Mona Lisa's cars

  • 30 September 2020
  • 3 min read
  • 5 images
Mona Lisa's cars

The famous designer Ralph Lauren, who finds inspiration for the elegance of his fashion collections in the beauty of the pieces of his car collection, calls the pavilion where he conserves them and from where he starts when he uses them, the Garage. And use them he does, personally, and very often.

The-Art-of-the-Automobile Ralph Lauren rightly proud of the splendid exhibition at the Louvre in 2011 alongside the charming Bugatti Atlantic.

In 2011, however, Ralph Lauren decided to share a part of his collection with the world: 17 cars to be precise, displaying them at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs within the Palais du Louvre, in Paris. The exhibition had a title worthy of the place: “L'art de l'automobile: Chefs-d'oeuvre de la collection Ralph Lauren” (The Art of the Automobile: Masterpieces of the Ralph Lauren Collection).

1034155 The lion’s share of the exhibition was dedicated to Ferrari. In this photo over €100m in value: a 250 GTO, a Testarossa and a 250 LM, all celebrated and victorious.

Visitors to the exhibition who entered this dreamworld were welcomed by the queen of the collection: the 1938 Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic. Chassis number 57591 was the last of the four originally produced and was awarded best of the show at the 1990 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

1034149 England and Germany: the Jaguar D-Type with multiple-victories at Le Mans and the small Porsche 550 RS.

The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, the most coveted Ferrari by the great collectors and full of track glory, was certainly no less important. The other Ferrari models on display each had its own impressive pedigree: the 250 GT Berlinetta SWB dominated the legendary Tour de France race for three years (1960-1962), The 250 Testa Rossa won at Le Mans on three occasions (1958, 1960 and 1961), the 375 Plus, produced in just five examples, won the 24 Hours in 1954, while the 250 LM took home the final victory of the Cavallino on the French circuit in 1965.

32461_original Three steps into the past: from left, the Bentley Blower, in the background the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza and on the right, the Mercedes-Benz SSK made exclusively for Count Trossi.

Alongside the many Ferraris, beloved by the fine designer, visitors to the Paris exhibition were also able to admire the Jaguar D-Type (three consecutive victories between 1955 and 1957), and the Bentley Blower, with its massive bodywork that, paradoxically, does nothing to reduce its sporting character. Next to her, another rare pre-war model: the 1930 Mercedes SSK “Count Trossi”. This car was commissioned in England on the basis of a project suggested by its Italian owner, the aristocratic and enthusiastic Count Carlo Felice Trossi. Perhaps it was because of the charm of the cars or the name of the distinguished designer, but rumour has it that at night with the doors firmly closed, the Mona Lisa herself went to admire them!

3788fc0eec23fc275c1704d837b5014f The exhibition wouldn’t have been complete without the aristocratic Alfa Romeo. Here the 8C 2900 Mille Miglia, so beloved by Ralph Lauren and the 8C 2300 Monza wearing the shield of Scuderia Ferrari.