It was another majestic week on the Monterey peninsula, with hordes of precious metal out on concours lawns, racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, being auctioned off, and otherwise driving around. But, as is tradition, the always fabulous Monterey Car Week came to a close with the annual crowning of a peerless champion—the coveted Best of Show from the 66th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Honors this year went to the gorgeous 1936 Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet pictured here.
Legendary rock guitarist Eric Clapton once owned the stunning Italian drop-top, an experience he pronounced “the most fun I’ve had offstage and out of bed.”
As of 2009, that pleasure now belongs to Richard Mattei of Paradise Valley, Arizona. The car itself is nicknamed Tipo Bocca—one of six similar cars coachbuilt by Pininfarina for a Lancia dealer located in Biella, Italy. Because of the custom nature of the orders, each came with its own distinctive features and particularities. Tipo Bocca is recognizable for its power top, beautifully engraved side trims traced throughout the body’s timeless design, and curved side glass. Inside you’ll find a basket-woven interior with wood-grained instruments featuring non-metric gauges. For this reason, it’s been deduced that the original buyer was most likely based in England.
The car’s first restoration, by none other than Pininfarina, took place in the 1960s, after the car was discovered in very rough shape. Clapton eventually bought it, only to then sell it back to Pininfarina so the company could show it at its museum. Mattei wasted little time after picking the Lancia up, entering it into the 2010 Gooding & Co. auction at Pebble Beach, where it failed to meet reserve. A significant restoration was to follow, clearly to resounding success.
Now showered with love, adoration, and a many bits of yellow paper, the Astura beat out the two other finalists, a 1931 Stutz DV-32 LeBaron Convertible Victoria and a 1938 Delahaye 165 Figoni & Falaschi Cabriolet.