Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

Last month we had the great pleasure and privilege to join the high profile media outlets, officially reporting 90th edition of the incredible Villa d’Este concours on last weekend of May. Well, due to some last minute change of plans, I went out of luck and couldn’t personally attend the show. But thanks to BMW, we still succeeded to manage for some old, lake Como residing & 355 driving, friends to help and substitute in my spot. So the following gallery is what Luigi & Shirin Oldrini were kind enough to manage their busy schedule for us all and capture from the beauty queens of the concours & RM Sotheby’s auction.

Apart from that Saturday afternoon shower, every thing turned out as glamorous as ever and on Sunday a record number of people were present to enjoy the beauty of the venue and the 54 obsessively picked classic & concept cars to wrap up the most sophisticated classic car show in Europe.

First, enjoy this great video by Jean Marc Antoine 

Glamorous solo

40 weeks after harvesting most of the prestigious awards at the 2018 Pebble Beach; including the best of show, once again, David Sydorick’s immaculate 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B by Touring crowned the best of show at Villa d’Este 2019. We can’t recall any other car winning at least 6 awards at the best of both worlds consequently. Perfect harmony between the public and the Jury of experts enabled the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B to gain a one-two victory at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2019. The stylishly captivating and technically sophisticated two-door coupé from 1937 was crowned overall winner of the world’s most traditional heritage beauty contest for historic vehicles, just one day after its success in the Public Referendum. The event held under the motto “The Symphony of Engines – 90 Years of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este & BMW Automobiles” therefore became a solo for the rare gem from Milan. After winning the Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este, the owner of the vehicle awarded “Best of Show” by the Jury, American David Sydorick, was privileged also to receive the newly designed Trofeo BMW Group.

1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B by Touring

1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B by Touring

The owner of the treasured gem from Milan is now able to enjoy the award of the Trofeo BMW Group for a second time. David Sydorick already won the title of “Best of Show” with another Alfa Romeo from his collection in 2015. “I have won a lot of prizes with my automobiles, but this vehicle really fulfils all my desires. The Best of Show here at Villa d’Este is like receiving a knighthood. My wife and I would like to express our heartfelt thanks for this award,” were the words of the delighted winner at the award ceremony.

Winning Ferraris

Ex-Alain Delon’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder, s/n 2935GT, now owned by Tony Vassilopoulos from the UK, showed up in a surprisingly fresh look since it is now totally restored by no one less than Paul Russel. Of course, it doesn’t look as, let say, significant as it showed off dusty at 2015 Pebble Beach, after it came out of its time capsule of Baillon collection, but it is now really as elegant as it can be sample of the 32 so called most desirable cars in the world. She became the undisputable winner of the Class E: “Swinging Sixties: The Sky’s the limit”. Mention of the honor in this class went to an originally UK delivered racing Ferrari of 1960; The gorgeous 250 GT Berlinetta SWB Competizione, s/n 2009GT owned by William Loughran, recognizable with that British racing green stripe around its nose.

Another class winner was Brian Ross’ 1949 Ferrari 166 Mille Miglia, Barchetta, Touring, s/n 0006M, one of the oldest Ferraris in existence who won Class-G: “Speeding against clock – Endurance Racing Legends”. Incredibly, this same car had won best in class in Villa d’Este once before. but that was 80 years back in 1949 with its first owner, Giovanni Vaccari.

Two other Ferraris also won special jury prizes. First there was one of the most successful Ferraris of all time. the 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Competizione, Alloy Berlinetta by Pininfarina, s/n 9051 of David McNeil from the US who in fact won two Jury prizes; “Trofeo Vranken Pommery or the Most Iconic Car” as well as the “Trofeo dell’ Anniversario for the Best Engine Sound”.

Also, thanks to one James Glickenhaus, the 1970 Ferrari 512S Modulo Concept paid a visit back home to Italy, this time running on her feet with a roaring V12 at heart. No wonder this other worldly concept won the jury’s “Trofeo Auto & Design for the most exciting design”.

