The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is one of the world’s most exclusive beauty contests for historic automobiles. The heritage of this event extends back to 1929, when the first show was held on the shores of Lake Como, dedicated at that time to the latest luxury vehicles launched on the automobile market. When the direction of the Concours at Villa d’Este changed in the 1980s, historic vehicles were presented for the first time. Since 2005, BMW Group Classic has joined forces with the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este as the organiser of the show presenting rare vehicles.
Similar to previous years, the great selection of historic automobiles on display at Villa d’Este competed for Best of Show in two designations – Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este, chosen by public visitors and Trofeo BMW Group for Best of Show, chosen by the class of expert judges.
On Saturday, visitors to the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2016 selected their first favourite. This year, the award Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este going to the Lancia Astura Serie II from the year 1933. The owner of the winning vehicle, Antonius Meijer from the Netherlands, is therefore able to enjoy the first of the prestigious prizes to be awarded by public referendum at this year’s event. His vehicle captivated the spectators in the grounds of Villa d’Este with its flawless and spectacular styling and fascinating history.
With the Lancia’s victory, the Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este went to a vehicle manufactured in Italy for the third time in succession. The current winner provided an impressive performance right from the start with the stylishly contoured, streamlined coachwork. No less fascinating is the history intimately associated with this exterior. The Lancia Astura Serie II was given its outer skin at specialist coachbuilder Castagna eighteen months after it was first registered and at the behest of Benito Mussolini’s son Vittoria. Moreover, the wheelbase had to be substantially shortened for the rework, apparently after the vehicle had already campaigned on the race track. In addition, the original 2.6 litre eight-cylinder engine was replaced by a three-litre V8 engine generating 82 hp from the Lancia Astura Serie III, which still powers the coupe.
This is not the first time that the prize-winning Lancia has been a guest at the beauty contest at Lake Como, as the car was already presented at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in autumn of 1935. At its second appearance in Cernobbio, the Lancia Astura Serie II was in the “Pre-1945 Supercars – The Fast and the Flamboyant” class and in the battle for the favour of the Jury, the car was in competition for the class victory with automobiles from the marques Bugatti, Aston Martin, Austro Daimler and Alfa Romeo.
1933 Lancia Astura Serie II by Castagna – Photo Gallery
At the conclusion of a three-day Festival of Elegance at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2016 in Cernobbio, Northern Italy, the judges reached its last and most important decision on Sunday evening. The Jury of experts selected the Maserati A6 GSC manufactured in 1954 as the “Best of Show” and consequently the winner of the Trofeo BMW Group.
The victorious Maserati A6 GCS Berlinetta is an outstanding example of the automobile coachbuilding artistry of the 1950s, projecting uncompromising sporting style and aesthetic perfection in a harmonious synthesis. The Berlinetta-bodied sports car from Pinin Farina is considered the best preserved of four examples which were created of this model. It was presented at the Paris Motor Show in October 1954 and lined up at the start of the Mille Miglia in May 1955. Its 2.0 litre six-cylinder engine packs 190 hp.
Accepting the Trofeo BMW Group fulfilled a life-long dream for German-born owner Timm Bergold, resident in Monaco. “I am absolutely ecstatic to have won this prize. This is already my third time at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este but I would never have presumed to hope for this success. The Maserati was always my dream car as a boy,” said Bergold.
The aura of the Maserati was also decisive for the Jury’s decision. Jury President Lorenzo Ramaciotti said, “After we had looked at all the vehicles, there were two favourites which were running neck and neck. Each of the automobile beauties had its advantages. Then we had a night’s sleep and I asked myself which car I would like to have at home. Not in the garage but as a work of art that I would enjoy every day of the year. I then asked the other Jurors this question and we were then all absolutely united that the Maserati had to be the winner.”
1954 Maserati A6 GCS Berlinetta Pinin Farina – Photo Gallery
[Source: BMW Group]