The Art of the Automobile: Ralph Lauren Collection, Bugatti, Bentley, and more

 This car is known for its rarity and secrecy as one of the hardest to find and most expensive Ferraris ever produced.

Masterpieces of the Ralph Lauren Collection

Beauty and utility combine in Ralph Lauren’s newly curated collection of classic high-profile sports cars. The collection, curated by RodolpheRapetti, showcases 17 rare and prestigious sports cars manufactured and designed between the 1930s and 1990s. The exhibit entitled “The Art of the Automobile: Masterpieces of the Ralph Lauren Collection” aims to portray the evolution of car design in the 20th century, presenting the automobile as a work of art and not just a method of transportation.

The exhibit, which will be presented at The Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, France through August 28, will be designed by sceneographer Jean-Michel Wilmotte.  It captures the most innovative, elegant and powerful cars of the past century, represented by brands such as Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Porsche and Ferrari. Stars like Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Sophia Loren, ZsaZsa Gabor, and Glen Ford have driven these cars, as well as Award winning drivers Rodger Penske, Augie Pabst, Richie Ginther, and Jackie Stewart. Each car in the collection has been designed and backed by some of the most reputable aristocrats and highly regarded automotive designers in the world.

Bugatti Type 59 Grand Prix
˜ 1933 ˜

This modest and graceful car is considered by some to be the most beautiful racing car ever produced. Its long beveled rear, famous spoked wheels and streamlined body give it an elegant and appealing appearance. Only eight cars of this model have been built.

Bentley Blower
˜ 1929 ˜

This car was originally designed by W.O. Bentley, but it wasn’t until Sir Henry Birkin contributed to the car that it became the powerhouse that it is today. Birkin — a wealthy British motorist and one of the Bentley Boys — suggested the addition of a compressor to Bentley who immediately added the hardware to his design. Because of this add-on, the car is now famously known as the “blower.” This powerful, sturdy and large racing vehicle, adorned with the English flag on its side, was built to win. Ian Fleming appropriately chose this robust automobile for James Bond 007 in his first novels to give his character extra appeal.

Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300
˜ 1931 ˜

This car, which looks both tough and congenial, is proof that opposites attract. Narrow in the front with headlamps and mudguards to aid in endurance races, it gradually widens towards the rear.

Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic Coupe
˜ 1938 ˜

This sleek and smooth automobile stands apart from the rest with its curved edges and ellipsoidal windows. Sure to turn heads, this rare car features visible seams, round-headed rivets and doors cut out of the roof. The streamlined shape and design of the car as well as all of its unique features make it look like it can glide through the air with ease when racing to the finish line.The Bugatti 57 Atlantic Coupe is one of only four models ever built. There are only two original examples left. The design for the new 2011 Ralph Lauren Automotive Watch is inspired by the wooden dashboard of this car.

Jaguar XK120 Alloy Roadster
˜ 1950 ˜

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall took a great interest in this car early on, pumping up demand for the vehicle and forcing Jaguar to build more than the two hundred models of the car the company originally planned for. The XK120 is one of the few work cars the company built specifically to race. Driver Clemente Biondetti took advantage of the new model when she raced the vehicle in the 1950 Targa Florio and Mille Miglia competitions.

Alfa Romeo 8c 2900 Mille Miglia
˜ 1938 ˜

This elegant racing car won second place in the 1938 Mille Miglia it was designed to compete in. It’s success and style is contributed to the teardrop-shaped mudguards, tapering rear, and symmetrical lines on the bodywork. The cockpit is contained between the hood and short rear.

Ferrari 375 Plus
˜ 1954 ˜

This car was designed and created entirely from the verbal instructions of Ferrari’s official car designer, Pinin Farina. Prior to this vehicle, there were no specific, written plans for this design.

Jaguar XKD
˜ 1955 ˜

This car, which won three consecutive victories between 1955 and 1957 at the Le Mans 24 hours and Nurburgring, won the most awards at the time. This car most closely resembles a fighter plane and is known for its curved hood and back aileron. Patricia Coundley drove this car in 1964 to become the fastest female driver in Europe.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing Coupe

˜ 1995 ˜

Sophia Loren, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Glen Ford and musician Skitch Henderson all adored this car, which takes its name from the doors that open upwards like wings. The luxurious and leisurely brown leather interior of the Gullwing Coupe inspired the design for the Ricky Quilted Handbag in 2007, and the comfortable Bond Street Bed in 1998.

Porsche 550 Spyder
˜ 1955 ˜

This car, extrapolated from the Porsche 356 and Volkswagen Beetle, is easy on the eyes and perfect for a high-energy afternoon drive to the races. As one of the first competition Porsches ever made, the Spyder is a light, open sports car, meant to be fast and easy to handle. James Dean passed away in this car on the way to a sports car race in California.

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
˜ 1958 ˜

Sergio Scaglietti, one of Ferrari’s most talented coachbuilders, designed the Testa Rossa with his signature style — a long chassis with a torpedo-like body, a headrest emerging from the bodywork and streamlined headlamps. The car, Testa Rossa or “red head,” gets its name from the red camshaft covers of the V12 engine.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Scaglietti
˜ 1960 ˜

This car, known for its short wheelbase, is a “mixed” vehicle perfect for casual use as well as competitive racing. Owners can choose between a steel bodywork and luxury interior for long, leisurely drives, or an aluminum bodywork and stripped interior for high-energy races. This aluminum car has never before been seen on exhibit and is best for high-performance long distance driving.

Jaguar XKSS
˜ 1956/1958 ˜

In 1956, Jaguar decided to halt its production of racing cars, but with 25 D Types unsold, Briggs Cunningham convinced the company to convert them into sports cars instead. Jaguar decided to do this by removing the rear fin and center division between the passenger and driver and adding a passenger door, windscreen, side windows, folding top, luggage rack, and bumpers. When the cars were being altered at the manufacturer, however, a massive fire broke out after only 16 cars had been completed. The car on display is one of the original two D Types that were salvaged from the fire.

Ferrari 250 GTO
˜ 1962 ˜

This car is known for its rarity and secrecy as one of the hardest to find and most expensive Ferraris ever produced. Many imitations later appeared based on the car’s unique design and appealing style. Most notably, it features the roof gradually tapering towards the back of the car. Famous drivers such as Pedro & Ricardo Rodriguez, Rodger Penske, Augie Pabst and Richie Ginther have driven this car to multiple first place awards.

Ferrari 250 LM
˜ 1964 ˜

The LM, which was originally intended to replace the GTO, marks a significant change in Ferrari’s history of car design. With the introduction of this vehicle, Ferrari switched from a front engine car design to a mid-engine design, with the V12 located right behind the driver’s seat. This car finished first in Surfers’ Paradise 12 hours in 1966 with young Jackie Stewart at the helm.

McLaren LM
˜ 1996 ˜

This car owes part of its name to the success it received at the Le Mans (LM) race in 1995. At this race, five of the cars placed — one in 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th — which lead to production of the five car F1 LM series. A sixth car in this series was created as a prototype to honor famous race-car designer, driver, engineer and inventor, Bruce McLaren. The car is painted papaya orange in his memory and features a 12-cylinder V engine from BMW with 691 HP. This record-breaking car accelerates from 0 to 100 mph in 5.9 seconds. This car inspired the contemporary look of the RL-CF1 Chair.