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Bugatti brings home "Best in Show" prize

When Dartmouth neurologist Peter Williamson, M.D., and his wife, Susan, were looking at properties prior to moving to the Upper Valley in 1991, she looked at the houses while he checked out the surrounding land. He wanted to make sure there was a good building site for a garage. They found a place in the hills of Lyme, N.H., that suited both their needs. His cars, Williamson notes a tad sheepishly, have a great view.

This sleek 1935 Bugatti, owned by Dartmouth neurologist Peter Williamson, won top honors at the nation's most prestigious car show.

The cars in question are Williamson's collection of Bugattis, known for their superior performance. It's a hobby he's pursued for 35 years. But the cars don't just sit in that garage with the nice view. He drives them regularly and enters them in rallies all over—such as the Colorado Grand, which covers over 1,000 miles in the Rocky Mountains and raises money for a residence for HIV patients. And as president of the Bugatti Club of America, Williamson has for the past five years organized a rally right in the Upper Valley. The last weekend in September, some 30 Bugattis and their owners gather on the Green in Lyme. The rally lasts three or four days, with the assembled group heading out for morning and afternoon drives punctuated by leisurely lunches at area inns.

Williamson, who is director of the DHMC Epilepsy Program, shows his cars as well. In fact, he recently won the automotive equivalent of the World Series: the "Best in Show" prize at the country's most prestigious car show—the Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance in California. There, he rubbed elbows on the world-renowned golf course with the likes of Jay Leno and Ralph Lauren (with whose Bugatti Williamson's went head gasket- to-head gasket for the show's top award). Williamson's entry— a rare 1935 model—beat out some 250 other cars, including 40 other Bugattis. Delighted with the experience and the prize, Williamson says simply, "It was fun." K.F.B.

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