The 2012 edition of the Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance will again see a small grouping of the finest classic automobiles and motorcycles displayed against the incomparable backdrop of Lake Como. One change is in store, however, as the public will now be offered the chance to see the Concorso on Friday. Whereas in the past the grounds of Villa Erba in Cernobbio were only open to the public on the Sunday for a viewing of the Concorso’s historic automotive gems, the 2011 event saw its gates unlocked on the Saturday as well. This year the Concorso will open up even earlier, namely on Friday evening, allowing visitors to enjoy an Italian festival and open-air cinema.
“Our aim is to preserve this exclusive ambience while at the same time welcoming further enthusiasts who are keen to experience the Concorso,” says Karl Baumer, President of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and Director of BMW Group Classic. “That’s why we want to extend the public day into a classic weekend.”
As ever, the heart of the Concorso beats at Villa d’Este, where automotive beauties and rarities have been vying for the favour of the jury and the public since 1929. The entry list for the 2012 Concorso is closed and the race for the coveted starter places is over. Here are a small sample of the 2012 field of entrants:
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta Scaglietti – The success story of the Ferrari GTO began 50 years ago. To mark this anniversary, one of the vehicle categories of this year’s event is dedicated to the Ferrari 250, furnishing an overview of the GTO’s entire development history. The Ferrari 250 GTO scheduled for display at Villa d’Este is one of the 32 units that made up Series 1 of this car and was delivered to a customer in France half a century ago. This model had just four previous owners before being acquired by its current owner in the USA.
1959 Aston Martin DBR1 – When the regulations for the Sports Car World Championship were changed in 1956, the decision was made at Aston Martin to build the DBR1. No more than five works cars were produced in total, based on the Aston Martin DB3 with a 6-cylinder engine displacing 2.9 litres. It was the start of a career that culminated in victory at Le Mans – the first and only win so far by Aston Martin. The DBR1, which will take part in the 2012 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, finished second in the 1959 Le Mans event, piloted by two of the greatest racing heroes of their time – Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frère.
1957 Fiat Abarth 500 Coupe Zagato – The renowned Italian coachbuilding company of Ugo Zagato used the Fiat 500 as the basis for building a 2+2 coupe destined for the race track and powered by a high-compression 479 cc rear engine from Carlo Abarth. The car was unveiled at the Turin Salon in 1957. The 23 hp racing engine propelled the lightweight Fiat (445 kilograms) to beyond the 110 km/h mark and swiftly on to victory in the Italian 500 GT series. This four-wheeled beauty measured just 3.20 metres long, 1.32 metres wide and 1.13 metres high. Only five units were built.
Concorso di Motociclette – The motorcycle Concours, which had its debut last year, enters its second round in 2012. A total of 30 two-wheelers, along with a special exhibition of design studies, will undergo the judges’ scrutiny in this second edition of the Concorso di Motociclette. A new feature this year is a ride from Tremezzo to Cernobbio.
Then everyone will ride together to the exhibition in the grounds of Villa Erba, where the jury will assess the motorcycles for the first time. The motorcycle Concorso itself will not take place on Saturday but on Sunday morning so as to avoid clashing with the automobile Concorso at Villa d’Este. Another change from last year is that the motorcycles will not merely be displayed in stationary mode, but – following the example of the cars – some of their owners will ride them along the red carpet. That way visitors will be able to experience the cherished two-wheelers with all their senses.
Small Car Display – In close vicinity to the two-wheelers, a rather special vehicle species awaits visitors to Villa Erba. With a display of some 30 microcars and bubble cars, the 2012 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este reveals a thoroughly different world from that of the treasures that normally dominate the image of the event. Yet it is a world that has always shown – and still shows – the same passion for and delight in automobiles. “These cars simply ooze charm, and with the Isetta we also have a representative of this hugely appealing vehicle segment,” said Baumer.
As from 2012, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este will be joined by a new partner – watch manufacturer A. Lange & Sohne. The winner of the “Best in Show” category will be awarded an exclusive special edition of the LANGE 1 TIME ZONE by A. Lange & Sohne. The hinged caseback of this Cuvette wristwatch is specially hand-engraved to mark the occasion, while Central European Time (CET) on the city ring of the time zone watch is represented by the town of Como.
For more information, visit www.concorsodeleganzavilladeste.com.
[Source: Concorso Villa d’Este; photo credit: Tim Scott / Fluid Images]