Cars from the Ralph Lauren collection

at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, February27, 2005

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1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

About 20 cars from Ralph Lauren's collection of exotic cars are on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  Each one has been meticulously restored to flawless condition.  These cars represent the highest level of style and function.  The oldest is a 1929 Blower Bentley, the newest is a 1996 McLaren F1.  All appeal to the esthetic senses while being the finest examples of cars built for speed and power.

The display opens officially on March 6, 2005 and runs through July 3, 2005.  Cars are displayed on slightly elevated stands.  There are no ropes or barriers between the viewers and the cars.  You could touch them - and you want to - but you shouldn't.  Surprisingly, photography was permitted as long as you don't use a flash.   I took lots of pictures!

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My wife, Jane, in front of a 1961 Ferrari 250 TR61 Spyder Fantuzzi

We were fortunate to receive an email from the museum inviting members to a preview showing of the cars before the exhibit opens officially.  We went into Boston early on Sunday morning and entered the exhibit before the crowds showed up.   Early is good is you want pictures.

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1955 Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing coupe

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1955 Porsche 550 Spyder.   This is like the car that James Dean had.

Among the other cars at the show which are not pictures here are a 1950 Jaguar XK120 alloy roadster and an extremely rare 1955 Jaguar XKD.  This XKD ran second at Reims in 1956 and sixth at LeMans in 1957.  There were many Bugattis on display, including a race car and several exotic specials. 

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1933 Bugatti  Type 59 Grand Prix racer.  Note the piano wire spokes for the wheels.  This car has mechanical brakes.

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1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic coupe.

porsche55_550spyder_rear_gary.jpg (33918 bytes) The 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder has a 1500 cc engine but weighs only 1500 pounds.  It handles well, drives easily.  This is the model that really launched Porsche to success in the U.S.

One of the cars, a 1958 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Mille Miglia model, just finished restoration - or almost finished.  As I looked under the car, I noted that it was missing its exhaust pipe and a few other details.  I doubt that many people will notice the missing items.  This car finished second in the 1938 Mille Miglia race of 1000 miles, but it was only 2 seconds out of first due to a brake problem that forced it to stop for 14 minutes.

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1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Mille Miglia.  Like all Italian race cars, it is red, red, RED!

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Another red Italian car, a 1954 Ferrari 375 Plus.  An identical car won the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans.


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1996 McLaren F1.  It's rated for 240 mph.  The driver sits in the center, but there are two seats for passengers located just behind the driver on each side.  Want to go for a ride?

If you can get to the museum for the show, it's a great experience.   See http://www.mfa.org for more information, dates, and times of opening.  If you can't go, the gift shop is offering a wonderful "coffee table" book that has magnificent pictures of the cars on display as well as others owned by Ralph Lauren.  The other cars include a 1948 Ford woody and a 1951 Jeep CJ - unrestored.