The launch of the E-Type Jaguar in Geneva (1961)
Following its introduction in March 1961, Enzo Ferrari is quoted as saying, "Jaguar's E-Type is the most beautiful car in the world"... but that was a year before the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso had been born.
The Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso (1963)
I do not intend to argue that one is more beautiful than the other, I'd be happy with either (or both), but the Lusso is a 'rare beauty', with only 351 examples being delivered during its brief production life that ran between 1962 and 1964, compared to the 70,000 or so E-Types that were made from 1961 until 1974 - by which time it had gained weight and its beauty had begun to fade.
By 1974, the E-Type was not quite as svelte as in its former years
The extraordinary thing about both of these early Jaguars and Ferraris, together with other grand tourers of the 1950s and 1960s, is that their beauty has endured the decades of their lives, and untold sums of money are spent by enthusiasts in preserving it.
A Lusso about to be lovingly restored
Whilst hosting a Mason & Sons promotional event at a classic car show in 2019, our hearts were stolen by an immaculate Series 1 E-Type Fixed Head Coupé whose lithe body was dressed in opalescent gunmetal grey, which complimented flawless skins of blushing rouge hide, together with sparkling chromework and polished, translucent red and amber lenses that shone like precious jewellery wrapped around its waistline.
Arguably the perfect E-Type model and colour combination
There are many lovingly preserved E-Types in the world, but the allure of this particular beauty was enhanced by the stylish accessories that she carried... a pair of custom suitcases, covered in the same luxurious leather as her sumptuous seats. This set her apart: she had real class. It was the automotive equivalent of carrying a Hermés handbag (rather than a nylon rucksack). It was also a reminder of why the Grand Tourers were designed and produced - to travel long distances, at speed, in luxurious comfort... so why not arrive at your destination in style, with belongings neatly packed inside fitted luggage.
The E-Type is road-trip ready
This brief infatuation turned into a long lasting love for the idea of beautifying the beautiful; adding a layer of glamour and sophistication to the raw sex appeal of these sensuous beasts. A decision was made to acquire the historic British automotive luggage brand, Brexton, which began making trunks and suitcases for Rolls-Royce and Bentley in 1920. The brand was officially relaunched at the September, 2021, Hampton Court Palace Concours of Elegance, with a five-piece suitcase set, tailored to fit David Gandy's 1964 Porsche 356C.
Perfectly tailored - as one would expect for Mr Gandy
Several bespoke commissions have since been produced, but to celebrate the first anniversary of Brexton's relaunch, a custom set of luggage has been created for a very special car - a 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso.
Steve McQueen with his 1963 Lusso
For many, the Lusso is the most beautiful and elegant of the Ferrari family, and those that have fallen for her good looks over the years include Hollywood movie stars Steve McQueen and James Coburn. It isn't difficult to understand why.
A clear contender for the most beautiful car in the world
The model for which the luggage has been made, is clothed in silver-grey coachwork, highlighting the graceful body that appears purposeful and athletic, but without the overt muscularity of the E-Type. Beneath her shimmering armour lies supple, ebony-like skin with a soft, smooth touch. Her heart and lungs are as healthy and strong as they look. As she warms, she purrs, and sometimes screams when hot, but she never whines. Altogether, a perfect partner for an adventurous road trip.
A healthy heart and lungs
The current custodian of the car commissioned Brexton to create a set of custom cases that would nestle perfectly within the quilted leather luggage area behind the fronts seats, and be secured by the buckles and straps that were (as with all Lusso models) present since birth. This was a machine that naturally wants to embrace bespoke baggage, but as far as we are aware, it was not a factory option.
Something is clearly missing from this shot
Unlike the Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguars of the period, for which Brexton has patterns, drawings and photographic references, the Lusso luggage had to be designed and built from scratch. Multiple measurements and angle assessments provided the detailed dimensions required to create graphic renderings of the proposed designs. A test case-set was mocked up in craft-board for a trial fitting, after which final adjustments were made to the master pattern. The craftsmen could then progress with the build, and complete the perfect product. It is the automotive equivalent of creating a bespoke suit or couture gown.
The first piece of the puzzle is a perfect fit
Design, fit and quality are the essential ingredients of any bespoke process, but it is the selection of materials that personalise the finished product. The Lusso design brief was to create contrast whilst retaining harmony. If the luggage had been produced to simply match the upholstery, it could've been lost in a sea of blackness. The main body of the cases was therefore covered in a silver-grey leather, that reflected the exterior colour of the car, and trimmed in "Nero Pella" hide to connect with the interior.
The Alcantara lining is subtle and refined
Maintaining an automotive theme, each case was lined in grey Alcantara, then finished with nickel hardware and pins to sit comfortably with the vehicle’s chromework. The final product not only serves a practical purpose, it completes the car, enhancing its appeal. It allows the driver to travel in real style. It beautifies the beautiful.
Beautifying the beautiful with Brexton bespoke luggage
Note: At the time of writing, both of the cars that feature in this article are available for sale. See links below.