Villa d'Este Elegance Contest 2018

Villa D'Este 2018: Heating Engines


Winter is beginning to be left behind and one of the most special classic motor events is already on the horizon: Villa D'Este. On the shores of Lake Como, this contest of elegance has been awarding the most spectacular bodies since 1929. Taking a quick account, you see that, in no time, there will be a very special celebration.

For 90 anniversary The BMW Group - the event's organizer for a decade - will surely throw in the rest. However, it is very complex to exceed the level of previous editions. Only in the last 2018 edition we saw a tremendous Jaguar XK120 designed by Pininfarina, Stratos HF Zero, the sweeping curves of the Alpha 33 Stradale outright winner ...

A sample of design jewels - although these cars have incredible mechanics, what is rewarded here is the good work of the bodybuilder - among which many of the most original and exclusive classics that you can imagine were included. In short, the best thing will be to warm up your engines by reviewing the photographic report that our colleague Unai Ona brought us from the Villa D'Este 2018.


El category list in Villa D'Este it is like getting lost. In addition - and unlike in other classic events - the organizers know how to give a narrative point to the subject. Beyond the typical "group A", "B Group"… Here it is very normal to come across categories presided over by the most ingenious names. Last 2018 the one that took the cake was "When Sex Was Safe and Competition Dangerous", dedicated to F1.

The truth is that around here we are attached to life, so both things appear to us with a little point of risk. Of course, as we also need to season our day to day with some danger ... We are not going to deny that - to the best of our modest possibilities - we have been chasing beds and cars since school. In this sense the car McLaren MP4-2B 1985 drives us crazy. Although to madness that of the Tyrrell P34 from 1977 with its six wheels.

In category "New World, New Ideas" the winner was the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale. If in Italian cinema the great Fellini was characterized by choosing actresses with sinuous curves ... The body sculpted in aluminum by Franco Scaglione it has more volumes than the female cast of Amacord. Youth obsessions aside, the truth is that the shell of this V8 Alfa deserved to be the absolute winner in the Villa D'Este 2018 edition.

And it was not easy ... Because although it was presented in another category -"When Speed ​​Met Style"- the Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti He almost won the absolute trophy in Villa D'Este. Possibly one of the most attractive models of all those from the Maranello factory. Although the body… He came out on the other side of the road. In short, only a few meters separated Enzo Ferrari's company from Sergio Scaglietti's.

By the way, speaking of Ferrari models not bodied by Pininfarina, at Villa D'Este 2018 a 212 Export Vignale.


Now there are cars everywhere. All that remains is to distribute the space and be rational when designing efficient urban compacts. However, there was a time when this was not the case. The automobile was a strange object for certain privileged people, so logic easily succumbed to eccentricity. From those times we have cars that today would be difficult to fit in the supermarket parking lot.

At Villa D'Este 2018, most of these cars were in the category "From Manhattan to Myfair". Personally, we have no hesitation in pointing out what, for us, was the most spectacular: an imposing 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom Brewster. Have you noticed their battle? Tremendous! Not to mention deliciously kitschy details like its gold grill. Daring exercise in dandyism where only an elaborate esthete achieves perfect extravagance instead of tacky supine.

Also dedicated to pre-war cars the category "Sculpted by the Wind" gathered some of the best sports cars at Villa D'Este 2018. Titanic bodies powered by imposing engines as in the case of the Bugatti 57 Atalante from 1937. One of the prewar sports cars that together with specimens like the Bentley 4 1-4 Liter Erdman Rossi more attracted attention.

To end this parade of veterans Villa D'Este 2018 presented the category "The Titans". If you're thinking of huge Cadillacs in their fifties ... You're wrong. These titans are much more arcane, coming from a time where The competition was to risk your neck by clinging tightly to huge steering wheels to avoid being thrown out of the cabin.

The category winner was a Bugatti 59 from 1934. Perfect culmination for a set where the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Zagato it stood out with its three red headlights in the eyes of a primal beast. Anyway, from the first moment Zagato pointed ways with his volumes and muscular details. Very original.


We already reflected on it in the report on the Padua Fair, and we still do. What has happened to Lancia so that it is in such low hours? Obviously this brief summary on Villa D'Este 2018 is not the place to discuss it, but the truth is that whenever you watch a classics event at the highest level it is almost impossible not to come across some spectacular Lancia.

The contrast between a glorious past and a gloomy present invite us to bet on the brand's rescue. Let's hope so. Meanwhile there is a good list of myths with which some engineers could be inspired in the face of a resurrection. We await him as the faithful of some Semitic messiah. Of course, we doubt about waiting thousands of years ...

Of that brand endowed with exquisite designs and daring technological solutions, Villa D'Este 2018 offered us two excellent examples. On the one hand the Astura Series III Pininfarina from 1936 and, on the other, the Stratos Zero Bertone. For any Lancia fan, the Astura is one of the most legendary models. This unit carries an 8-cylinder 2973 cc and, despite its size, does not reach a thousand kilos.

Regarding the Stratos Zero ... Well, the truth is that it was one of the most photographed. And it does not surprise us. With this wheel chock, Bertone took a radical turn in sports car design in the early 70s. Brutally disruptive, its straight lines definitively marked what the supercar bodies were to be during the 80s and 90s. The Stratos was one of those maneuvers to say "The future is already here, and we have created it".

Hopefully something similar will happen shortly. Something to get Lancia out of this quagmire. Meanwhile… Contests such as Villa D'Este 2018 continue to dive into the brand's myths.


As you may have noticed today we have talked little about cylinders, all-wheel drive, transaxle systems ... In Villa D'Este, good mechanics are supposed and everything is oriented to the world of bodybuilders. In this sense, what most catches our attention are the rarities. Those 1 of 1 models created as an experiment based on a recognized model.

In line with this, Villa D'Este 2018 showed a striking model above the others: the Jaguar XK120 Pininfarina. Hidden for decades this model returned to the spotlight after almost 7000 hours of restoration required to leave it as it was in its presentation at the 1955 Geneva Motor Show. The history of the S675360 chassis is that of a perfect union between the United Kingdom and Italy .

El 62 Cadillac Series 1953 Ghia it is scarce but not unique. A delight. Here the chrome details of the Americans of the moment are lowered in intensity to bring them closer to Italian design. Something that also happens with Scaglietti's rendition of the Corvette in 1959. Although… Well, here the veteran bodybuilder took the approach a little further by making the Chevy a study for the future Ferrari 275GTB. Quite a rarity ...

And so, rarity after rarity, we could be pages and pages talking about the past Villa D'Este 2018. However, we ask you for some patience. There is almost nothing left for the 2019 edition, and it will surely come loaded with cars of those with which to be able to happily spend jets of ink ... Soon we will talk about Villa D'Este again. It is impossible not to ...

What do you think?

Miguel Sánchez

Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.


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