Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2017 invites you to an era of records.

by Bernie McGroarty on May 11, 2017, 11:16 pm
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The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is the world’s most exclusive heritage event for historic automobiles and mo torcycles.The event has a long tradition extending back to the year 1929, when the first exhibition entitled “Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este” was held in Cernobbio, Northern Italy, as a showcase for new launches in the automobile sector. This was followed by decades of changing fortunes. In 1999, the BMW Group became the patron, and since 2005, BMW Group Classic has joined forces with the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este as the organiser of this pageant of rare beauties, which several thousand enthusiasts and participants come to see from all over the world each year.

The motto of this year’s classic weekend is “Around the World in 80 Days –Voyage through an Era of Records”. It refers to the end of the 19th century when the world was becoming increasingly mobile. Even before the invention of the automobile, people succeeded in going round the world using modes of transport such as the railway and steam ship.

In keeping with the motto, the field of rare treasures is in itself impressive, with global reach and a rich heritage of supreme achievements. Indeed the sheer range of vehicles is likely to be record breaking. There surely cannot be another automobile beauty contest where the candidates are powered by one to twelve-cylinder engines and generate between 1.5 and 450 hp. The engine with the biggest capacity is mounted in a Rolls-Royce Phantom I: 7668 cc. Apart from the 50 cc motorcycles, the heart of the smallest power unit beats in an Intermeccanica (493 cc).

The concept of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and the exhibited vehicles encompass an impressive combination of tradition and vision. This aura is augmented by the award class Concept Cars and Prototypes, which is unique and not replicated in any of the world’s other classic events. The vehicles presented express the creative passion of leading designers in our time, along with their perspective on the future. The focus is on the visions for automobile design in tomorrow’s world, as a counterpoint for the retrospective show of important historic vehicles and their eras. The decision on allocation of the Concorso d’Eleganza Design Awards is taken by a public referendum.

Impressive history and fascinating future

The very special attraction of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is provided by the unusual combination of selected historic vehicles on two and four wheels together with the presentation of the latest concept vehicles and prototypes. The beauty contests are the centre of attention in the stylish environment of Villa d’Este and Villa Erba. These pageants set the stage for the display of rare and unusual vehicles from different eras. The automobile contest sees 51 vehicles of outstanding class and with fascinating histories competing in eight categories for the favours of the Jury and the public audience. 40 motorcycles in five categories and a special class provide a blue-riband field of competitors. The different award classes define thematic focuses for reviewing the history of vehicle construction.

The owners of the 51 automobiles come from 16 countries –most of them (12) from the USA. 30 different marques are on show which were produced in seven countries. Italy has twelve marques and therefore has the most manufacturers represented, and it includes Ferrari as the brand with the largest number of candidates (7).

The eight automobile classes

Class A. Speed Demons: Endurance Pioneers of the Golden Age.

This class recalls endurance contests for the Gordon Bennett Cup, the classic Paris – Rouen Race or the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Two racing cars meet here again which competed against each other on the Brooklands race track at Weybridge/Surrey in the UK, already a legend in the 1930s: the French Ballot 3/8 LC from 1920 and the Bentley 4 ½ Litre from 1929.

Class B. Travelling in Style: Around the World in 40 Years.

Luxurious and extravagant automobiles from the pre-war era compete for the favour of the jurors. These candidates were forged in the style of their times and they are not just permitted to exude an aura of decadence – they must epitomise it.

Class C. Goodbye Jazz, Hello Radio: Full Speed into the 1930s.

In 1932, the car radio was launched on its successful trajectory. Rhythmic harmony encouraged drivers to adopt a more rapid driving style. This class shows how different manufacturers responded to this challenge. The full range of responses is presented here encompassing overdrive gearboxes, streamlined coachwork and supercharged engines.

Class D. Faster, Quieter, Smoother: Heroes of the Jet Age.

Sporting beauties came on the scene in the years after 1945 and this class brings them together. The sports cars propelled by powerful engines and a bespoke individual body were definitely way out in front when it came to exclusivity.

Class E. The Grand Tour Continues: The Next 40 Years.

After 1945, large luxury saloons quickly returned to our roads. Numerous specials and unique coachbuilt bodies were also created for the luxury class.

