2018 Preview:
Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

Knotty Nawadhinsukh Words by Knotty Nawadhinsukh

“Crisis or no, nothing should interfere with tea!”—Around The World in 80 Days

We at GRAND TOURING MAGAZINE did not manage to visit the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este back in May of this year. Due to an unforeseen circumstance, we sadly had to cancel the trip at the very last minute. But these things happen and barring any further unpredictability in life, rest assured that we will make every effort to be there in 2018.

The Concorso d’Eleganza has had a chequered history since the very first one held as far back as 1929. There was a series of ups and downs in organising and revitalising the event since then, where the intention was to gather the most beautiful and most sought-after automobiles in the world together at the romantic backdrop in this little town called Cernobbio in northern Italy.

Great historic display of BMW two-doors
Invited guests and media got first look of the BMW Concept 8 Series right in front of Lake Como
Everyone likes to take a shot at a beauty—and that Rolls-Royce Sweptail is wonderful to look at too…

It was not until at the end of the 20th century in which the event began to take shape, as BMW Group became the patron and then later as partner with the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este to co-host the Concorso. This collaboration has proven to be quite fruitful for nearly twenty years now. As aside from drawing the crowds more and more annually toward witnessing the crème de la crème  of the world’s best vintage cars at the most beautiful of setting, it also allowed the lucky public and distinguished attendees alike to be among the firsts to view the latest concept cars and the future direction of BMW Group, including the Mini and Rolls-Royce.

Wild Renault Trezor Electric Two-Seater Concept
Count Lurani's Nibbio Record car received the Coppa d'Oro by the late count's daughter and grandson
Best of Show Winner, Corrado Lopresto's Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Protoipo by Bertone

The major highlights of what went on last May from BMW included a historical recap of the great BMW two-door sports models produced during the Company’s illustrious history from the BMW Classic division. It served as an ideal prelude to its World Premiere of the Concept 8 Series. From Rolls-Royce, what stunned the crowd this year was a completely one-off “Sweptail”, which was hand-made according to the strict specifications as ordered by a client. This bespoke two-seater Rolls combined both exotic man-made and natural materials and was designed according to the owner’s penchant for yachting—with a reported cost of US$12.8 million. Since it was not available for sale, the patrons had the opportunity to take home a classic (or two) at the annual RM Sotheby’s auction held during the same time at Villa d’Este.

There is a theme that runs underneath the layer of the Concorso d’Eleganza each year. For 2017, that was “Around the World in 80 Days – Voyage through an Era of Records”. As such from the historical vehicles side, it was appropriate that the 1935 Lurani Nibbio built for speed-record was nominated as the Winner for the Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este.

Elegant Lancia Aurelia Spider
Trofeo Julius Baer Winner, the 1962 Ghia L 6.4 is pure Hollywood
1958 Maserati 300 S won its class

As for the Best of Show award, that went to Corrado Lopresto’s immaculate 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Prototipo out of all the 51 cars that entered. In other categories, Luca Bertolero’s amazing 1960 Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record car by Pinin Farina was voted the best preserved post-war car while the Fantuzzi-bodied Maserati 300 S racer from 1958 of collector Andreas Mohringer took the “Shaped By Speed: Racing Through The Decades” honour.

This Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California Prototipo received a Mention of Honour as "Playboys Toys"
Luca Bertolero with in-period outfit for his amazing Abarth 1000
At Villa d'Este, presentation is everything...

So what can we expect from the Concorso d’Eleganza during the 25th to the 28th of May in 2018? No one knows for certain, but it would no doubt be another elegant and celebrity-filled period as ever in Italy at Villa d’Este and Villa Erba, arguably the most prestigious automobile event at the most picturesque places on earth. After all, this was where Ralph Lauren made a rare personal appearance several years ago to accept the Best of Show trophy for his 1938 Bugatti 57SC. While this year saw Romanian tennis player Ion Tiriac showcasing some from his own private collection of plus-400 cars (including a rare 1930 ex-Tyrone Power Duesenberg J Convertible Berline), there was also former supermodel Yasmin Le Bon serving as a lady jury for the first time—showing the men a thing or two on how beauty and glamour ought to be judged.

But one thing we know for sure, nothing can interfere with OUR plan for tea by Lake Como this time—crisis or no…

The Most Beautful Place on Earth?

All Photos and Videos Provided by BMW Group Classic for Editorial Use Only