TEXT: FRANCISCO CARRIÓN / PHOTOS: UNAI ONA
One more year, Villa D´Este It has been confirmed as the second most important international elegance contest for vintage cars, only behind the ineffable American Peeble Beach. Since BMW took over as main organizer 11 years ago, Villa D´Este received the boost it needed and currently the main European collectors come with their best machines, apart from the increasingly numerous American inscription.
This event ripped off in 1929 with cars that were modern at that time, and now cars from that time onwards are involved, including some "Concept car" current brands that present taking advantage of the pull of the contest as was the case this year of the new BMW 3.0 CSL concept, "tribute" to the mythical model from the Bavarian brand.
In this year's edition we have been able to see an unbeatable roster of around 50 vehicles of various styles and eras, with a preponderance - how could it be less - of Italian brands, both chassis and bodywork. And it is that if in the period before World War II the elite of the bodywork "on request" was in France, after the conflict the Italians were the most reputed in terms of quality, beauty and innovation.
From the beginning, the contest has taken place on the shores of Lake Como, a setting without a doubt ideal. Currently the event unfolds in two almost simultaneous locations: Villa d´Este itself, around the exclusive Gran Hotel, and on the other hand Villa Erba.
And while the entrance to Villa d´Este is reduced to a lucky few and by strict invitation, Villa Erba is open to the public I wanted to get closer to see the magnificent show. For example, the parade of cars before the jury - accompanied by stylish female models - is held repeatedly in both locations.
Fortunately, our photographer Unai Ona was able to enter all the venues to take the magnificent photos that accompany this article, in which we can see the main protagonists of this year.
A flamboyant winged horse
El "Best of Show", The absolute winner of this edition, chosen by the jury, was the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider Zagato brought from Beverly Hills (USA) by David Sydorick, its lucky owner.
However, it is the public vote that determines the choice of the coveted "Coppa d´Oro Villa d´Este", which in this case went to the Ferrari 166 MM Touring that was released in 1950 by the very supreme boss of Fiat at that time, Gianni Agnelli.
And although these two vehicles are the supposed winners, without a doubt the one that aroused the greatest expectation was the Pegasus Dome Enasa from 1952-53 Presented for the first time after careful restoration. Perhaps it is not unreasonable to say that he was the star of the event, as he was at least the most photographed. And it was not for less: after years painted in an inappropriate silver color, now it has returned to the striking appearance that earned it the nickname of "Rosa de Thé".
The architect of the work has been its current owner, the well-known collector Evert Lowmann, owner of the Dutch National Automobile Museum, and the level of detail has reached the point where the original red-striped tires have been reproduced. However, the interior, painted and upholstered in olive green, has aroused some controversy, since supposedly this unit (Ref.21) was born with the interior in red while it was the "other Dome", (Ref.20, currently disappeared). that mounted the interior in green.
There is also a theory that only one Dome was made, so we leave the door open to any possibility and, be that as it may, "Our" Cupola won the "Regazzi" trophy, that is, the one that was granted by a vote of the public under 16 years of age.
The current fashion for Pegaso It was confirmed with the concurrence of two other units: the Berlineta Touring 1º Series Ref. 53, which after a restoration of almost 10 years in Madrid has finally been sold to a foreign collector, and the Cabriolet Saoutchik 2º Series Ref. 36, which has returned to Europe after a period in the US where it has received the restoration that it now looks.
The Pegaso "Dome" Enasa that we mentioned before also received the "Auto & Design Trophy" for the best design according to the jury, and an honorable mention in the class "Facts to compare", in which a precious Ferrari 250 GT Europa Berlinetta Vignale 1954. And this was not the only category of clever name.
Names for all tastes
The class reserved for sports or luxury cars of the 30s - the years of the great depression - was called "Antidepressants". The sports cars of the 60s and 70s were framed in the "Arrival of the GT men", defeated by a 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spider; and 50s American-inspired Italian designs in the "Hollywood on the lake", where he won a quirky 52 Lancia B1953 Spider Pininfarina of clear aeronautical inspiration.
The category "Ghost story" It was reserved for the Rolls Royce of the Phantom model - hence its name -, in which the Phantom III Vanvooren from 1937 that last year he also won in his class at Peeble Beach.
In category "Extravagance in motion" the oldest car of this year was participating: An impressive Farman A6B Million Guiet of 1925 that received the "Honorable Mention" by the jury and the FIVA award for "Best preserved from prewar", and that by the way has spent several years in a Spanish collection although now it has been sold outside our borders.
Also noteworthy were two vehicles that, however, did not deserve any awards: First, the exotic 1977 Phanter Six with a Cadillac V8 engine and… 4 steer front wheels !; and, second, the only Jaguar XK 140 that Zagato bodied, although it is true that the front is not one of the most inspired creations of the Italian master.
And we could continue with the list of exceptional cars and categories of witty names, but we refer to the great photos of Unai Ona because, as they say, and at least in this case, "A picture is worth a thousand words".
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