Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

  • Filip
  • 2024-05-28 21:48
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Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

What an incredible two days we had at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este! The scenery, the people, and the cars combined to create a truly wonderful event. It began on a gloomy Saturday morning, with a grey sky and rain pouring down. After parking in the lot, the first sight that greeted us was the brand-new Pagani Utopia. You'd expect to see such a car at Villa d'Este or Villa Erba, but there it was, randomly parked in a public park.

We were greeted by various iconic cars, but one stood out - a car forgotten by the outside world, a true time capsule: the Bugatti Type 35C. Completely original and unrestored, this Type 35C was launched in 1924, although this particular one was built in 1928. Since then, it has remained untouched, preserved in its original state.

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This purple Lamborghini Countach LP400 from 1976 was first delivered to Princess Dalal bint Saud Al Saud, the daughter of King Saud of Saudi Arabia. This legendary car was a birthday present from her groom, who ordered it in her favorite color, Viola Salchi, with a white leather interior. This Countach is one of only two ever painted purple at the factory. Originally delivered in California, the car later accompanied the couple to Saudi Arabia.

In 1983, John Kolkka, an engineer and associate of the Saudi Royal Family, purchased the car and painted it black. In 2019, the car was restored to its original color, now featuring white accents on the exterior, perfectly matching its original livery from 43 years ago.

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Let's take a look at some of the Ferraris, starting with this stunning green 1966 275 GTS. Powered by a 3.3-liter V12 engine, the 275 GTS convertible shared the drive technology and chassis of the closed 275 GTB but featured a completely unique body design. The 275 GTS presented here is one of the last ones built, number 189 out of 200. This particular Ferrari was delivered new to Prince Moulay, the brother of King Hassan II of Morocco, in July 1966.

In keeping with the national colors of Morocco, green and white, the car was painted in ‘Verde Pino Metallizzato’ and featured a cream leather interior by Connolly. While most spiders were equipped with Borrani spoke wheels, this one boasted subtle alloy rims. After its time in Morocco, this convertible, like many Ferraris, made its way to the USA, passing through several owners before returning to Europe in the late 1980s.

At one point, it was painted red and the interior was retrimmed in black leather. However, in 2001, the car was repainted in its original ‘Verde Pino Metallizzato’ color in France, and the interior seats were reupholstered in red leather.

One of my favorite Ferraris from the show is the 250 GT Speciale Aerodinamico (SWB), particularly because of its unique ‘Nocciola’ (Hazelnut) color. With such a distinctive paint job, it's no surprise that this Ferrari was a custom order back in July 1962. It was the final example of just four cars to receive a special hand-built body from Pininfarina.

This model features design elements that blend the front profile of the 250 GT Coupé with those of the 400 Superamerica Coupé Aerodinamica. The Coupé was styled by Sergio Pininfarina himself. The body was paired with the 250 SWB Berlinetta Competition chassis and powered by the Colombo V12 engine, producing 240 hp.

This 1957 Ferrari 250 GT is an unrestored example with only a few appearances since 1958 and just two previous owners. Originally registered in Monaco on December 31, 1957, it was initially painted in 'Marrone 1115' (dark brown). After being sold, it was repainted in 'Verde Riviera 1160' (dark green).

In 1958, this car participated in several notable events, including the Monte Carlo Rally, the Coupes des Alpes, the Tour de France, and the Rallye Marseille-Provence.

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The standout star of this year’s Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este was undoubtedly the McLaren F1, which won the Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este. Presented by Tony Vassilopoulos from the UK, this exceptionally successful supercar received the highest number of votes from event visitors. The McLaren F1 remains the fastest naturally aspirated production car to date, with a top speed of 384 km/h.

The concept for the F1 began in 1988 after the Monza Grand Prix. At the time, Ron Dennis headed McLaren, and Gordon Murray designed the car. The F1 featured an all-carbon chassis with a central driving position and almost no power driving aids. When McLaren was searching for a power unit, Murray reached out to Paul Rosche, BMW's engine designer, whom he knew from his Brabham days. BMW Motorsport then provided McLaren with a 6.2-liter V12 engine.

