Richard Mattei of Paradise Valley, Arizona, commissioned the restoration that made the car a winner in Pebble Beach. Jim Stokes Workshops of England did the mechanical work, while Jeff McDonald of Portland, Oregon, performed the rest of the restoration. The process took seven years, and the unusual curved side winders were especially troublsesome, requiring more than 100 man hours per window to be polished to their original clarity. All that work paid off. Not only this car win the Best of Show honors, but it also garnered the Most Elegant Convertible award and the Vitesse Elegance Award for the most elegant French car at the show.
Mattei commissioned Hyman, Ltd. of St. Louis, Missouri, to sell the car. The sale was announced on March 3rd and it sold on March 9th to an undisclosed buyer. The car had come full circle because Mattei had purchased it from Hyman in 2009.
1936 Lancia Astura “Tipo Bocca” Cabriolet
This Lancia is not only stunningly beautiful, but also extremely rare, and it has an interesting history as well. It is one of just six examples ever built. The body was by the legendary firm Pinin Farina, and it featured a power top, curved glass windows, skirted rear fenders, and engraved side trim. The original owner is unknown, but the story picks up in 1960, when Michael Scott found the car in a hedge in England and bought it for 15 pounds sterling. A friend showed pictures of the car to Battista "Pinin" Farina, who had drawn the body and who agreed to restore the body if Scott could get the mechanicals back in working order.
Scott eventually sold the car to Battista Farina, and in 1976 it was sold to legendary guitarist Eric Clapton for 10,800 pounds sterling, who exclaimed it's "the most fun I've had off stage and out of bed." Clapton sold it back to Pininfarina, who displayed in its museum for years.
And that takes us back to Hyman buying the car, Mattei buying it from them, and the restoration.
We hope we haven't seen the last of this fantastic piece of automotive history. Perhaps it will wind up back on the classic car circuit or in a museum. No matter what, the new owner obviously has an incredible car on his/her hands.