Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

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DISCOVER THE CLASSES FROM A TO HConcorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2024

DISCOVER THE CLASSES FROM A TO HConcorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2024

CLASS OVERVIEW: The classes of 2024

Beauty contests for motor cars developed somewhat in the manner of fashion shows for the latest luxury apparel in Milan and Paris. If we look at the beginnings of the ‘Concours d’Élégance’ for automobiles it was all about the latest developments in coachwork. The most illustrious coachbuilders invariably strove to achieve show-stopping results. Clients would order the chassis from a manufacturer and had the coachwork styled and produced by an independent coachbuilder. Naturally enough, the beauty contests foregrounding elegance also served as trade fairs showcasing the performance of coachbuilders.

And just as back in the day, the lady of the house might have commissioned a unique individual dress from her favourite dressmaker, well-heeled clients in the automotive sector would order bespoke coachwork. This was a scenario where stylists could let their imaginations run free. Very often, the only specification was the manufacturer’s radiator grille – but the coachwork designers frequently went beyond the stipulations even there.

Class A


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Diatto Tipo 20S, 1923 / Inline 4 Engine, 1995 cc / Coachwork: Torpedo by Mouche & Cie. / 
Entrant: Corrado Lopresto (Italy)

Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 AS, 1927 / Inline 8 Engine, 7370 cc / Coachwork: Roadster by Fleetwood / Entrant: Nicholas & Shelley Schorsch (United States)

Bentley 3 Litre, 1927 / Inline 4 Engine, 2996 cc / Coachwork: Open Tourer by Van den Plas / 
Entrant: Michael Dacre (United Kingdom)

Mercedes-Benz 720 SSK, 1928 / Inline 6 Engine, 7066 cc / Coachwork: Sport 2 by Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen / Entrant: John Houlihan (Ireland)

Bentley 4 ½ Litre Blower, 1930 / Inline 4 Engine, 4398 cc / Coachwork: Two Seater Drophead Coupé by Gurney Nutting / Entrant: The Lee Collection (United States)

In the early days of the motor car, the applications involved in driving an automobile were not always unambiguously defined. The highly specialised systems of today simply did not exist and the differences in use were mainly determined by the body rather than the chassis. Indeed, it was not uncommon for different bodies to be fitted to suit the purpose intended for the cars. A motor vehicle with a four-seater body was destined for recreational driving in the pursuit of pleasure or for cross-country journeys, family outings and business trips. The same chassis clothing a body with just two seats could be driven in a race.

Class B


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Cadillac V16, 1934 / V16 Engine, 7407cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Fleetwood / 
Entrant: Donald Ghareeb (United States)

Lancia Astura, 1935 / V8 Engine, 2972 cc / Coachwork: Roadster by Pinin Farina / 
Entrant: Piet Jansen (Netherlands)

Aston Martin 2 Litre, 1936 / Inline 4 Engine, 1950 cc / Coachwork: 4 Door Saloon by Aston Martin / Entrant: Norbert Hieber (Germany)

Lagonda V12 Rapide, 1938 / V12 Engine, 4480 cc / Coachwork: Drophead Coupé by Lagonda /
Entrant: Christoph Zeiss (Switzerland)

Delahaye 135M, 1948 / Inline 6 Engine, 3557cc / Coachwork: Cabriolet by Faget & Varnet / 
Entrant: Teresa & David Disiere (United States)

Ferrari 225 S Tuboscocca, 1952 / V12 Engine, 2715 cc / Coachwork: Berlinetta by Vignale / 
Entrant: Arnold Meier (Switzerland)

Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport – Prototype, 1953 / Inline 6 Engine, 4482 cc / Coachwork: Cabriolet by Graber / Entrant: Kaspar Fleischmann (Switzerland)

Aerodynamics was still in its infancy and the issue of bodywork construction was rarely tackled in a scientific approach. Rumpler and Kamm were pioneers who started to take a systematic look at the mythology of aerodynamics. Some of the most beautiful coachwork ever created for automobiles was penned during the 1930s with styling that was perceived as aerodynamic without actually having been subject to systematic analysis. The windscreen sloped further and further and the wings adopted a teardrop shape. However, the decisive factor determining the form was still the perception of human proportions and their aesthetics. Aerodynamic optimisation at the expense of design was simply not a concept.

