The most historic Concours d’Elegance found itself once again at Cernobbio, by the banks of Lake Como last weekend. 48 cars in total, from 1914 to 1972, were divided into eight classes for judging by not only the experts, but also by members of the public.
The 2006 Concours took place once again under BMW’s patronage and Lorenzo Ramaciotti, president of the judges said the event once again presented a selection of "Unusual automobiles, which express beauty, passion and individualism, style and engineering art, which aim directly at the heart".
A bridge from the past to the future was maintained by an exhibition of specially selected concept vehicles, that was enlivened this year by two world premiers. Zagato showed the Ferrari 575M specially commissioned by a Japanese client to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 250GTZ, while the Russo-Baltique Impression is intended to maintain the tradition of luxury coupés that disappeared with the Russian Revolution. The manufacturer that supplied the Tsars is back in business again.
Sunday dawned sunny, and it brought members of the public in their hundreds to Villa Erba. The cars were displayed in the most perfect setting possible, amongst the beautiful gardens of the Villa.
The BMW Trophy, or ‘Best in Show’ for classic vehicles went to the 1959 Ferrari 410 SA Pinin Farina of US Ferrari collector Peter Kalikow – who also had his bespoke 612 Scaglietti in another corner of the gardens. The public’s prize, the Coppa d'Oro Villa d'Este, went to a 1930 Isotto Fraschini 8 A SS. The four-seat body of the latter by Castagna was originally exported to America and had been in single ownership for 50 years. After a complete restoration this was the first time the car has been seen in public.
The Trofeo BMW Italia, another award made by the visiting public, went to the 1939 Bugatti T57, while a special prize in memory of former president of the jury Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni was given to a 1963 Ferrari 250GTO. The Trofeo FIVA was won by the 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental, and the prize for the car that had covered the most miles went to the 1974 BMW 3.0 CSL that started its life as a test car for the company’s engine division. The Rolls-Royce Trophy was awarded to the 1928 Rolls- Royce Phantom I Experimental Jarvis. This was the seventeenth model of a series of prototypes and eventually found itself in India, owned by the Maharajah Bahadur of Jammu and Kashmir, before returning to Europe in the 1970s.
Completing the competition there was a design prize for the best modern concept car. Twelve vehicles were entered in this category and the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este Design Award went to Alfa Romeo, with its Studie 8C Spider from 2005. It also won the BMW Group Design Award (by public referendum at Villa Erba).
Text: Classic Driver
Photos: Nanette Schärf
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