Following its launch in 1992, customer demand led to the creation of a racing version. Ultimately, 28 race cars were built out of a total of 106 McLaren F1s. Despite not being originally designed as a race car, the McLaren F1 achieved significant racing success, including an outright victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995.

This particular McLaren F1 road car, chassis number 43, was ordered by Motokatzu Sayama, owner of Ueno Clinic, a healthcare group in Japan. He specified the exterior in two-tone grey to match his contemporary Mercedes-Benz SL. What makes this car's story special is that Ueno Clinic became the main sponsor of the factory prototype McLaren F1 GTR that won the 1995 Le Mans race. In line with his sponsorship, Sayama requested that the race car be painted in two-tone grey to match his road car. This wish was granted, and Sayama secured a seat in the car for Masanori Sekiya, who went on to become the first Japanese racing driver to win at Le Mans.

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What’s an event like this without some incredible people? We encountered several icons of the automotive industry, including Alois Ruf and his family, renowned for their exceptional expertise in the automotive sector for over 80 years. We also met Christian von Koenigsegg, the master engineer from Sweden, who crafts cars with unmatched innovation.

Another highlight was meeting Magnus Walker, a fashion designer, style icon, and car enthusiast with an impressive collection of Porsches. I love running into Magnus - he’s such a cool guy to chat with. Whenever I see him, I like to greet him with "Was ist das?" ("What’s that?" in German). It’s a phrase I’ve seen him use in various videos, and it’s always fun to start our conversation with it. Without fail, he responds with a "Was ist das?", and we share a great laugh.

We also had the pleasure of meeting the legendary Lamborghini test driver, Valentino Balboni, who has reportedly driven about 80% of all Lamborghinis ever built.

It’s always fantastic running into these incredible people, and it’s wonderful how they take the time for a quick chat with you.

One car that was impossible to miss during those days was the remarkable fully electric Lotus Evija, which was constantly roaming around. Its design is truly out of this world, and its performance numbers are astounding: 2,039 hp, 1,704 Nm of torque, 0 to 300 km/h in 9.1 seconds, and a maximum range of 347 km.

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Another standout moment was encountering the BMW E53 X5 Le Mans, an SUV unlike any other. It boasts the same 6.1-liter V12 engine used in both the McLaren F1 and the BMW V12 LMR. This wasn't just a showpiece; back in 2001, the X5 Le Mans was piloted by Hans-Joachim Stuck around the Nürburgring, clocking a lap time of 7:49. Nearly two decades later, the actual SUV lap record stands at 7:42, achieved by an Audi RS Q8.

The Z8 we always wanted, but never got. Regrettably, this Z8, or more accurately, the Z07 concept, remains a one-off model and never made it into production, unlike its roadster counterpart. Unveiled back in 1997 at the Tokyo Motor Show, it served as a homage to the iconic 507.

Although the concept garnered immense popularity, resulting in BMW producing just over 5,700 Z8s from 2000 to 2003, it was never in the design showcased in 1997. The Z8 gained further fame through its appearance in the James Bond movie "The World Is Not Enough" and its role as a safety car in the MotoGP World Championship.

At this year's show, we also had the pleasure of seeing the inspiring counterpart to the Z8: the 1957 507 Touring Sport.

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Alongside the stunning purple Lamborghini Countach LP400, there were several other iconic Lamborghinis on display. Among them was another creation by designer Marcello Gandini: the Countach 25th Anniversary, painted in its original and unique factory color, 'Arancio Miura' (orange).

In tribute to Marcello Gandini, who passed away this year at the age of 86, various cars were present to honor his legacy. Among them were the Miura P400, Diablo GT, Bugatti EB 110, and many more.

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The BMW Skytop Concept, built on the 8-Series platform, merges power, precision, and craftsmanship in an open two-seater designed for luxurious travel. Once again, BMW has showcased an extraordinary concept at this year's Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. With its out-of-this-world design, it's hard not to wish for BMW to bring this stunning creation to production rather than keeping it just a concept.

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And just like that, another edition of Concorso d'Eleganza draws to a close. We've had an incredible time at this year's show, surrounded by phenomenal cars, engaging in conversations with remarkable individuals, and delighting in the presence of both familiar and new faces alike. The anticipation for next year's event is already building, as we eagerly await another unforgettable experience.

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