A garden party for the classic car elite

Perched on the edge of Lake Como, in the municipality of Cernobbio in Northern Italy, you’ll find the glamorous Villa d’Este hotel. Every year around springtime, this swank destination plays host to some of the most exclusive vintage automobiles on the planet, with millions upon millions of dollars in high-grade metal on display, complementing the surrounding natural beauty with handcrafted bodywork and polished tailpipes. The goal of the event is simple in theory, but highly nuanced in practice – win the hearts of those in attendance in a contest of elegance.

Think of it as a competitive automotive fashion show for the collector car upper crust, where only the most rare and highly coveted machines are invited to participate. An atmosphere of pageantry and tradition permeates throughout, creating the right environment in which to enjoy all that high-end four-wheeled sculpture.

First held in the 1929, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este went on hiatus during WWII, only to be re-launched in the mid ‘90s as a classic car event. This year, 52 vintage automobiles showed up to the party, as did a slew of forward-looking concepts from Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, and BMW. Despite initial threats of rain, the weather was warm and sunny, with blue skies and glittering water providing the perfect backdrop for nearly nine decades of vehicular excellence.

We’ve recapped all the big happenings from this year’s event right here, including the concepts and show winners, so read on for more.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.

The Scene

This year, thousands of attendees once again arrived on the shore of Lake Como to bask in the internal combustion glories of the past, with collectors, celebrities, and aficionados rubbing shoulders and sipping champagne amidst rows of high-dollar automobiles.

Strolling through the gardens, you could rest assured there was something priceless sitting nearby. Look one way, and you’d catch a Jaguar XK120, look the other way, and there’d be a Bugatti 57 SC Atalante. Beyond that, a Porsche 550 RS, and a little further, Steve McQueen’s Ferrari 275 GTB/4.

Check out the gallery below for a slice of the scene.

Concept Debuts

Per tradition, several of the big automakers debuted new concepts at the show. The theme this year was “Back To The Future – The Journey Continues,” wherein design cues of the past were projected into the future.

Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder by Touring

2016 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este – Recap
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Alfa managed to woo the crowd and snag the Design Award for Concept Cars & Prototypes this year with its Disco Volante Spyder by Touring. Originally debuting at the Geneva International Motor Show, this latest Disco Volante is the first open-top bodystyle recently produced by coachbuilder Touring Superleggera. The body is made from carbon fiber and handcrafted aluminum, and comes draped in Cerulean Blue paint. Underneath is an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider chassis. Only seven units total will be created.

Read the full review here.

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato

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Zagato was also on hand to show its wares, this time around on an Aston Martin. The design house blessed the two-door with an extremely sexy custom carbon-fiber body, drawing cues from the One-77, CC100 Speedster, and other Zagato designs. Powering the red bombshell is the same naturally aspirated 5.9-liter V-12 as the standard Vanquish, but output was upped to nearly 600 horsepower.

Read the full review here.

BMW 2002 Hommage

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The original 2002 was unquestionably one of the most important models in BMW’s history, mating turbo power and impressive handling with a classic two-door design. To celebrate the car’s 50th anniversary, the Bavarians introduced the M2-based 2002 Hommage concept at Lake Como, giving us a look at what the coupe would bring if it were offered in a modernized package.

Read the full review here.

The Competition Of Elegance

Vehicles entered in the competition of elegance were placed in one of nine categories. Added to the list of traditional classes (Pre-War Decadence, Grand Tourers, etc.) were two new divisions: “Driven By Excess – From Glam Rock To New Wave,” which included ‘70s and ‘80s superstars like the Lamborghini Miura SV and Ferrari Testarossa Spider, and “Rally Cars – Heroes Of A Special Stage,” which included racers produced between 1955 and 1985 like the Alpine A110 and Big Healey.

Best In Show – 1954 Maserati A6 GCS

2016 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este – Recap
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Hailing from the “Pretty Pocket Rockets” category, the Villa d’Este judges deemed this Maserati “an outstanding example of automobile coachbuilding artistry of the 1950s, projecting uncompromising sporting style and aesthetic perfection in a harmonious synthesis.”

