Ralph Lauren's 1938 Bugatti won the Coppa D'Oro at the Villa d'Este Concourse d'Elegance.
LUCA CIFERRI

Ralph Lauren's Bugatti shows fascination with cars definitely is not dying

Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
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We keep hearing that the iPod generation doesn't care as much about cars as their fathers and grandfathers. That theory was proved wrong over the weekend during the 2013 Villa d'Este Concourse d'Elegance in Como, Italy.

Fashion designer Ralph Lauren's 1938 Bugatti Atlantic was voted Best in Show by visitors to the event -- including those under 16 years old.

The victory for the 75-year-old car reaffirmed my believe that cars will never be downgraded to the lowly status of replaceable electronic device, even if advancements in technology are turning yesterday's breakthroughs into tomorrow's garbage.

My 19-year-old son has only listened to his music on MP3 players. He does not even know why the Sony Walkman existed or understand the effect it had on personal portable music when it arrived in 1979.

Like so many personal electronic devices, the Walkman was made obsolete at the speed of light because something radically better arrived.

This does not happen for cars such as Lauren's classic, which left me speechless when I got to see it up close. This is one of only three surviving Bugatti 57SC Atlantics. It is not a car, it's a sculpture that can be put into motion. The Atlantic easy won the Coppa D'Oro (Gold cup) at the Villa d'Este Concourse d'Elegance and swept all other voting for awards at the event.

Could you imagine being rendered speechless 30 years from now if you got an up-close look at one of the last-surviving Apple I's? I can't, even if an Apple I just sold for a record 516,461 euros at auction.

By comparison, a Bugatti 57SC Atlantic is worth about 30 million euros.

Timeless Miura

Another car that really impressed me during Europe's most prestigious classic car event was a light blue Lamborghini Miura SV. With a slight change to the tire/rim combination on the wheels, this car would fit comfortably alongside any supercar on the road today when it comes to its looks.

That timelessness is an amazing achievement for a car that was unveiled in March 1966. When the Miura turns 50 in three years it will surely be recognized as an example of understated elegance that makes some of today's over-designed sports cars appear embarrassingly gaudy.

Instant classic?

Finally, it is always risky to judge a car at first sight, but sometimes you have to make an exception.

When the Lake Como sunset cast a shining light on the just-unveiled BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe, I got the feeling that regardless of whether it goes into limited production or remains just a concept, this car is an instant classic that will be remembered for years to come.

You probably can't say that about most products that debuted at the last big electronics show.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com.

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