Munich/Cernobbio... Great classic cars of the past and interesting concept cars of today met at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. This most traditional of design contests was held in Cernobbio on Lake Como from April 23rd to 24th. A special exhibition celebrated the 75th jubilee of famous Italian designer Pininfarina. The BMW Group, a partner in the organization of the Villa d'Este event, also had reason to celebrate: their classic 503 and 507 sports cars mark their 50th birthday this year. In particular the BMW 507, designed in 1955 by the legendary Albrecht Graf Goertz, was the focus of attention.
54 historic cars and eight modern design studies made the contest into a great success once again. The organizing team had a range of even more stunning cars from which to choose the best models at this year's event. The contest for modern concept cars is gaining in importance each year. As Holger Lapp, head of BMW's Mobile Tradition division, said: "It underlines the connection between classic and modern design we find here at Villa d'Este." Dr. Jean-Marc Droulers, President of Villa d'Este S.p.A. and host of the event, added: "It is great to have an event of such tremendous appeal held here at Villa d'Este. Guests and participants from all over Europe and the United States prove that the Concorso has become an internationally important event not only for the classic car scene."
Italian designer Pininfarina took the opportunity of the Concorso showcase to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company with a remarkable presentation of Pininfarina gems. Classics like the Cisitalia 202 from 1947 or the Lancia Aurelia B24 S of 1954 rubbed shoulders with the current concept car named "Birdcage", with technology based on a Maserati. The company was founded in 1930 under the name of "S.A. Carrozzeria Pinin Farina". Since then, Pininfarina has written motoring history. In recent decades, Pininfarina has succeeded in winning several important prizes for its innovative design, such as the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este Design Award 2003 for the Pininfarina Rossa.
The grounds of Villa d'Este have traditionally served as a catwalk for four-wheeled gems. Guests, drivers, journalists and the jury take time to examine the cars and rate them. Finally, the classic cars and the modern show cars have to drive in front of the jury. Many of them have travelled to Lake Como under their own steam. In this show the cars are allowed to have a little patina, explained Holger Lapp. "We want authentic cars rather than perfect show conditions as at other famous shows in the world."
On Sunday the cars were parked in the gardens of Villa Erba, where the public was also granted a closer look. Afterwards the public prize was awarded at Villa Erba. Since the revival of the Concorso tradition, more and more fans, and even more media representatives, flock to the event each year.
The winner of the Tropheo BMW Group, the award for "Best of Show by the Jury", was the Alfa Romeo Canguro Coupé Bertone, built in 1964 and brought to Cernobbio by Shiro Kosaka. It was originally built as a concept car for the Paris Motor Show in 1964 by Italian designer Bertone. Now the car celebrates a successful comeback after more than 30 years, not only being voted "Best of Show by the Jury" but also winning the Trofeo Corrado Millanta press award.
The Coppa d'Oro di Villa d'Este award - "Best of Show by Public Referendum" - went to the Ferrari 212 Export Spider Vignale, built in 1951.
The Trofea Rolls-Royce for the most elegant coachwork on a Rolls-Royce was won by a Rolls-Royce Phantom I Piccadilly Roadster of 1927.
The Trofeo del Presidente della FIVA for the best-preserved car was given to a BMW 507 Roadster from 1957. Even at the age of 50, this car is still a prize-winner.
The award for the most sensitive restoration, the Tropheo Ruoteclassiche, went to a tiny Austin Swallow Sports Saloon MkII Coupé from 1931.
In honor of Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni, the late Chairman of the Jury of the Concorso, a special award for the most elegant car with a touring body was introduced last year. This year the prize went to a Pegaso Z 102 BT Coupé Touring of 1955.
In keeping with the tradition of the Concorso d'Eleganza, the last four years have incorporated a competition for concept cars dating from the last two years. This time, eight cars were featured. The Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este Design Award by public referendum went to the Peugeot 907 Coupé built in 2004 and displayed by Robert Peugeot.
BMW Group Design Talk discusses "1950's Design"
For the third time, the BMW Design Talk also took place during the Concorso. This year industrial designer Konstantin Grcic, BMW Designer Adrian van Hooydonk, Pierre Keller, director of the Ecole Cantonnale d'Art de Lausanne, Lorenzo Ramaciotti of Pininfarina, and the director of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, Paul Warwick Thompson, discussed the impact of fifties design then and now. This event highlights the aim of BMW and the Villa d'Este organizers to present the automobile in an aesthetic context and to showcase pioneering developments in car design.
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