Class F. Fast and Flamboyant: Playboys’ Toys.

This is where the fast cars of high society line up – not particularly practical but absolutely wonderful. Racing cars licensed for road use or a Le Mans racer were once used by smart young epicureans to drive from one night club to the next.

Class G. Supergioiello: Little Toys for Big Boys.

The competitors in this class bear witness to the fact that the exclusivity of a sports car was not entirely restricted to statistics for the number of cylinders, displacement and power. Even an air-cooled two-cylinder automobile can create an impressive sight. The most frequently produced sports car in this class still only achieved a total number of 21. Four of these sports cars remained absolutely unique.

Class H. Shaped by Speed: Racing through the Decades.

These competition cars convey the multifaceted ways in which shape could contribute to aerodynamic effect. The styling of the coachwork was incomparably aesthetic in the years from the 1950s to the 1970s, when the sole purpose was to win races.

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The five motorcycle classes

For the seventh time, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este held on the shores of Lake Como will also rank among the world’s most exclu sive highlights of the year for owners and fans of historic motorcycles. The heritage beauty contest for classic vehicles from different eras provides the backdrop for grand performances on both event days for the rare gems on two wheels. On the Saturday, the motorcycles will line up in a parade for the Concorso di Motociclette. They will go on a street run along the roads of Como and Cernobbio before finishing with a ride through the grounds of the park at Villa Erba and arriving in front of Villa d’Este. On the Sunday, the two-wheelers will be arrayed there for appraisal by the expert international Jury.

In 2017, motorcycle prototypes are also lining up at the start for the first time. This year, too, visitors will for the first time select the most beautiful classic motorcycle from all the candidates.

The award classes defined for the beauty competition enable visitors to experience the important staging posts in the development of the motorcycle and its most important representatives. Five classes and a special class have been defined to focus the attention of the public audience on particularly fascinating types of vehicle and historical phases.

Owners from five countries will present a total of 40 candidates which were manufactured in six countries. 35 different marques make the diversity here even greater than in automobiles. Italy with 25 marques has by far the biggest number of makes. Twelve of these brands are still producing motorcycles to this day.

Class A. Dreams and Adventures – Motorcycles of the 1920s and 1930s for the Great Journey.

Endurance motorcycles line up in this class. They enabled the dream of individual travel to be fulfilled nearly 100 years ago. The Belgian “Gillet Tour du Monde” is here as well. It was the first motorcycle to travel round the world in 1926.

Class B. The Alternatives – 1950s Scooters that did not come from the Market Leaders.

This class shows the beginnings of the scooter boom from 1946. The aircraft group Piaggio launched the “Vespa” on the market and a string of other companies followed suit with a wide range of different designs.

Class C. The Originals – 1960s Street Scramblers from Japan.

In particular Japanese designers developed the “Scrambler” style with elevated exhaust pipes and handlebars. This is a trend that established the Scrambler as an independent motorcycle segment to the present day.

Class D. Framed in Europe – 1970s Fours in new Clothes.

The Honda CB 750 triggered a change in image. Machines with four cylinders were transformed from tourers into racing machines. European specialists supplied new frames converting Japanese models and they even supplied complete motorcycles.

Class E. Motorcycle Design – New Concept Bikes and Prototypes.

Exciting Concept Bikes created in the design studios which have so far generally only been presented internally.

Special Exhibition. Youth Dreams – Sporting 50cc in Italy in the 1960s/1970s.

Small motorcycles with a displacement of 50 cc, 1.5 hp and a top speed of 40 km/h captivated teenagers in the 1960s and 1970s. Design inspired by motor sport provided the basis for these machines.

Program schedule

On Friday, visitors can already admire the vehicles presented in the parkland of Villa Erba as part of the public days. These vehicles will be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s on the Saturday evening.

At 14.00 on Saturday, the Street Run of the competition motorcycles starts from Villa Erba on an outing to Villa d’Este. In the afternoon, the selection for the first important award is made at Villa d’Este with the “Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este” public prize.

On Sunday, the 51 competition automobiles and 40 motorcycles parade in front of the grandstand in the garden of Villa Erba where the winners will receive their awards. Finally, on Sunday evening the international Jury of experts will award the most important prize for the automobiles: the title of “Best of Show” at Villa d’Este.



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