I will always remember the first time I attended the Concorso Italiano. To me the sight was a bit like rolling ocean waves offshore. But instead of waves of water, these were waves of colorful, exotic Italian automobiles covering the undulating green golf fairways.

“What an opportunity,” I thought. To explore at close range most of, and maybe all of the exotic cars that I knew of, and probably some I did not know of. Just like show-car dreamland. But this was not a dream. It was right in front me.

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Why it matters

2015 Concorso Italiano Preview Exterior AutoShow
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This year of 2015 is a little special for the Concorso Italiano. It marks the event’s 30th anniversary. That longevity testifies to this dazzling event’s star power. On Saturday, August 15th at the Black Horse Golf Course in Monterey Bay, California, the Concorso Italiano will assemble to play an important part in the grand spectacle that is Monterey Automobile Week. At this gathering I expect to see a vast number of Italian automobiles. That number could easily reach 1,000 exciting Italian cars. Expect also a contingent of non-Italian automobiles. Note that cars are not the only thing to be found at the show. “All things Italian” are intermixed with the automobiles, not the least of which are fashion and food.

Note that cars are not the only thing to be found at the show. “All things Italian” are intermixed with the automobiles, not the least of which are fashion and food.

Where to begin describing such a pageant? Let’s start with the Prancing Horse, as this year is the 60th anniversary of Ferrari in the U.S. Concorso Italiano typically provides a special area on the lawn for the “classic” Ferraris. This year that will be the Centerpiece Display. The classic Ferrari category consists of the 1972-1974 Ferrari 246 GTS Dino and previous Ferrari models, with a few others possibly in the mix.

Another iconic Italian marque that usually makes a strong appearance at Concorso is the raging bull, Lamborghini. This year Concorso Italiano is honoring the 25th anniversary of the 1990-2001 Lamborghini Diablo. Upon debut in 1990, the low and sleek Diablo was considered a real harbinger of style. However, style was not all that the Diablo was about. The 500- to 600-horsepower V12 engines of the various models that appeared over the years could propel that beautiful bodywork across the landscape at over 200 mph.

Concorso Italiano will introduce the new Global Exotics Pavilion as part of its 30th anniversary celebration. The Pavilion will focus on supercars from around the world. The 560-horspower, supercharged 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT will take part in the display. This American brand was founded by the Italian-American father and son team of Don and Dan Panoz.

2015 Concorso Italiano Preview Exterior AutoShow
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2015 Concorso Italiano Preview Exterior AutoShow
- image 638957
2015 Concorso Italiano Preview Exterior AutoShow
- image 638956

As part of its 60th anniversary celebration, the format of the Ferrari Awards is changing. The Vintage Ferrari Concours is being replaced by two sets of awards. As usual, the Ferrari entrants will be judged for Ferrari Best in Show and first runners up. The First Place winner is eligible for Concorso Best in Show against winners from the other marques.

This year the following awards are added:

  • Preservation Class
  • Best Enzo Era Ferrari – Forward through 1988
  • Best Post Enzo Ferrari – 1989 to present
  • Best V6 Ferrari
  • Best V8 Ferrari
  • Best V12 Ferrari
  • Best Flat 12 Ferrari (Boxers, modern Testarossas)
  • Best Supercar (288 GTO, F40, F50, Enzo)
  • Restoration Award for excellence in restoration

The rare Thommasima II from Ferrari designer Tom Meade will be at Concorso. This is a car that once made headlines, including television on the "60 Minutes" program. This may be an infrequent opportunity to view this car, as reportedly it has not been on display for over 30 years.

The Ladies Lounge will be a new feature at Concorso. This should be a good place for women to drop by following the fashion show. Designers will be available for fashion consultations, and ladies can try some of the items viewed on the runway in the Lounge fitting room.

For those venturing to Concorso Italiano for the first time, I am sure you will be pleased. I am equally certain that you will want to return….many times.
But if I won’t see you there, catch my review of the event right here at TopSpeed.

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