TEXT: FRANCISCO CARRIÓN / PHOTOS: UNAI ONA
It has been 87 years since that first edition of Villa d 'Este and 12 since the mark BMW entered as the main sponsor, which gave it the definitive push to become what it is now: The Elegance Contest most respected in all of Europe.
In this latest edition, held between the 20th and 22nd of the recent month of May, it was possible to enjoy 52 magnificent vehicles historical sites, in addition to the incomparable surroundings of the locations between the famous Gran Hotel Vila d´Este –which gives its name to the contest- and the adjacent Villa Erba park.
Villa d 'Este, Best of Show or Coppa d' Oro?
This year's motto was "Back to the future-The journey continues", certainly a tribute to the centenary of BMW. The sponsoring brand, as usual, presented a new prototype with a retro air. This time it was the BMW 2002 "Hommage", a concept car that revises the mythical model of the 60s. And like every edition, it was not the only brand that presented prototypes or high-profile novelties. There you could also see the Mazda RX Vision or Bugatti Chiron, among many others.
But since we are talking about classic cars here, let's get down to business with the main winners of the 2016 edition. The trophy "Best Of Show" awarded by the prestigious jury has gone this time for a superb Maserati A6 CGS Pinin Farina 1954. The present unit, apart from its obvious beauty, was described in the catalog as the most original of the 4 units manufactured, and it was also the car presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1954. After this, it was also registered in the Mille Miglia the following year.
No less pedigree had the winner of the "Coppa d´Oro Villa d´Este", a kind of co-first prize that is nevertheless awarded by public vote, and which is an award as desired or more as the "Best of Show". In this case, the graceful vehicle was a very rare Lancia Astura Serie II from 1933 with a special aerodynamic bodywork by the famous Italian bodybuilder Castagna.
This same car He already participated in Villa d´Este in 1935, and it was even owned by the son of Benito Mussolini himself. Its current proud owner, Antonius Meijer from the Netherlands, has just completed the restoration of this unit which has been missing since the closure of the Rosso Bianco collection museum, of which it was a part.
Of course, it should not have been nothing simple restore its original appearance, because while it was exhibited in the German museum this car sported numerous transformations on the front, tires that did not correspond to it and all kinds of inappropriate attachments such as some hideous tubular bumpers.
Many awards, some difficult to award
Among the numerous awards that are distributed right and left among the participants, it is worth highlighting the FIVA award to the best-preserved vehicle, which was for the 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ Coupe Zagato. Its owner, the famous Milanese collector Corrado Lopresto, allowed himself to curl the curl by presenting it in an extravagant "Half restoration" that it was not really such, because under the white paint of the supposedly repaired area there were still serious imperfections.
A undoubtedly risky choice by the jury, since in this category also participated a awesome Maserati 200 SI from 1957 fully preserved "in its sauce", perhaps more deserving of the award.
Otherwise, quality and variety, as always. From the oldest, a majestic Delage CO from 1920 to the very eye-catching Lamborghini Bertone Athon From 1980 with futuristic lines still today, passing through a selection of rally cars among which you could find a Monte Carlo Mini Cooper or a Ford Escort RS 1600.
Spanish cars in Villa d 'Este
To finish we will comment on the "Spanish material", which in this edition was remarkable. Precious first Ferrari 225 S Spider Vignale from 1952 worn by a national collector, also with a remarkable pedigree in competition. Then he Alfa Romeo RL of 1925 bodied by J.Farré in Barcelona, which although still carries its original Balearic Islands license plate is now owned by a German fan.
This car already participated a few years ago at the hands of another Spanish collector, and the only visible changes have been its Michelin tires that replace the already old Phirelli Hispania that it had worn until now.
And as has been the norm in the elegance contests of recent seasons, the presence could not be absent of a Pegaso Z-102. In this case it was the Enasa # 2 Berlineta from 1951 so well known for having been exhibited in several Spanish and foreign events lately.
Its new owner, a Belgian collector, has removed its lifelong Spanish license plates in favor of those unsightly modern plates that you can see in the photos, but otherwise the car is as it deserves, perfect inside and out.
And as we say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and that can only be solved by looking at the magnificent photos of Unai Ona that accompany this article. Enjoy them.