Class C


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Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, 1914 / Inline 6 Engine, 7428 cc / Coachwork: Torpedo Grand Luxe by Van den Plas / Entrant: Terence George Bramall (United Kingdom)

Rolls-Royce Ghost 40/50 HP Springfield, 1923 / Inline 6 Engine, 7428 cc / Coachwork: Dual Cowl Phaeton by Pall Mall / Entrant: Jack Boyd Smith Jr. (United States)

Rolls-Royce 40/50 H.P. Phantom II Continental, 1933 / Inline 6 Engine, 7668 cc / Coachwork: Fixed Head Coupé by Freestone & Webb / Entrant: Lord Bamford (United Kingdom)

Rolls-Royce Phantom III, 1938 / V12 Engine, 7341 cc / Coachwork: Fixed Head Coupé by Hooper / Entrant: Fritz-Andreas Neidhart (Germany)

Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II LWB, 1961 / Inline 6 Engine, 6223 cc / Coachwork: Cabriolet by H.J. Mulliner / Entrant: Fred Kriz (Monaco)

Rolls-Royce has the reputation of being the epitome of automobile luxury. The complexity of the design evolved in the spirit of art for art’s sake, while the pursuit of perfection and the greatest possible comfort always took centre stage. The opulence of having enough of everything was the doctrine of the brand. Rolls-Royce designs always featured well-thought-out and lavishly expensive solutions. Sir Henry Royce’s uncompromising credo was “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better”. This remains one of the most famous quotations throughout automotive history, and the reputation of the marque for sublime quality reigns supreme to this day.

Class D


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Mercedes Benz 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ Aluminium, 1955 / Inline 6 Engine, 2996 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen / Entrant: Wirtgen Invest Holding GmbH (Germany)

Ferrari 335 S, 1957 / V12 Engine, 4023 cc / Coachwork: Spider by Scaglietti / 
Entrant: Brian Ross (United States)

Ferrari 250 GT SWB, 1960 / V12 Engine, 2953 cc / Coachwork: Berlinetta by Scaglietti /
Entrant: Bernard Lezaire (Netherlands)

Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, 1960 / Inline 6 Engine, 3670 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Touring Superleggera / Entrant: Andreas Halvorsen (United States)

Ferrari 250 GT Speciale Aerodinamico (SWB), 1962 / V12 Engine, 2953 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Pininfarina / Entrant: William E. Heinecke (Thailand)

Ferrari 330 GTC, 1966 / V12 Engine, 2953 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Pininfarina / 
Entrant: Christy Chiltern-Hunt (United Kingdom)

Lamborghini Miura P400, 1967 / V12 Engine, 3929 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Bertone / 
Entrant: Barry Fitzgerald (Australia)

Porsche Carrera RS 2.7, 1973 / Flat 6 Engine, 2687 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Porsche / 
Entrant: Andrea Recordati (Italy)

These super sports cars were created at a time when the term was not even in existence. Almost all of these cars formed the basis for GT racing and were only sold to ‘normal’ customers to achieve homologation, i.e. approval for racing. This was a golden age when privateer drivers could still successfully campaign in races with a specially commissioned, customised sports racing car and use the same vehicle on their everyday commute during the week. Just imagine Count Marzotto, an Italian hotshot who epitomised the archetypal client targeted to purchase these automobiles when he won the Mille Miglia in style driving in a suit and tie.

Class E


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Maserati A6GCS/53 Spider Frua, 1955 / Inline 6 Engine, 1985 cc / Coachwork: Berlinetta by Frua / Entrant: Jonathan & Wendy Segal (United States)

Maserati A6G/54, 1956 / Inline 6 Engine, 1986 cc / Coachwork: Berlinetta by Zagato / 
Entrant: Roberto Quiroz (Mexico)

Maserati 3500 Spider Vignale Prototipo, 1959 / Inline 6 Engine, 3485 cc / Coachwork: Spyder 
by Vignale / Entrant: Phil White (United States)

Maserati 5000 GT, 1966 / V8 Engine, 4719 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Frua / 
Entrant: Henk de Vries (Netherlands)

Maserati Ghibli, 1970 / V8 Engine, 4709 cc / Coachwork: Spider by Ghia / 
Entrant: Andreas Halder (Germany)

Maserati Quattroporte AM 121, 1971 / V8 Engine, 4719 cc / Coachwork: Berlina by Frua / 
Entrant: Thierry Dehaeck (Belgium)

The Maserati marque was established in Bologna in 1914 by the brothers Alfieri, Ettore and Ernesto Maserati. Initially, the company focused exclusively on the construction of racing cars. The first Maserati racing car – the Tipo 26 – made its debut in the mid-1920s. Over the years that followed, Maserati consolidated a reputation of being one of the most successful marques in motor racing. The luxury vehicle manufacturer achieved the success that eluded its major competitors in Maranello by winning the Indianapolis 500 Miles in 1939 and 1940. In fact, the first road-going cars were only built in Bologna after the Second World War and production only exceeded minimal numbers in the 1950s. The brand’s most impressive and successful sports cars were created during this period.

