirit of the time when wealthy industrials and playboy cruised
down to the restaurants and cafĂ©s of the classy summer retreats
at the Cote dÂ´Azure and Riviera.
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All the way from the US came the golden Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS
Cabriolet by Ghia Aigle that was already shown at Pebble Beach
last year. Less far but on its own wheels came the
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster that was originally owned by
one of the most famous Mercedes-Benz race drivers ever, pre-war
Silver Arrow champion Rudolf Caracciola. This car came second
in class in front of its Bavarian counterpart, the BMW 507 making
it obvious that the hosts do not sway the judges in their choice.
The 507 was long time in the shadow of the Roadster with the
three-pointed star but in recent years the Albrecht von Goertz
designed BMW got the recognition it deserves and being much
rarer than the 300 SL prizes got well into the million, just a few
weeks ago a superb example was sold by RM in Amelia Island for
2.4 Mio $.
But it was again the Italian design of Pininfarina that took the top
honours in the class with one of the rare 250 GT California Spider.
As almost every year features on of these elegant Spiders one
could forget that both the long and short wheelbase version was
just build about 50 times. This LWB was originally registered in
Rome before it went to the US for more than 40 years. The
maroon coloured car was awarded Best of Show at last yearâ€™s
Salon PrivĂ© and took Best in Class at the Villa DÂ´Este. Next to it
was the â€śregularâ€ť convertible version of the 250 GT, the Series II
Cabriolet. Once more expensive the comparison with the
California shows that the more spartan versions today are more
sought after; another example is the Lancia B24 America Spider
in the class that is also more popular than the full convertible
version. Just as the Mercedes the intention to build this open
version of the Aurelia came from Max Hoffmann.
Report & Images ... Peter&Wolfgang Singhof
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