These Bonhams Padua sale stars are as rare as they are beautiful
What’s better than a fast and beautiful Italian sports car? A rare, fast and beautiful Italian sports car, that’s what – and there’s a whole load of those about to come up for sale in Italy.
Rare home-grown cars are definitely the stars at Bonhams inaugural Italian auction during Auto e Moto d’Epoca, Italy’s largest classic motor show, in Padua on October 28th.
Read on for our pick of Italian beauties that are rare as well as ravishing…
One of 21
1965 OSCA 1600 GT Berlinetta
It’s a what? Reply that it’s an OSCA and most people will look blank – until perhaps you explain that it’s what the Maserati brothers did after they established Maserati. OSCA’s mission was to go racing but by the 1960s they needed a road car so came up with the 1600 GT, powering it by the same twin-overhead cam 1.6 they supplied for Fiat sports cars. One hundred and twenty-eight were made in total, but only 21 of them were coupes by Carrozzeria Fissore, and in this form, the first OSCA GT is an undeniable beauty. It’s said today that only a handful survive – you are certainly unlikely to come across another… even in a Goodwood car park.
One of four
1963 Fiat-Abarth Monomille GT
You’d be odds on to confound even Abarth fans if you turned up in this rarity. It is one of just four known survivors of Carlo Abarth’s first road car, a pocket-sized GT based on the Fiat 600D. Despite its humble mechanical origins, hand-made aluminium coachwork by Sibona & Basano ensured it didn’t come cheap – more than a Porsche 356 when new! Called Monomille after its single cam, 1000cc engine, its 60bhp mill was good for around 110mph. Not many were sold new and today it’s a real rarity.
One of 50
1967 de Tomaso Vallelunga
We all know the Pantera and Mangusta, but the daddy of all de Tomaso road cars is the Vallelunga. Named after the Italian circuit where Alessandro de Tomaso raced, it was his first try at building a road car. Around 50 of the pretty mid-engined coupes were made, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and made by Ghia. Clad in a fibreglass body over a backbone chassis, the Vallelunga was powered by nothing more than a pushrod 1.5-litre Ford Kent four-pot, though in other ways it was sophisticated with independent wishbone suspension, rack-and-pinion steering and all-disc brakes. It’s thought this car, which hails from a de Tomaso collection, is completely unrestored and original.
Fewer than 400 Zagato-bodied Flaminia Sports were made, and only a small proportion of those were to Super Sport 3C spec', complete with triple Webers. The fact that the more powerful V6 is in a body with faired-in front end makes this beauty even rarer and possibly unique, says Bonhams. Advanced Lancia engineering (de Dion rear end, disc brakes) meets streamlined Zagato “double bubble” styling (by Ercole Spada) in a 130mph coupe – nothing not to like them, and it’s even in its original Lancia blue with red Connolly hide. This 3C has been restored – and has receipts for €180,000 to prove it.
One of 448
2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta
To mark Pininfarina’s 70th birthday in 2000 then-Ferrari chief Luca di Montezemolo asked Sergio Pininfarina to design a special model to recall great Ferrari road-racers of the past. The maestro came up with a simple and unadorned Barchetta body based on the front-engined 550 Maranello coupe. Ferrari made 448 of the 485bhp V12 roadsters and, says Bonhams, they rarely come up for sale. This car, number 341, was delivered new to Germany, has covered 43,000 km and is complete with €18,000 worth (!) of aftermarket hard-top, making it even rarer.
One of 242
1960 Maserati 3500 GT Vignale Spyder
Here’s a glamorous Italian soft-top you don’t see every day. With film star looks and plenty of exquisite engineering – tubular chassis frame and 250F-derived twin-overhead cam six with 220bhp – the luxury 2+2 convertible by Vignale gives away nothing to Aston, Ferrari and Mercedes rivals from the time. This UK registered left-hooker (original home: Los Angeles) has the later ZF five-speed ‘box, was subject to a Concours-standard repaint in 2003 and has been looked after since by noted UK Maserati specialists, McGrath. Star quality or what?
One of… one?
1957 Lancia Appia C80S
Stylish support van for a team running Italian cars at Revival? It’s made for it, isn’t it? This is a Lancia Appia C80S van – or furgonata in Italian, which sounds a lot better than van. And it’s a rarity in Italy, and in all probability unique in the UK. Was there ever a commercial vehicle as classy as this? The Appia, launched in 1953, took Lancia’s innovative approach to ever greater heights with a twin-cam narrow-angle V4 engine; the best of the Appias in saloon form could touch 100mph. The furgonata might not hit the ton but it is just as advanced. This one started its working life with a hardware store near Milan and has had only two owners since, the current one since 1987.