22/06/2012 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500SS Coupé Villa d’Este: ‘Coming home’, June 2012
Take a beautiful car and put it in a breathtaking location – you really can’t go wrong. The formula has worked well over the years at Villa d’Este, and earlier this month an even more exclusive event took place at the stunning Lake Como hotel: a meeting of many of the immediately post-War Alfa Romeo coupés carrying the magical name, ‘Villa d’Este’.
First of all, a little history. In the aftermath of WW2, Touring of Milan produced an elegant coupé design on the shortest wheelbase chassis of the 6C 2500. When fitted with an ‘SS’, triple-Weber version of the Alfa Romeo straight-six it was, of course, a ‘6C 2500SS’.
In 1949, at only the second post-War Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Touring of Milan’s timeless styling won the admiration of the general public, winning the famous Coppa d’Oro, an award decided by a public vote and always the most highly prized.
The Alfa Romeo 6C 2500SS Coupé Villa d’Este was born.
As the world-famous Villa d’Este hotel now owns its own example of a ‘Villa d’Este’ (“now exhibited as a work of art” – how apt), it was only appropriate that event organiser Marco Makaus should invite other owners to attend what will, from now on, be an annual celebration of the model.
On Sunday 10 June 2012, six other cars travelled from as far away as Brussels and Pescara to be in Lake Como for the event. While expert opinions vary on both the number of cars built from 1949 to 1952 and those still in existence, the seven cars represent perhaps half of the known examples extant, and just under a quarter of the total production. Not bad going for a first event, and all – with the exception of the Dutch owner’s car – driven to the meeting.
Placed with considered care around the famous platano tree in the hotel’s grounds, the septet of coupés looked stunning. And it was a measure of how seriously the owners took the new event as one came direct from the restoration shop (where it will return) and another was run in the Mille Miglia retrospective only a few weeks before. (In the hands of an ex-works Alfa Romeo, BMW and Ford driver it performed faultlessly, despite never intended to be a ‘competition’ car.)
Throughout the day, and over a superb light lunch at the hotel’s informal Grill restaurant, the owners were eager to share their Alfa Romeo Villa d’Este experiences. Coffees were served on the terrace and the day took another twist as Italian master model-makers BBR revealed a new, 1/18 scale model of the immortal ‘Villa d’Este’ Alfa Romeo.
As Makaus put it in his introduction to the event, by reuniting so many cars and owners at the ‘birthplace’ of the Touring design, they were “writing a little piece in the history of the Alfa Romeo Villa d’Este”.
With further annual meetings planned at Lake Como, and a website dedicated to the model featuring detailed records for each individual chassis in the advanced planning stage, it’s an exciting time to be an owner of an Alfa Romeo 6C 2500SS Coupé Villa d’Este.
But perhaps ‘excitement’ does not best convey the understated, timeless elegance of car and location, both so sublimely paired one sunny Sunday in June.