Four other great Ferraris were among the precious chosen ones at the Villa. The oldest one of them was s/n 0122A, the Classiche’ certified 1951 Ferrari 340 America Berlinetta Le Mans Touring which has been delivered in and always stayed in Europe. Now in Luxemburg and in caring custody of Marco Rollinger. Then there was Susan & Dennis Garrity’s unique Vignale bodied 1952 Ferrari 342 America Cabriolet s/n 0232 AL. For almost ten years, with its two tone green color then, it was a distinguished member of the Blackhawk collection, until they bought it at RMSotheby’s in 2017 for $2.25M and gave it to the capable hands of MPI-Ferrari who happened to be in their neighborhood in Wisconsin for a total rejuvenation. results now in light blue were first presented in 2018 Pebble Beach Concours and now in Italy. Third one was my favorite & unique 1955 Ferrari 250 GT PF Competition Berlinetta Speciale, s/n 0403GT, owned by Sunil Wickremeratne, again from the UK with its distinctive flamboyant look; that is, as states, made by marriage of the back of the 375 Bergman with the front of the 56 race Berlinetta. And at last, but definitely not least, was the gorgeous 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 s/n 10497 of Charles Wegner with its amazing Nocciola color. The car was originally delivered to casino magnate and once owner of the world’s largest car collection William Frisk Harrah, It was very well maintained and Mr. Wegner, a serious Ferrari collector, bought it for $3,245,000 at Gooding’s auction in 2016, it still had the original black leather interior.

And here are the notable non-Ferraris that we could not avoid sharing with you. The flashiest one of them all was the Lamborghini Marzal Concept. Bertone took this stunning 4-seater to 1967 Geneva Motor Show and yet again it didn’t fail to mesmerize all the young kids 52 years later and in fact won the Trofeo BMW Group Ragazzi By Young People’s Referendum (up to the age of 16). This car was a member of Bertone family collection until they auctioned the best of them unique cars back in 2011 here in Villa d’Erba and this one found a new home in Switzerland for $2M. It has half of the 4.0L V12 engine (2.0l 6cyl) at heart. BMW Group classis trophy or Jury’s most sensitive restoration award as well as mention of honor in Class B in which the 8C Alfa won again went to the marvelous 1937 Bugatti type 57 S Sports Tourer by Vanden Plas of Michael Kaufmann from the US. Our photographer favorite car that also won the class-F “Baby you can drive my car or Musical Stars Cars” was a gorgeous blue Lamborghini, Miura P 400 S.

Apart from the Bugatti Voiture Noir Concept prototype extravaganza, that even though it looks really good, it is nothing like the almighty 57 Atlantic and doesn’t quite fit the staggering $16.7M price tag, new concept cars this year were probably fighting over the title of the ugliest one! the Astro Daimler revival prototype actually looked good in every detail but the whole composition was like a Viper replica. Worst of all to me was definitely the insignificant Sciadipersia Cabriolet by Touring that looks nothing close to the fastest, most luxurious GT that set the standards in the early 60’s and made the Jet-setters pay many times more than any other car to get their hands on one of the Shah of Persia Maserati 5000GTs. Perhaps it is not because of lack of expertise or passionate people with taste at the legendary Touring studios. It must be more about the legislations and auto manufacturers new rule-books that doesn’t let them reach out for their dreams and do any better that taking every beautiful feature of a Gran Turismo and replace it with something hideous. Panther is what we assume is a try to come up with a replacement for Pantera but not only doesn’t look modern but also lacks appeal compared to the original DeTomaso. However we must mention that there was one concept prototype that we could not talk ugly about and that is the retro approach to the Peugeot 504 Coupe’ of the 70’s, named E-Legend.

We also had a brief look inside the RMSotheby’s auction block at Villa d’Erba that you can find the results in photo captions. The biggest sale of the weekend was the 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider by Pinin Farina Chassis 0448MD that Sold for €3.717.500 followed by the 1957 Porsche 550A Spyder by Wendler that sold for €3.380.000. Of other significant Ferraris, we can mention the, not so sexy yet unique, 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC Zagato s/n 10659 which happens to be the only 330 GTC by Zagato as well but it failed to fetch around 450k Euro. The other creation of modern day Zagato, the 1990 Ferrari 348 TB Zagato Elaborazione found a new home for €218.500 . You can find more about the results in captions and of course at RMSotheby’s.

All photos courtesy of  Luigi & Shirin Oldrini

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