THE CORTILE INVITES SOME FRENCH FLAVORS IN 2021
By Bernard Martin, Cortile Director
A few years ago we invited some Maserati-powered Citroën to be on display at the Cortile. It was a very nice compliment to the far end of our field and showcased some really wonderful designs. After much discussion, we’ve decided to make the invitation more permanent by welcoming all French Cars to a unique show area within the Cortile.
All French manufacturers’ cars including Alpine, Bugatti, Citroën, Peugeot and Renault are invited, to not only showcase their cars on the Cortile Showfield but also to join us in lunch and all of the other private festivities at the Cortile.
PUR SANG BUGATTI TO ANCHOR THE SHOWFIELD
The centerpiece of this new feature is going to be a Pur Sang Bugatti. Matt Ferrari has been at the Cortile in the past with his 1981 Ferrari 308 GTSi that his dad bought in 1985. He reached out to us this year asking if we would be interested in hosting the Pur Sang. We jumped at the chance and that led to more discussion about finding an appropriate spot for it and open the door to inviting all the French Marques.
Ettore Buggati was born in Italy but was unable to produce cars there so he moved to France and soon became famous for his Type 35 cars. Built in Molsheim, Alsace, Ettore Bugatti’s diminutive masterpiece racked up nearly 2000 victories in the late 1920s, making it arguably the most successful racing car of all time. Type 35s won the Targa Florio road race in Sicily five times in a row, and the Monaco Grand Prix twice. Excepting the success of Bentleys at Le Mans in the same period, Bugattis dominated racing until the arrival of the Vittoria Jano-engineered Alfa Romeos.
Like Ettore’s original, it still has a handmade single overhead cam, 2.3-liter, supercharged straight-eight with an updraft carburetor feeding a bi-block engine configuration with the head cast into the block. It has alloy wheels that included the brake drums as part of the wheel, a hollow front axle to reduce unsprung weight and the lower part of the engine was a stressed member of the chassis. And, just like the original, all the body panels are hand-rolled on an English wheel, and every square-headed bolt is made by hand just as they were in the 1920s.
Today, Pur Sang, based in Argentina builds their cars to the precise specifications that Ettore Bugatti himself detailed 90 years ago in France.
THE CAR THAT INSPIRED THE FRENCH SHOW: CITROËN SM
Several years ago I invited Dan Heit to bring his Citroën SM to the Cortile to show off the amazing suspension and Maserati motor. Why did Citroën have Maserati Power? Citroën purchased Maserati in 1968 with the intention of harnessing Maserati’s high-performance engine technology to produce a true Gran Turismo car, combining the sophisticated Citroën suspension with a Maserati V6. The result was the Citroën SM, first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1970. Dan’s car is one of the finest examples of this incredible piece of engineering.