Saved from the scrapyard: The staggering Righini Collection

Tucked away in a 15th Century castle outside Modena is one of the world’s most exceptional private car collections. But perhaps even more impressive than the location, and the treasures it holds within, is how many of the centrepieces were saved from the adjoining scrapyard…

During WWII, the Italian government sent many ‘expired’ cars, motorcycles, trucks and tractors to the Righini family scrapyard, where they would be reduced back to their raw materials. However, the family had the foresight to save some of the more significant machines from tragic terminations – and these became the basis of the remarkable Righini Collection that exists today.

Salvaged showpieces

When Mario Righini assumed control of the family business post-War, he began adding to the collection. Highlights include the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 that Nuvolari piloted to victory at Monza and the Targa Florio in 1933, an Auto Avio Costruzioni Type 815 (the first car Enzo Ferrari built after leaving Alfa Romeo), and an ex-Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 312 T4. As you might expect, the majority of the collection comprises Italian machinery, but you can also find such gems as a BMW 328 and a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster. Regardless of origin, each car from the 350-strong collection is either lovingly restored (just take a look at that Ferrari 500 Mondial Spyder), or faithfully preserved.

Decrepit art

Considering the wealth of riches held within the pair of old horse stables (split into pre- and post-War displays), it’d be easy to lose yourself in a trance of wonder for hours. But during his flying visit, Classic Driver’s on-location photographer Rémi Dargegen ventured beyond the old stables and found himself in the grounds of the still-operational scrapyard. The old engines, wheels and gearboxes he found there might not be as instantly eye-catching as the fleet inside, but they’re equally spine tingling. Browse though the extended gallery above to share Rémi’s experience.

Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2014 

Want to build a fleet to rival that of the Righini Collection? You can find thousands of important classic cars for sale in the Classic Driver Market.