Best of Show: Our favourites from the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2013
#1 Ralph Lauren's Bugatti Atlantic 57SC
The elegant black coupé was the creation of Ettore Bugatti’s son Jean, and is today considered one of the most valuable cars in the world – indeed, it’s been the centrepiece of Ralph Lauren’s collection for some time now, the last of only four Atlantics ever built.
#2 Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo Roadster by Saoutchik
In 1927, New York industrial magnate Charles A. Levine wanted to gift himself a very special Mercedes. He ordered a 680S, which was subsequently sent to respected French coachbuilder Saoutchik. The purchase price was never recorded, but it was likely to have been a substantial outlay above and beyond the cost of the rolling chassis, especially given such special requests as a lizard-skin interior (apparently, 760 reptiles gave their lives). Ultimately, financial trouble meant Levine was never able to take delivery.
Today, the recently restored yet highly original Torpedo impresses with its unusual colour combination of grey with burgundy accents.
#3 Aston Martin DBS from 'The Persuaders!'
As the original ‘Bahama Yellow’ steed of Lord Brett Sinclair (Roger Moore) in ‘The Persuaders!’, this DBS kindled much debate within the Classic Driver team, with some believing it worthy of first place. Rarely has a six-cylinder DBS been so perfectly presented – note the retention of V8-style wheels, true to its appearances in the 70s TV series.
#4 Lamborghini 350 GTV Prototype
Of huge historical interest is the first prototype of a Lamborghini sports car – the 350 GTV which evolved into the first production model, the 350 GT. Unveiled at the 1963 Turin Motor Show, the body was designed by Scaglione, while the 347HP V12 engine was the work of Giotto Bizzarrini. At this year’s Villa d’Este, vistors could marvel at the prototype sitting next to both the 350 GT it spawned and the ultra-rare open-topped 350 GTS.
#5 Ferrari Dino 166P/206P
Badged a ‘Dino’ (after Enzo’s son Alfredo) rather than a Ferrari, since it had fewer than the requisite (at the time) 12 cylinders, this racing car is rich in history, both in its guise as a 166P (1.6-litre V6 engine) and later with its 2.0-litre engine. The fiercely competitive little car won ‘Best of Show’ at last year’s Schloß Bensberg Classic and we feel it deserves a place in our selection here, too.
#6 Lancia Sibilo
The architect Corrado Lopresto is one of the most important Lancia collectors in Italy. His collection includes such rare and bizarre beauties as the Lancia Sibilo prototype from 1978, based on the Lancia Stratos, the result of a desire by Marcello Gandini, head of design studio Bertone, to create the ‘Stratos of the Future’. The removable circular section in the side windows is just one of its extremely odd features.
Photos: Jan Baedeker / Nanette Schärf