The Costa Smeralda in northeastern Sardinia has been a hotspot for the international jet set since Prince Karim Aga Khan IV discovered the coastal landscape in the 1960s and lured the world's rich and famous to Porto Cervo. At least since 1977, when James Bond appeared in “The Spy Who Loved Me” with his deep-sea capable Lotus Esprit from the crystal-clear water of the Spiaggia Capriccioli, the Costa Smeralda was no longer an insider tip. And to this day, choosing the right summer car is of crucial importance for the high society, who meet in summer on the dream beaches around Porto Cervo. For the past seven years, the paradisiacal Italian island coast has even had its own Concorso d'Eleganza - the Poltu Quatu Classic. The beauty pageant is hosted by Simone Bertolero, a long-time resident of the Classic Driver Market with Auto Classic Italy.
The European collectors' community met once again last weekend at the Grand Hotel Poltu Quatu. And of course, there was once again a whole series of elegant and exalted beach runabouts to admire - the selection ranged from the classic Fiat 500 Spiaggina to the Meyers Manx. But the Poltu Quatu Classic is not just a meeting of charming beach cars in front of a dreamy summer backdrop, but a serious concours - even next to the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, the only one in Italy to be recognized by FIVA. The selection of the classics on display was correspondingly top-class. In addition to scene greats such as Luciano Bertolero, Alberto Scuro, Mariella Mengozzi and Valentino Balboni, the jury also included J. Philip Rathgen, CEO of Classic Driver.
The rally racing cars, in particular, attracted a great deal of attention this year. Finally, the “Best of Show” title also went to a Lancia 037 Volta, which the French racing driver and collector Eric Comas had brought to the starting line. The rally car in the legendary "Eminence" livery had won the Tour Auto in 1983 and also taken part in the Costa Smeralda Rally - and its owner insisted on continuing the color combination of his Lancia in his own outfit and down to his socks. He was able to assert himself against strong rally competition from Subaru and Toyota. The Ferrari 308 GT4 Dino, with which Giorgio Schön contested the Beijing Paris Rally in 2019, was also a real eye-catcher.
Looking at the "true" classics on the entry list, the victory of the Lancia 037 came as a surprise as the jury decided against a wonderful Ferrari 250 TdF and a very rare Ferrari 212 Vignale. Incidentally, one of the most beautiful Ferraris for us was the red Ferrari 365 GTC in great original condition, which Edo Schön had brought to the island from Rosso Corsa. The car was ordered by the Schöns at the time and has been in the family ever since.
But it wasn't just Italian cars that set the tone on the Costa Smeralda: Alois Ruf, his wife Estonia and their youngest daughter Aloisa had traveled to Sardinia to compete in a Ruf CTR limited to 50 units and a Ruf SCR in the class of competing supercars. The Ruf clan was supported by Maria Paola and Alfredo Stola, the founders of Studio Torino. They started with the concept of a Ruf RK Spyder. The class was then also dominated by Ruf - all three cars finished on the podium. Ultimately, the Poltu Quatu Classic was not about the rankings and prizes, but about the people and their shared passion, which they knew how to celebrate in one of the most beautiful spots in Europe. Prince Aga Khan would have been delighted.
Photos: Andrea Luzardi for Classic Driver