2019 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este first held 90 years ago, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is the oldest event of its type still in existence.
Perhaps, it is better to say, in existence again as it was revived during the 1990s.
For the last 20 year, it has been under the patronage of BMW and ranks among the most prestigious of all concours d’elegance.
What has not changed over the years is the startling backdrop of the Villa d’Este Hotel on the shores of Lake Como and the exclusive nature of the event.
The latter is not necessarily by choice as the hotel’s garden can really accommodate around 50 cars, so that is where the entry is capped at.
Also carried over from the original event has been the Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este, which is the best of show by public referendum and is the most coveted of all awards.
2019 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 90th anniversary
2019 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 90th anniversary, the Villa d’Este Hotel sits on the shores of Lake Como in Northern Italy, which is among the most scenic areas of the world.
To allow participants in the Concorso d’Eleganza entrants a chance to enjoy the truly spectacular scenery, the program was expanded this year with the Prelude Tour.
All cars entered were invited to join, and around two dozen took up the invitation.
They were joined by a selection of BMW guests, which made for an impressive looking and sounding parade that lasted for much of last Thursday.
One of the absolute highlights on the route was the stop at the Balcone d’Italia or Balcony of Italy.
At 1,302 metres above sea level, it has been named one of the beautiful places in Italy by the Italian National Trust.
The terrace offers a panoramic view of the Lake Lugano, which sits at the foot of the snow covered peaks of the Swiss Alps.
90th anniversary, Exquisite Alfa Romeos
90th anniversary, Exquisite Alfa Romeos; although the company dates back to 1910, Alfa Romeo really started building interesting cars from the moment Enzo Ferrari convinced the Milanese manufacturer to hire engineer Vittorio Jano from Fiat.
His first creation was the 6C 1500 of which a very unusual example was entered in this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza.
Not only was it one of just a handful built to SS or Super Sport specification, it was also bodied by the Atcherlery brothers, who predominantly worked on motorcycles.
The car has come full circle as it was presented by the grandson of one of the two Atcherlery brothers.
The 6C 1500 SS lined up alongside a slightly later Zagato bodied 6C 1750 Gran Sport of the type that was piloted to the 1930 Mille Miglia victory by Tazio Nuvolari with an average of over 100 km/h.
Perhaps the most striking of all Alfa Romeos entered was brought by local hero and Villa d’Este veteran Corrado Lopresto.
Dubbed ‘La Fleche’ or the arrow, this 1900C SS based machine was first shown on the Vignale stand of the 1955 Turin Motor Show.
The eighth and final class of the Concorso d’Eleganza was reserved for four particularly wild show cars of the second of the 1960s through to 1970.
The earliest of the quartet was the Pontiac-based Vivant 77 of 1965.
It was created by Herb Adams, who was in charge of muscle car development at General Motors and wanted to proof that a muscle car could also wear a designer suit.
Also built in the United States was the truly ming boggling Gyro-X, which can drive using just its two tandem wheels thanks to a massive gyroscope mounted ahead of the driver’s compartment.
Also included were a pair of creations by Italy’s carrozzeria.
First up was the Lamborghini Marzal, which was created by Bertone with the idea of developing a four-seater version of the Miura.
The fantastic Marcello Gandini design sported massive gull-wing doors and a bespoke straight six engine.
It remained in the Bertone collection until a few years ago and since then has been meticulously restored.
Also benefitting from a recent restoration was the Pininfarina designed Ferrari 512 S Modulo.
Based on a Le Mans racer, the ultra-low machine features a one-piece canopy roof and can now run under its own power for the first time in its existence.