Originally debuting in Paris in 1954, this particular Maserati was later seen at the 1955 Mille Miglia. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter six-cylinder engine producing 190 horsepower. The Berlinetta coachwork comes from Pininfarina, and it’s one of only four examples created.

“I am absolutely ecstatic to have won this prize,” said owner Timm Bergold. “This is already my third time at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este but I would never have presumed to hope for this success. The Maserati was always my dream car as a boy.”

Coppa d’Oro – 1933 Lancia Astura Serie II

2016 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este – Recap
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Taking home the Coppa d’Oro this year is Dutch collector Anthony Meijer, who clinched the award based on a popular vote. The Castagna coachwork was originally plucked from an Alfa Romeo 8C, then mated to the Lancia chassis at the request of Benito Mussolini’s son, Vittorio. Destined for competition, the Lancia also had its wheelbase shortened, and was fitted with a larger 3.0-liter V-8 producing 82 horsepower.

Complete Results

Class A: Pre-War Decadence – Flights Of Automotive Fantasy
Year, Make, Model Body Style Coachwork Owner
Winner: 1937 Lancia Astura IV Serie Convertible Pininfarina Saulius Karosas
Honorable Mention: 1935 Squire 1 ½ Long Chassis Four-seater Tourer Ranalah Peter Neumark
Class B: Pre-1945 Supercars – The Fast And The Flamboyant
Year, Make, Model Body Style Coachwork Owner
Winner: 1933 Lancia Astura II Serie Berlinetta Castagna Antonius Meijer
Honorable Mention: 1937 Bugatti 57 SC Atalante Coupe Bugatti Kriton Lendoudis
Class C: Sur Mesure Et Haute Couture – Rarities For The Connoisseur
Year, Make, Model Body Style Coachwork Owner
Winner: 1968 Bentley T Speciale Coupe Pininfarina Anthony Bamford
Honorable Mention: 1952 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV Sedanca de Ville Hooper Ion Tiriac
Class D: Petite Performance – Pretty Pocket Rockets
Year, Make, Model Body Style Coachwork Owner
Winner: 1954 Maserati A6 GCS Berlinetta Pininfarina Destriero Collection
Honorable Mention: 1954 Fiat 8V Supersonic Coupe Ghia Marc Behaegel
Class E: Daring To Be Different – Designs That Pushed The Envelope
Year, Make, Model Body Style Coachwork Owner
Winner: 1955 Fiat 8 Coupe Zagato Jack Crowl
Honorable Mention: 1957 Maserati 200 SI Barchetta Fantuzzi Egon Zweimuller
Class F: Cars Of The Stars – From The Silver Screen To The Studio Lot
Year, Make, Model Body Style Coachwork Owner
Winner: 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta Scaglietti David Moores
Honorable Mention: 1957 Dual-Ghia Convertible Ghia Arnold Stevens
Class G: GT Man Is Back – The Golden Era Of Sports Car Design, 1950 – 1975
Year, Make, Model Body Style Coachwork Owner
Winner: 1961 Aston Martin DB 4 GT Coupe Zagato David Sydorick
Honorable Mention: 1968 Bizzarrini 1900 GT Europa Coupe Labronplastic Peter Mooser
Class H: Driven By Excess – From Glam Rock To New Wave
Year, Make, Model Body Style Coachwork Owner
Winner: 1976 Lamborghini Countach “Walter Wolf” Coupe Bertone Jota Collection
Honorable Mention: 1980 Lamborghini Athon Roadster Bertone Albert Spiess
Class I: Rally Cars – Heroes Of A Special Stage, 1955 – 1985
Year, Make, Model Body Style Coachwork Owner
Winner: 1972 Ford Escort RS 1600 Sedan Ford Claude Nahum
Honorable Mention: 1964 Porsche 911 Coupe Rolf Richter
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