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- All About Antiques
- Memorable cars
- Great cars I remember . . .
- There is no doubt in
my mind that a car can be a work of art, and even more so when
there is an individual behind it.
- Most people identify with men like Enzo Ferrari, W.O.
Bentley, Ettore Bugatti - they all started with nothing
and stuck passionately to their individual vision. It shows in
- The Bugatti is a perfect example. Made by an Italian family
of artists and sculptors, the Bugatti cars still take the breath
away. Ettore Bugatti received classical art instruction,
then taught himself engineering and began building racing cars.
- Aesthetics seemed to be as important to him as technology.
His cars have boldly styled bodies, and even the engines look
like modern sculptures.
- The Antlantique was designed by his son Jean in 1936, but
as it passes age 70 it still looks as futuristic as ever. Jean
Bugatti was killed in a car crash and his father lost his
business during the war, but their artistic cars remain as their
- The Antlantique is like no shape I've ever seen - with rounded
contours, and a studded seam along the top, it's truly a remarkable
vision. On a race track today, it can still do 100 mph without
any trouble at all.
- Only three of these cars were ever built. One was demolished
when it got stuck at a railway crossing.
- Ralph Lauren, the fashion designer, owns the second
and I don't know where the third one is, if it exists at all.
I have only seen pictures of the car, and that was enough to
start my heart racing.
- When a young man grows up in North America I think it is
unusual for him not to be car crazy. I can remember vividly to
this day all the cars my father had from the time I was 10 years
- There was a 1940s Hudson coupe, a 1946 Dodge sedan, a 1949
Mercury, a 1954 Buick Century with the port holes on the side
of the hood, and so on.
- In those days, I would sit with my friends and count the
cars that went by. "Look, there goes a Studebaker,"
"There's an Olds," "There's a Lincoln." Now
most cars look alike. If they didn't have the small individual
logos on the trunk, I wouldn't be able to tell a BMW from a Toyota.
- There are, of course, exceptions, and most of those fall
within the sports car world. I remember fondly my own cars of
the past. In the 1950s, it was a Triumph TR3 and in the 1960s
it was a 1963 Stingray Corvette, with the slat in the back window.
- There's nothing like waking up on a nice sunny day and going
for a drive on a country road, putting a good sports car through
its paces. The pleasure is not about trying to go fast - it's
the feeling of handling a thoroughbred: the way it comes around
a corner, the way the mechanism feels when you shift, and, of
course, the roar of the engine.
- Each of the great cars that I remember from the past had
a distinctive character. I can readily call to mind the Alfa
Romeo, the little Morgan, the Long-nosed D-type Jaguar, the Porsche
356 Roadster - some of the most beautiful cars in the world.
- Now cars are sold at auction just like works of art, and
the prices they command are getting higher and higher. As they
become expensive antiques I hope all of them don't get taken
off the road. It would be sad to see them all locked up in large
storage vaults or glass cases - after all, they were designed
to be driven.
- Peter Green, founder of Asheford
Institute of Antiques, an antique and appraisal home-study-school,
and owner of South Meadow Farm Antiques in Muskoka, ON, is a
syndicated antique columnist.
- Other columns: Issue
80 - Issue 79 - Issue 78 - Issue
76 - Issue 75