Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este: The Italian Style Concours That Remains One Of The Best Historic Vehicle Shows
Images: Patrick Rollet & Tiddo Bresters
The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is traditionally held in the month of May. During this time, an exclusive part of Italy’s Lake Como buzzes with the sound of high-powered automobiles as some of the finest historic vehicles from across the globe get together for a weekend of spit, polish and show off.
With the pandemic making a mess of plans, it was only on the weekend of 1 to 3 October 2021, that the walls of Villa d’Este reverberated to the sounds of six, eight and V12s.
Established as early in 1929, the Concorso d’Elegenza Villa d’Este is one of the oldest ongoing concours d’elegance competition in the world and is, arguably, one of the most prestigious too.
With the limitations of space, just 50-odd cars compete for the various classes and the best of show.
However, the event organisers, with BMW as main sponsor supporting the concours for many years now, manage to get together some of the most extraordinary automobiles from before WW II, and after.
Despite German sponsorship (from BMW), the cars that won the Best of Show for the last seven years have been Italian, and this year was no different.
A 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France took home the Best of Show trophy at the 2021 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
Owned by American collector Brian Ross, the Ferrari will now attend the final of the 2021 Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award in Paris next February.
A 1930 Lancia Dilambda Series I with coachwork by Carlton Carriage won the 2021 Copa d’Oro (Gold Cup) at the Concorso d’Eleganza, the trophy awarded to the most popular car according to visitors and spectators.
The car, a convertible coupe with bodywork by the British coachbuilder Carlton Carriage, is powered by a 3960cc V8. Acquired in 2018 by the Italian Filippo Sole, the car underwent a long and comprehensive process of restoration that lasted almost a year, before the beautiful tourer retrieved the splendour it must have had 90 years ago.
“I took part in the competition for the first time, almost for fun, a couple of years ago,” explained Sole, “and I fell in love with this event. This time, however, I wanted to present a truly unique car. Also, on the advice of my wife, I decided to restore the Lancia Dilambda. It was a team effort, and the award is especially for the other members of the team.”
With eight classes, there were as many as eight class winners too. The classes included one for Italian Gran Turismos, endurance racers, a class for supercars, a class of cars designed by Pininfarina to celebrate the coachbuilder’s 90th anniversary, as well as a car for the “hypercars” of the 1990s.
A 1960 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB, from the Monaco-based Destriero collection, won the Pininfarina class. Another class winner was a de Villars-bodied Delage D8-120S from 1938, owned by Swiss collector, Fritz Burkard.
FIVA’s current and former presidents Tiddo Bresters and Patrick Rollet chose a 1920 Rolls-Royce 40/50HP Silver Ghost for the Preservation award, as a car that was the best preserved.
Although there was a class for concept cars, and there were several from BMW and others, the car that caught the fancy of everyone was a car that was a recreation of a concept from more than half a century ago: the extraordinary Lamborghini Countach LP500, from 1971. You can read more about the “new” Countach, in an opinion piece by Michael Robinson.
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