Merriam-Webster defines, El·e·gance as dignified gracefulness or restrained beauty of style – tasteful richness of design or ornamentation, and these are the very same requirements that it takes for an automobile to win the coveted Best of Show award at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance.
This sleek and sophisticated Lancia which was chosen for the top award at the Concours is owned by Richard Mattei of Paradise Valley, Arizona, who purchased it six years ago and had Jeff McDonald of Canby, Oregon, and his team re-restore it over a period of five years. The identity of the first owner is not known, but was found inside a hedge in England in 1962 and apparently was first delivered to a customer in the UK. Later after a restoration by Pininfarina, it was purchased by Eric Clapton who eventually sold it back to the coachbuilder, and it later ended up here in the US with a private party.
This Third Series 1936 Lancia “Astura” was produced by the Italian automobile manufacturer headquartered in Turin, Italy. It is powered by a sophisticated 181.42 c.i. (2973 cc) s.o.h.c. V-8 engine producing 82 h.p., backed by a four-speed transmission in a 131-inch wheelbase chassis.
It was one of a batch of six cars that a Lancia dealer in Biella, Italy, purchased from the automaker and named them “Tipo Bocca.” All six of the special cars were custom-bodied, and this particular one was sent to Pininfarina, the noted coachbuilder based in Torino, Italy at the time. Battista Farina’s firm designed and constructed the elegant Cabriolet bodywork embelished with avant-garde engraved wrap-around trim work, power top, distinctive windshield, basket weave upholstery, and fender skirts.
The photos are courtesy of Richard Michael Owen.