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At Villa d'Este between history and elegance

Photo by Dennis Pellegrini

Dennis Pellegrini

At Villa d'Este between history and elegance

It was the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, a historic car that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1931 to 1934 and the Mille Miglia from 1932 to 1934, that won the coveted BMW Group Trophy for Best of Show at the prestigious Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este held May 24-26, 2024, straddling the eponymous residence in Cernobbio overlooking Lake Como and Villa Erba a few hundred meters away. “We didn't do anything, but she [the car] was the one who spoke to people”. These were the words of young Thibault, who keeps this Biscione car in a private collection. The example on display, year 1932, was supposed to run in the 1936 24 Hours of Le Mans, which was later cancelled, so the car was given as a birthday gift to a 21-year-old, who, aware of how lucky he was to have such an object in his hands, wanted to jealously preserve it for 77 years until the day he died, even refusing to exchange it for a Ferrari Daytona. The winner received as a gift a special watch from A. Lange & Söhne: the exclusive 1815 CHRONOGRAPH in 18-karat white gold with a solid rose gold dial and the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este coat of arms hand-engraved on the hinged cuvette.
BMW Group and the Concorso
The famous Concorso has been held now since 1929 and has seen the world's most beautiful and iconic automobiles parade through the gardens of these beautiful locations, regaining more fame especially since the 1990s. This year the audience reached 12,000 participants, a record, proving that elegance is liked and very much so. More than fifty historic cars paraded before a jury, led by Lorenzo Ramaciotti, to be evaluated and aspire to the most important prize.
Numerous, evidently, was the presence of BMW-branded cars, the automotive group that hosted and organized the event. Of particular note were some surprises, such as the pavilion dedicated to motorsport icons, in which all the BMW Art Cars that have participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans to date were on display, including the twentieth four-wheeled work in this successful series, this being the recently presented BMW M Hybrid V8, on which the New York-based contemporary artist Julie Mehretu has finely worked, a sports car that made a stop in Lari before proceeding on its way to France, where, in a few weeks, it will take part in precisely one of the most important endurance races in the world, in the setting of the WEC championship.   Other appearances by the group included the BMW Z8, a legendary roadster that may in this way blow out 25 candles, and the BMW Concept Skytop, which saw its launch at the very event, a “one-of-a-kind” convertible sports car that celebrates the legendary Z8 and 503 in its lines. Attention to detail and craftsmanship, combined with a 530-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine, make this concept the model for the brand's future, but it itself could give rise to a limited series on demand. Of course BMW's presence was notable, but it was not the only one. Historic cars included Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Bugatti, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Isotta Fraschini, Aston Martin, McLaren, and other well-known names.
The public votes for McLaren and Alfa Romeo.
The warm public was able to participate on Saturday and Sunday, making all its passion and contributing through referendum to the awarding of two important trophies, respectively the now traditional Coppa d'Oro Villa d'Este and the Concorso d'Eleganza Design
Award for the best car among concept cars and prototypes, emphasizing the link between past, present and future that the event aims to promote. The public was able to vote through an App made tailor-made for the Competition. The result was that the Gold Cup was won by the McLaren F1, winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995. Its birth is curious in that the idea for the model was was conceived immediately after the 1988 Monza Grand Prix while waiting for the return flight at Milan's Linate airport. Gordon Murray's design led to the development of a real rocket with a naturally aspirated V12 engine that still holds the record for the highest speed vehicle of its kind ever, even touching 384 km/h. The second prize awarded by the public, the Design Award, introduced by the organizing committee starting in 2002, saw the winner the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale interpreted in a modern key from the very icon of the same name from the late 1960s, considered by many to be the most beautiful car ever. Produced in only 33 examples, this new Biscione car, defined as “an authentic work of art in motion,” was born in the newly established Alfa Romeo “Bottega,” in which lucky owners will be able to package it in their own way, also being able to choose between a heat engine rather than an electric one, to make the product truly unique and personal. Among those present, we cannot forget the little ones, because they too had the chance to express themselves and award the best car according to their tastes: the BMW Group Ragazzi Trophy was awarded to the Lamborghini Diablo GT.
The Song of the Engine.
Among the many other prizes up for grabs, we would like to highlight the Canto del Motore Trophy, awarded by the BMW Group Classic brand ambassador and renowned tenor Jonas Kaufmann for the best engine sound, decided by the Jury, to the Lamborghini Countach LP 400. Finally, a tribute dedicated to some of the wonderful works designed by Marcello Gandini, who left us last March 13, certainly could not be missed. The famous Italian designer has several times in history revolutionized the concept of automotive aesthetics. To name a few present, we go from the Lamborghini Miura to the Lancia Stratos, from the Citroën GS Camargue to the Lamborghini Countach, from the Bugatti EB110 to the Alfa Romeo Montreal and so on. In short, not just anyone. www.deluxu.it By Dennis Pellegrini - Copyright.