The Little Concours Of Luxembourg Celebrates The Marque Of Ettore Bugatti
Photography by Gaëtan Brunetti
When we think about the famous places tied to famous automobiles, Luxembourg doesn’t jump to the front of the list. This country is better known for its banking system and its tiny geographical footprint than it is for anything car-related. But where there is money there are cars of course, and this little plot on the map holds a healthy amount of enthusiasts with some special metal. Each year, at the commune of Mondorf-les-Bains, a small but significant concours is held in the gardens of the spa town, and in 2017 the show was centered around the celebration of Bugatti.
For this theme, many of the marque’s popular pre-war cars were united to show the early talents of Ettore Bugatti and his engineers. His cars and those bearing his name are icons in the history of motorsport, and while the Type 35 is a distant relative of something like the Chiron, the manufacturer has always been held in high regard. We prefer the older stuff to the new supercars though, and there was plenty of this heritage to be seen in Luxembourg. The highlight for me was a trio of Type 41s, with one Weymann-bodied car mid-restoration, an Esders, and a Packard from 1926. The last of which is an extremely imposing car in person, complete with its massive 12.7-liter 8-cylinder under the expansive hood. Also of note in this area of the show was a Type 57S Atalante, one of the most elegant and graceful forms to come from any country and any era in my opinion.
Adjacent to this lawn I came across a host of other Bugs, including Type 16s, 35s, 51s, and even a Type 52 “Baby” taking in the bright sun in the gardens. I know pre-war cars aren’t typically the most popular of the vintage variety, but the good ones are those that I think deserve more attention from the younger generations. They aren’t archaic, and the degree of early mechanical aptitude living in these cars is remarkable on one hand, and easy enough to understand and grasp from even a novice perspective on the other. The shapes are also worth more investigation, as cars like these help us see the transitions between the big early road coaches to the earliest open-wheeled racing cars. Their torpedo forms and the craftsmanship that goes into their construction is timelessly captivating, even if the naming convention isn’t.
It wasn’t all Bugattis though, as a few Lamborghinis showed up to bring some ‘70s Italian flair to the day in the form of Miuras and Countach and Espadas, with even an early Lambo farm tractor making an appearance alongside its more rapid brethren. And moving forward a few more years to the early ‘80s, there was an excellent example of Alpina’s early turbo tuning days: the B7 S Turbo coupe. The E24 is such a sharp and angular car already, and its form is perfectly suited to the line-enhancing pinstripes of the famous German BMW tuner.
Overall, there were roughly 100 cars on display, ranging from the ultra rare to the common staples of affordable vintage motoring, and it just goes to show you that there is more than just golden treasures stored away in these small alpine locales.