This year sees the BMW Group acting as patron of the traditional Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este for the ninth time. Initial highlights of this year’s edition of the premier event on Lake Como were already announced during the press conference at the 77th Geneva Motor Show.
Brilliant heritage - bright future
Holger Lapp, Chairman of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and Director of BMW Group Mobile Tradition, announced at the press conference that the Concorso success story would continue this year: "Thanks to the quality of the cars taking part, we can seamlessly carry on from the high standards of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este of past years." Dott. Jean-Marc Droulers, President of Villa d’Este SpA, also expressed his pleasure in the partnership with the BMW Group: "Now, as before, we are delighted with the great appeal of this event, which was first held on the initiative of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este in 1929. Quite simply, there is no more beautiful place in the world to enjoy the Italian lifestyle combined with automotive culture."
Highlights among the classics
There are a number of spectacular classic cars lining up again this year. Around 50 dream cars from 11 countries will be vying for the prestigious Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este (Best of Show by Referendum at Villa d’Este), Trofeo BMW Group (Best of Show by the Jury) and Trofeo BMW Italia (By Public Referendum at Villa Erba). The special Trofeo Albrecht Graf Goertz will also be awarded in memory of the designer who died last year.
In Geneva Urs Paul Ramseier, the Selecting Adviser responsible for choosing the cars that take part in the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, gave a few preliminary glimpses of the select field of participants.
Ferrari 375 MM, 1954
This is the 12th out of a total production run of 15 375 Mille Miglia Ferraris. Originally built in March 1954 as the Pinin Farina Spider, it was destined for Luigi Chinetti in the USA. However, the Ferrari factory then sold the car to Italian film producer Roberto Rossellini in Rome. In 1955 he commissioned Sergio Scaglietti in Modena with giving it a particularly attractive coupé body. Ten years later, Rossellini sold the car to a Sicilian from Palermo. At this point the metallic grey body was repainted in military green. In 1970 the one-off model made its way from Palermo to Paris. Its current owner acquired it in 1995 and had it completely restored. The car was then successfully exhibited at many events and went on to win the "Best of Show" award at the Ferrari Club of America National Concours in Toronto, as well as the Luigi Chinetti Memorial Trophy.
Heading home - the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Flying Star
As they had done for the Isotta-Fraschini 8B and the Fiat Type 522C, Carrozzeria Touring of Milan also designed a special body for the Alfa-Romeo 6C 1750 GS, which was to go down in motoring history as the "Flying Star". With this model Mrs Josette Pozzo won the Coppa d’Oro di Villa d’Este at the 1931 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. After a gap of 76 years, the Alfa Romeo Flying Star returns to the historic site of its greatest success.
An Italian in German clothing - the Bugatti 57 C, 1939
The Concorso d’Eleganza will show the Bugatti 57 C in its original condition for the first time in Europe. The chassis was one of the last to be sold before the Second World War and it was the last Bugatti to be delivered to Germany before the outbreak of war. Its owner handed the chassis over to Voll & Ruhrbeck, one of the most modern coachbuilders of the time, with the commission to design a highly aerodynamic roadster. Later the Bugatti 57 C belonged to the famous Norwegian ice queen and multiple Olympic medallist Sonja Henie.
In 1969 the Voll & Ruhrbeck body was removed from the chassis. It wasn’t until 2002 that the owner was able to unite the original chassis and original body again and have the entire vehicle completely restored.
The "Black Prince" - the Mercedes-Benz SSK, 1930
Motor sport enthusiast and successful car racer Count Carlo Felice Trossi produced a design sketch at the end of the 1920s showing his idea of an aerodynamically styled car. Willi White, a little known coachbuilder at the time, implemented these sketches to create the so-called "Black Prince". The Trossi SSK is one of the very rare Mercedes Benz SSK models to feature special bodywork. After extensive restoration this Mercedes -Benz SSK has already raked in countless prizes and will be mark its debut at the Concorso d’Eleganza this year. The car belongs to the Ralph Lauren Collection.
An icon, a homage
Two vehicles in this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza are particularly eloquent symbols of the philosophy behind the event - the fusion of aesthetic automotive styling past and future. They are the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupé and the BMW Concept Coupé Mille Miglia 2006. The former is the legendary racing car of the late 1930s, while the other is a homage to this legend and the men who devoted their passion and engineering skills to steering this car to victory on the race tracks of Europe. Following its premiere last year before the international media, the BMW Concept Coupé goes on show before the public for the first time at Lake Como. "With the Concept Coupé we are delighted to be able to exhibit one of the most interesting vehicles of our time at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este," said Holger Lapp at the Geneva Show press conference.
Rolls-Royce presents its Phantom Drophead Coupé
As in previous years, Rolls-Royce will again be attending the Concorso with a rather special model in tow. An unusual experimental car, the 100EX also stopped by at Villa d’Este during its 2004 world tour. Sin ce then the design and development teams have turned the concept into a production model. In 2007 Rolls-Royce will present the Phantom Drophead Coupé at Villa d’Este in the wake of its European premiere at the Geneva Motor Show. The two-door, four-seater convertible is a less formal rendition of the classic Rolls-Royce design. Technically it combines a lightweight yet extremely rigid aluminium space frame with the slender, elegant body of a drophead coupé.
Two dream days on Lake Como: Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2007
Over the weekend of 21 - 22 April 2007 the glorious grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este and Villa Erba in Cernobbio on Lake Como will once again be transformed into a unique setting for the most beautiful automobiles of the past and the most flamboyant concept cars of the present. First staged at this same location in 1929, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este today ranks as the world’s most tradition-steeped event of its kind.
After the first part of the event for invited guests on Saturday, the gates of the neighbouring grounds of Villa Erba open on Sunday to all car fans, who will again have the chance to experience these four-wheeled dreams at close hand. Besides the cars already presented on the previous day, there will be numerous other prestigious classics on display in special shows. Admission to Villa Erba in Cernobbio on Lake Como costs 10 euros (single), 20 euros (family ticket) or 8 euros (concessions).