Beautiful name, isn’t it? Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is a very special event in my own personal opinion. For one, it’s not an array of complex technologically mind-bending concept cars lined up in a big, air-conditioned area, or a bunch of cars machined to milli-metrically accurate measurements from top to bottom on a big rally from one point to another point, with multiple breathtaking sceneries along the trip.
No, in fact, the event’s name translates literally to: ‘Competition of Elegance of Villa d’Este’. The name is actually already hinting the contents of the occasion, it’s not about the flashiest, sleekest ultra-performance cars. It’s about the most elegant car you can bring, and the event has always been held with solely that objective in mind, to find the most elegant car they can. And like Jeremy Clarkson always says, that’s a very Italian thing to do.
I absolutely adore the mindset of this entire event. A competition not to find out whose car is the fastest, or the most eye-catching, or the lowest, the list goes on, but to find out the most awe-inspiring cars that sometimes make you doubt the meaning of true beauty, simple lines fluctuating throughout a solid Rosso Corsa Ferrari or an old Poseidon’s wrath, a Maserati, will undoubtedly always be more elegant than their newer counterparts, in the judges’ eyes.
Although I haven’t had the honour to partake in one or seen the event in full action, I have done my fair share of research on this year’s occasion and have compiled the highlights just for you, get comfy, for you are going to savour an abounding gracefulness from breathing sheets of metal that weave up handcrafted machines.
There’s a reason behind all this fuss that the silent Villa d’Este generates. If you’ve ever seen the location, you will know that it’s something quite special indeed, it’s not in the middle of a field or right beside a race track, it rests beside the mythical Como Lake that emits a mysterious aura that is certainly nothing you’ve felt before.
Despite not having any specific or prearranged dress code, the guests won’t let you down. They are well-dressed and quixotic, naturally blending in with the peaceful aroma that veils the Como Lake. I can’t even begin to describe just how well composed the crowds are even though surrounded by cars that easily break the seventh figure of a price tag.
Quite the cars
One good thing to note before you partake in the event is that the participants are actually separated into three categories, mainly historic cars, motorcycles and concept cars or prototypes, all of them are pretty self-explanatory. And after those major categories there are even more sub-categories, split into classes for their age respectively. Thus, if you own a special something, you can rest assured that there will be a class tailored for you.
After you enter the frankly serene scene of the event, you will be greeted with no less than an equally impressive automotive display. One of the main reason of the immense interest that the competition generates is due to the type and variety of cars that attend the event. Most of them, if you don’t do your homework beforehand, you won’t even recognize the name of. There are some interesting entries in this year’s concourse though, mainly in the form of limited production vehicles by the Spaniards, like the Pegaso Cupula and the Z-102.
Other than that, you’ve got your ‘typical’ entries, it’s a worthy thing to note that many of those cars are actually coachbuilt. But you can always expect to find your fair share of Ferrari delight in an event like this. While I want to be fair to every single participant, I can’t help but drool at this jaw dropper of a McLaren, the M1-A. (PS: That’s a Maserati Tipo 60/61 “Birdcage” beside the McLaren.)
Winning is winning
To win in one of these competitions with such a special lineup, your car must be a very special being indeed. With entries like a Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione ‘Tour de France’, once owned by one of the most famous drivers in Finland, Curt Lincoln and first seen outside of it’s showroom in Modena, and what can follow the body lines of one of the just 116th production run Mercedes-Benz 540k Cabriolet A?
Thus, the winner must be a very unique thing. And that’s exactly what it is, and it’s interesting this year. The public gave the ‘Best of the Show’ award to the incredibly simplistic and reserved Ferrari 166 MM, once owned by Gianni Agnelli, however, the juries digress. They granted the award for the time stopper of an Alfa Romeo, the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider Zagato. And that’s the thing, simple lines are actually preferred over complicated bulges here, and that’s incredulous in today’s society.
After doing ample research on the congregation, I can only concede the fact that this is an incredible interpretation of a competition. And it’s a great platform for both new manufacturers to shine upon and for experienced manufacturers to show off their latest concepts that they may or may not make, things like the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG003, which looks absolutely sci-fi.
It’s not often that you witness an event that’s both flamboyant and elegant, which this is. When you realise that most of these cars were once owned by famous racing drivers or someone who had a genuine impact in the world, and all of that comes in tandem to turn the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este into a petrolhead’s bucket list of shows to attend.