Editor’s note: Daniel Stocker is a car nut who loves taking photos. He shared some photos and memories from his trip to this year’s Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza with Business Insider. You can see more of his work here.
This year I attended the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza, an exclusive auto show on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como, for the third time.
The first day of the Concorso takes place in the gardens of the beautiful Villa d’Este Hotel, and is open only to press and invited guests. On the second day, the cars are moved to Villa Erba, a nearby park, so they can be presented to the public. The extensive parkway is by no means inferior in beauty to the smaller one at the Villa d’Este.
In addition to the show, RM Auctions held an auction at Villa Erba, and made a few wealthy car collectors and investors very happy.
But it’s not just the cars that make this event so beautiful and unique: It’s a mixture of the scenery, the sounds of yesteryear’s finest racecars, and the scent of 1930s Rolls-Royce leather upholsteries.
Aston Martin is one of two manufacturers to celebrate a significant birthday this year, so it came as no surprise that they brought along their very own centennial birthday present: the CC100 Speedster. Based on the V12 Vantage and inspired by the 1959 DBR1, the CC100 features some design cues we might soon encounter in Aston Martin production cars. The multi-layered grill already found its way onto the front of the new V12 Vantage S.
While Lamborghini is celebrating its 50th birthday by introducing ridiculous concepts such as the Veneno and the Egoista, the Concorso's tribute was a little more tasteful. This 350 GTV prototype, for example, marked the beginning of Ferruccio's production car adventures.
A selection of vintage Lamborghinis can never be complete without a Miura, of course. This 1972 SV spends its time before the big show in good company.
This 400 GT Flying Star II by Touring Superleggera is without a doubt one of the most practical Lamborghinis ever built, and also one of the most exclusive. This is the only one in existence.
Not quite as rare, but equally interesting: the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta. Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful of the 250 Series, the Berlinetta is always a welcome guest at Concorsos all over the globe.
The 250 GT SWB California is quite a fierce competitor to the Berlinetta in terms of beauty, and it has the advantage of looking irresistible with its top down.
To distinguish among the vast number of models in the 250 Series, many Ferraris were given nicknames. Some from between 1956 and 1959 got the moniker 'Tour de France' as Ferrari dominated this endurance race nine consecutive times. In the late '50s, two of the most important Ferrari distributors convinced Enzo to build a drop-top version of the TdF: This is when the California was born.
Many early Ferrari production cars were merely homologated racecars to ensure the participation in the FIA GT Series. In 1964, Ferrari turned to Pininfarina to make the 250 LM more civilized and more appealing to potential customers. They came up with this, the Stradale Speciale. Out of the 32 LMs built, only this one got the Speciale treatment.
While $1.2 million sounds like a lot, wait until you hear for how much a 60-year-old Ferrari racecar sold for at the same auction!
This car, one of three Ferrari 340/375 MM Berlinetta Competizione by Pinin Farina raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Spa, and the Carrera Panamericana in 1953, which surely helped to increase the desirability of this car. The winning bid was an astonishing €9.8 million ($12.8 million).
This Dino 166P/206P was mainly built to compete in hill climbs and was less successful in endurance races. As it sported a V6 engine, it was not allowed to bear the Ferrari name, which in those days was exclusively reserved for V12 powered race and road cars.
Many cars at the Concorso were so rare that one hardly knew of their existence. This was not one of them: the 1938 Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic owned by fashion mogul Ralph Lauren. It is easy to see why this automotive sculpture is often seen as Ettore Bugatti's ultimate masterpiece, and why its sibling was sold for more than $30 million at an auction three years ago.
Of the four Atlantic Coupes, only two remain. This one was the last to be built, almost two years after the other three, and it is the only one to feature separate headlights. It drew the largest crowd, with and without Ralph Lauren in the passenger seat, and won almost every award it was eligible for.
While the Rolls-Royce fleet was merely there for means of transportation, all eyes were on the classics, like this Mercedes-Benz 500K Spezial Roadster from 1936.
A full 83 540K Cabriolet A vehicles were built by Mercedes-Benz in the 1930s. This one was specifically customised for the 14th Maharaja of Indore in 1937 ,and it remained in his possession until the 1970s. Two years ago this car sold for €1.4 million ($1.8 million) at the Villa Erba RM Auction.
Given its compact size (only 157 inches in length), low weight (2030.5 lbs) and 250 hp engine, the Jaguar XKSS is almost too perfect of a driver's car to let sit in the garage. Built on DType race car chassis, only 16 remain today.
One of the most coveted cars at this year's RM Auction was this Azzuro 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB by Scaglietti. The car went for more than $1.4 million while the equally stunning, less subtle Miura P400 went for $550,000.
The Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza does not just end at the gates of the Hotel grounds. Even visitors bring along the most exquisite automotive treasures, like these 300 SLs.
Each year, one category in the Concorso is dedicated to prototypes and concept cars. Pininfarina entered the competition with its Sergio Barchetta. Based on a Ferrari 458 Spider, the Sergio displays an extraordinary attention to aerodynamic detail, such as a deflector in front of the cockpit that creates a virtual windscreen.
Despite its outlandish looks, the McLaren is not just a prototype but an actual production car. As the successor to the legendary F1, expectations are high, but from what we have seen and heard so far, it will likely surpass them easily.
With a production run of 375 cars, the P1 is going to be rarer than its direct rivals, the LaFerrari and the 918 Spyder, but less exclusive than the F1. Also, its engine bay will probably not be lined with gold foil, like its predecessor's was.
A quick chat with the gentleman who owns this marvellous McLaren MP4-12C Spider revealed that he would have rather taken his F1 on the trip to Italy, but unfortunately it was in the shop at that time. Also, he is expecting delivery of his P1 in winter.
BMW sponsors the event, meaning they cannot enter the competition. But it didn't keep them from showing off some nice concepts. The Gran Lusso is Pininfarina's idea of an uber-luxurious BMW Grand Tourer. While it appears to be a logical successor to the 8 Series, is highly unlikely that BMW will transform this into a production Coupe above the 7 Series.
Pininfarina did a great job creating a design that appears aggressive, impressive, and elegant at the same time. The interior looks and feels equally exclusive, as it uses only the finest materials, like leather finished in Italy and kauri wood imported from New Zealand.
Just like the Disco Volante, this Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale by Zagato is a driving tribute to a legendary race car of the past. Both are not shy to borrow design clues from their role models, in this case the Alfa Giulia TZ2. But while Touring based the Disco Volante on an Alfa, Zagato goes a little further and borrows the chassis of a Viper ACR.
Naturally, BMW uses the Villa d'Este Concorso to show off its Rolls-Royce brand, including the brand new Wraith. With an engine producing more than 620 horsepower, the Wraith is the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever made, but not the most elegant.
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