Class F


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Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport ‘Villa d’Este’, 1951 / Inline 6 Engine, 2449 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Touring Superleggera / Entrant: Marc Walter (Germany)

Mercedes-Benz 300 SC, 1955 / Inline 6 Engine, 2996 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen / Entrant: Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani (Qatar)

BMW 507, 1957 / V8 Engine, 3168 cc / Coachwork: Roadster by BMW / 
Entrant: Harrie van den Anker (Netherlands)

Bentley S 2, 1961 / V8 Engine, 6230 cc / Coachwork: Drophead Coupé by H.J. Mulliner / 
Entrant: Jörg Wolle (Switzerland)

Ferrari 275 GTS, 1966 / V12 Engine, 3285 cc / Coachwork: Spider by Pininfarina / 
Entrant: Christopher Stahl (Germany)

Aston Martin DB5, 1966 / Inline 6 Engine, 3995 cc / Coachwork: Shooting Brake by Touring Superleggera & Radford / Entrant: The Golden Age Collection (Germany)

Mercedes-Benz 600, 1972 / V8 Engine, 6332 cc / Coachwork: Saloon by Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen / Entrant: Axel Schröter (Monaco)

As fast as sports cars – but elegant, comfortable and powerful. Luxurious touring cars created for a world of lonely roads in idyllic countryside. This type of car used to be known in France as ‘Grand Routières’. Whether styled as a sports car converted for hunting, a luxury saloon equipped with the driving attributes of a sportster, or a highly exclusive convertible – the like of cars such as these hardly exists today. Their speed combined with luxury and superlative comfort put these touring cars in a class apart. They provided everything for the heart’s desire of a lady that a thoroughbred racer was unable to offer. Their exclusivity was reflected in the astronomical price and extravagant, individually designed bodywork.

Class G


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Bugatti Type 35C, 1928 / Inline 8 Engine, 1991 cc / Coachwork: Grand Prix by Bugatti / 
Entrant: Auriga Collection (Germany)

Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, 1932 / Inline 8 Engine, 2336 cc / Coachwork: Spider by Figoni / 
Entrant: Private Collection (Belgium)

Ferrari 250 GT, 1957 / V12 Engine, 2953 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Boano / 
Entrant: Ulbe Hempenius (Netherlands)

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, 1960 / Inline 6 Engine, 2996 cc / Coachwork: Roadster by Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen / Entrant: Zoltan Harsanyi (Slovakia)

Abarth Simca 1300 GT, 1963 / Inline 6 Engine, 2449 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Sabona & Basano / Entrant: Elad Shraga (Israel)

Serenissima Agena, 1967 / Inline 6 Engine, 3500 cc / Coachwork: Berlinetta by Drogo / 
Entrant: Alexander Wiesner (Germany)

Fiat Dino Aerodinamica, 1967 / V6 Engine, 1987 cc / Coachwork: Berlinetta by Pininfarina / 
Entrant: Lee Hower (United States)

Cars drawn from disparate decades come together here in a single award class – and the class itself appears to be anything but homogeneous. What unites these cars is the uniqueness of each life story. They are all survivors, vehicles that have had the good fortune never to have been subjected to facelifts destroying their authenticity. These cars are time capsules that have been allowed to age gracefully. They bear witness to their era, presenting a truly genuine countenance and displaying authentic surfaces and details.

Class H


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Lamborghini Countach LP400, 1976 / V12 Engine, 3929 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Bertone / 
Entrant: Christine Schams (United Kingdom)

Ruf CTR “Yellowbird”, 1987 / Flat 6 Engine, 3667 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Porsche / 
Entrant: Alois Ruf (Germany)

Porsche 959 Komfort, 1988 / Sixcylinder Boxer Engine, 2849 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Porsche / Entrant: Todd Blue (United States)

Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary, 1990 / V12 Engine, 3929 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Bertone / Entrant: Mario Escudero (United Kingdom)

McLaren F1, 1995 / V12 Engine, 6064 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by McLaren / 
Entrant: Tony Vassilopoulos (United Kingdom)

Lamborghini Diablo GT, 1999 / V12 Engine, 5992 cc / Coachwork: Coupé by Bertone / 
Entrant: Jose Cobian (Mexico)

The manufacturers of the brands that produced these extraordinary automotive dreams had mostly earned their reputation on the racetrack, and the vehicles had been developed for high-speed travel on the motorways criss-crossing the continent. But such fabulous and exotic machines were rarely used for their intended purpose and high-speed journeys between Milan and Paris were the exception. The racy and eye-catching super sports cars made their most high-profile appearances in Monte Carlo, Cannes and a multitude of other glamorous destinations. Their very appearance exuded enticing appeal and they served above all as the attributes of playboys. The really hard-charging driving took place almost exclusively in video games.

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