The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is not simply famous because of the participation of unusual classic vehicles. The competition for the latest concept cars and prototypes also turns the weekend at the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este on Lake Como into an outstanding event. In contrast to an exhibition, the 13 vehicles can be seen under natural conditions and they are put through their paces to demonstrate roadworthiness when they drive in the parade. One of this year’s highlights is the Maserati GS Zagato which will be celebrating its world premiere at the Concorso.
The presentation of future-oriented studies and prototypes has a long tradition at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. As early as 1929, automobile manufacturers and coachbuilders were presenting their latest creations to an enthusiastic public. At that time - just as today, the roadworthiness of the concept cars was a condition for participation. The general public attending the event has traditionally determined the winner of the Concorso d’Eleganza Design Award. This year saw the presentation of a panoply of famous names and the onlookers were again spoilt for choice when it came to decision time for the outright winner:
World premiere at Lake Como: Maserati GS Zagato
Famous coachbuilder Carrozzeria Zagato has a long tradition of putting bodies on Maserati chassis. Following on from the world premiere of the Ferrari 575 GT Z at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2006, this year the Maserati GS Zagato will be presented on the public stage for the first time.
Sports car with attitude: Rinspeed eXaxis
The unusual high-tech creations of Frank M. Rinderknecht have become a standard feature at the Geneva Motor Show held in March. Design and concept experts Rinspeed of Zumikon celebrated their thirtieth anniversary by unveiling the eXasis in Switzerland, created in cooperation with Bayer Material Science. Particularly innovative features are the transparent body, the seats configured behind each other and the engine powered by bioethanol. Thanks to the lightweight construction, the eXasis only weighs 750 kg, giving a power-to-weight ratio of five kilograms per hp.
Convertible with wings: Renault Nepta
The Nepta design study presented at the Paris Motor Show in September 2006 attracted a great deal of attention among the public. In particular, the gullwing doors measuring just under four metres in length were an especially impressive feature of the four-door convertible. The Nepta Concept Study embodies Renault’s vision of an elegant, powerful luxury convertible in the future.
Two-seater with a view: Saab Aero X
The Saab Aero X Concept Car is a two-seater coupé where the roof and door, including the panorama windscreen, can be lifted up and forward to allow passengers and driver to get in and out. The driver is provided with a 180 degree field of vision because there are no B-pillars to obstruct the view. The front is designed in typical Saab style. The car is powered by a 2.8 litre bioethanol engine with twin turbocharger generating 400 hp.
Big cat with style: Jaguar C-XF
The Jaguar C-XF showed exactly what the new Jaguar models should look like when it was premiered at this year’s Detroit Motor Show. The distinctive lines of the C-XF are intended to turn the Jaguar into a genuine British big cat.
Roadster based on the Panda: Bertone Barchetta
Nuncio Bertone created a Barchetta in 1947 based on the Fiat 500 and he successfully competed in a number of races. In commemoration of this former creation and to celebrate the company’s 95th anniversary, Bertone presented the Bertone Roadster based on a Fiat Panda 100 HP at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. The metal panels were also hand-crafted for the Bertone Roadster Concept in the best tradition of bodywork construction.
Hydrogen car with joystick: Giugiaro VAD.HO, 2007
The VAD.HO, presented by Giugiaro at the Geneva Motor Show, is in many ways a very unusual concept car. Access for the two passengers who sit behind each other is provided through the gullwing doors opening at the side. The car with carbon panelling is powered by a 260 hp hydrogen engine along the same lines as the BMW Hydrogen 7 presented recently.
Concept with star: Mercedes-Benz Ocean Drive
Daimler-Chrysler presented the Ocean Drive at the Detroit Motor Show 2007 at the beginning of the year with the intention of reinvigorating the tradition of the four-door Mercedes -Benz convertible. The study has an impressive profile with the striking radiator, LED headlights and taillights, and two-tone paintwork. The concept car is based on the Mercedes 600 S.
Sports car with four-wheel drive: Opel GTC
Opel sprang a surprise with the sporty, elegant coupé at the Geneva Motor Show 2007. The four-wheel drive model created a particularly striking visual impression with the vertical air inlets and LED technology. Opel intends to use the GTC to reunite the traditional idea of the coupé with the future language of design.
Coupé with two hearts: Toyota FT-HS
Toyota presented its vision of a future sports car with full hybrid system in the rear-engined FT-HS coupé. Toyota ’s designers have succeeded in melding the sharp edges and soft overhangs to create a masterpiece in white. The coupé turns into a Spider at the touch of a button if you want to drive open to the elements. The study is powered by a combination of 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine and an electric motor.
Specially tailored to customers’ requirements: Ferrari P4/5 Pininfarina
Precisely 400 units of the sensational Supercar Ferrari Enzo were built in Maranello. However, this was not exclusive enough for American film producer and stock-market guru James M. Glickenhaus. The Ferrari collector commissioned Carrozzeria Pininfarina in Turin to build a unique special body based on a standard Enzo. The Special Projects Team from Pininfarina under the management of Paolo Garella carried out this expensive project costing 4 million dollars in a construction period lasting just over a year. The shape of the body resembles the legendary Daytona winner Ferrari 330 P4 from 1967.
Saloon with atmosphere: Ford Iosis, 2005
At the international Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in 2005, Ford presented the new language of design for future Ford models in the Ford Iosis concept study. An electric motor opens two gullwing doors with opposing hinges to afford access to the interior. The outside of the vehicle is defined by strong wheel arches, a dynamic side line and a striking front profile. The interior is defined by the unusual atmosphere created by innovative materials, such as neoprene, and fluid light.
Luxury product with glass roof: Nissan Infiniti
Nissan’s premium brand Infiniti unveiled the coupé concept design study at the Detroit Motor Show 2006. It has a glass roof covering the entire body. The outer skin creates the effect of polished aluminium and the distinctively shaped LED headlights and taillights give the study a very technical appearance.
Outside the classification: BMW Mille Miglia Concept Coupé
Outside the competition, the brands BMW and Rolls-Royce each presented an example of their design and technical expertise.
After a flying visit to the Mille Miglia last year, the BMW Concept Coupé was presented in the public arena for the first time. The automobile pays homage to the racing legend BMW 328 Mille Miglia. BMW dominated the 1940 Mille Miglia with this car and came out overall winner.
Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé
As in previous years, Rolls-Royce will also take part in the Concorso with a special vehicle. In 2007, the brand is presenting the Phantom Drophead Coupé at the Villa d´Este. The two-door, four-seater convertible is a less formal interpretation of the classic Rolls-Royce design. From a technical perspective, this automobile combines a lightweight, incredibly stiff aluminium spaceframe with the lean and elegant body of a drophead coupé.
Two dream days at Lake Como: the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
On the weekend of 21 - 22 April 2007, the spectacular grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este and Villa Erba in Cernobbio on Lake Como will again form the unique backdrop for the most beautiful automobiles from yesteryear and the most extravagant concept cars of the present. This event was launched at the same venue in 1929 and the Concorso d´Eleganza Villa d´Este is today regarded as the event with the longest tradition in the world of the classic car.
After the launch of the event for invited guests on Saturday, the Concorso again offers all automobile enthusiasts the opportunity to experience these dream cars in the neighbouring park of the Villa Erba. In addition to the automobiles shown on the previous day, numerous other supreme classics will be presented in a special show. Entry to the Villa Erba, located in Cernobbio on Lake Como, is 10 euros (single) or 20 euros (families) and 8 euros for concessions.