The Car Experience

Fine Automobiles Consultants

The Car Experience represents a fine range of Supercars and Classic Cars from such marques as Bugatti, Bentley, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Porsche and Lamborghini. 

The Car Experience provides a range of services to help you realise the ultimate dream of owning a luxury car. Our customers can buy direct from our current selection.

If you are looking for a specific vehicle then we use our knowledge and contacts to provide a bespoke source and supply service to help you find the vehicle of your dreams.

Selling

We are always looking for top quality, high end vehicles. So if you are looking to sell your luxury,prestige or performance vehicle please call us with the details or alternatively complete our online sales valuation form.

Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2017

Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Prototipo from the year 1957 awarded as “Best of Show”

Cernobbio, 26th - 28th of May, 2017 

Since the beginning of the motorization an automobile was much more than just a machine bringing its passengers from one point to another, it was always an expression of the lifestyle of the owner and a status symbol, be it because of its speed or its design. Soon after Bertha Benz undertook the first tour with the Benz Patent Motorwagen the first races were introduced to compare drivers and cars in reliability and speed and it was just a question of time when they were competing in design as well. Once the automobile stood aloof from being transport the coachbuilders materialized the dreams of their owners into sculptures, especially in the time of the art-deco both in France and in Italy. Soon the first Concours were founded to give those owners and creators a platform whose goal was not to drive extensively fast but to celebrate their cars.

1935 Lurani Nibbio Single Seater and 1960 Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record

1935 Lurani Nibbio Single Seater and 1960 Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record

Now those cars are classics and many of them of extraordinary value and the classic car collectors face the same decision as back in the time: do they want to race them or show them to the public in static display and with increasing value many of them opt for the second. As one could see at the Mille Miglia the week before the amount of multi-million dollar Ferrari or pre-war Alfa is on the decline for several years now and at the same time more and more concours are launched all over the world. But few of them can look back at such a long and glorious history as the Concorso d´Eleganza at the famous Villa d´Este at the shores of Lake Como. Every year about 60 of the most wonderful vehicles are shown in the posh ambience of the luxury hotel just like they did on the first edition back in 1929 competing for the Coppa d´Oro Villa d´Este, the overall winners prize as voted by the attending public. Since 1995 the Concorso d´Eleganza again is held in Cernobbio but it took until 1999 when BMW took over to put the event on a solid foundation. Since the early 2000s the concours even features again the current concept cars in the tradition of the original event aside the usual classic car classes.

1968 Lamborghini Miura P400

1968 Lamborghini Miura P400

So the last weekend in May we headed back to Como to see the cars on display and just like every year we listened to the discussion about the quality compared to the years before. Being spoiled from a lot of great years and a certain saturation people expect an outstanding show-stopper every year but as the amount of car of the caliber of a Bugatti T57 Atlantic as shown by Ralph Lauren a few years ago is definitely limited there will always be a certain disappointment with a few people, especially in the 70th anniversary year of Ferrari some expected more outstanding Ferrari on the field. People are very fast blaming the BMW Group for this forgetting that the concours would have not lived for longer than a few years without their support. Furthermore BMW is facing the problem of a changing collectors clientele as one could also see on the various auction around the world. More and more focus is getting into the newer cars and supercars away from the typical coach built pre-war concours cars and the organizers have to take this into account. If one would limit the concours to the years of the original event 1929-1949 the selection would attract less people over the years as there would be zero development. Not few were skeptical when a rally class was introduced last year and about as many do not think that a standard Lamborghini Miura has to be show every year but looking over this year’s entry list this purist approach would eliminate a lot of the actual highlights of this year’s edition. 

Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Villa d’Este and Maserati MC12

Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Villa d’Este and Maserati MC12

Class A was dedicated to endurance racers of the 1920s and 1930s and certainly none of them was built to compete in a concours but every one of them was a star in the gardens of the hotel. You do not need to have a soft spot for the Bentley of the Cricklewood era to understand that two extraordinary examples with a lot of history were shown this weekend with the very first Le Mans racing Bentley, the 1922 3 Litre that took part in the inaugural race at La Sarthe. WO Bentley himself was supporting racing as in the Tourist Trophy or at Brooklands but he was not convinced that breaking a car over a 24 hours period would be the best for the reputation of the marque and so it was John Duff private entered black Speed Model that brought the Bentley name to France. Despite driving the fastest lap the Bentley only came home 4th but started the history of the Bentley Boys in Le Mans ending up in 5 overall victories in period.

1960 Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record

1960 Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record

The second Bentley on the field was again a private entry as WO never considered supercharging his engines as an appropriate choice to increase the power over enlarging the displacement. So it was Henry “Tim” Birkin with the financial help of Dorothy Paget who convinced WO to build a blown version of the 4.5 Litre to homologate his own Birkin Team cars he entered at Le Mans. In 1930 Birkin fought an epic battle with Caracciola in the Mercedes and although WO should be proved right in the standard Speed Six winning the race it was the Blower Bentley that became the icon of the marque. In Cernobbio the famous single seater, the first of four Birkin team cars made its post restoration debuted. After being sold at Bonhams Goodwood sale a few years ago it made headlines with the discussion whether this piece of British History should be allowed to leave the island but fortunately this is settled and the current German owner (living in London) was able to show it. It was standing next to the 1920 Ballot 3/8 LC that won the first Italian GP back in 1920. Having fantastic patina and reputation this rare French motorcar won the class. But even more interesting is the fact that the owner of the Ballot had a picture with him showing that the Ballot actually competed against the Birkin single seater showing both cars at speed at the banking of Montlhery so the cars were reunited almost 80 years later where formerly the famous signature tree of the Villa d´Este stood that was taken down this year after dying a few years ago.

1956 Maserati A6G/2000 Gran Sport

1956 Maserati A6G/2000 Gran Sport

Beside a Bugatti T51 another car took a lot of attention being on the very other end of the range compared to the huge Bentley: the 0.5 Litre Moto-Guzzi powered Lurani Nibbio built by Giovanni Lurani. Holding several speed record at this time the car was entered by his grandson and his very touched daughter. She received the prestigious Coppa d´Oro at the end of the presentation on Saturday on the terrace of the Villa d´Este held for the first time by Max Girardo who replaced Simon Kidston this day. Kidston was back on Sunday and very much to the amusement of all listeners Italian born Girardo mainly spoke English whereas English born Kidston presented the cars in Italian.

1966 Shelby Cobra 427

1966 Shelby Cobra 427

Class B featured several rare cars like the Italia but they were outshone by Corrado Lopresto’s Lancia 12 HP, the oldest Lancia in existence.

In the last pre-war class a trio of German metal from Mercedes and Horch contrasted the slim and elegant design of the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GT with coachwork by Castagna. Although not the typical sporty design as seen on many 6C Alfas especially from Zagato and Touring this car was one of our favorites and won the kids choice award at the Villa Erba as well as the class in front of the Tatra 77 Streamliner that was brought from the Czech Republic. 

This year featured no less than three Fiat 8V powered cars on the field in three different classes. The first was the Fiat 8V Supersonic in Class D. Maybe the most flamboyant design ever on the 8V the Supersonic by Ghia found its way to Jaguar and a single Aston martin as well. This was on the Aston DB 2/4 well before the British marque worked with another Italian coachbuilder (Touring) on the DB4. Less known is the 4-door version that was just as today named Rapide and used the Lagonda badge on only 55 examples. Even more exclusive was the Maserati 5000 GT as presented with Allemano body freshly restored by Touring. 

For many the most elegant era were the 1950s and class E showed that. The second 8V, this time in form of the highly elegant Siata 208 S was competing against an Aurelia and a couple of iconic coupés. Second in class was awarded to a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing and although Gullwings seem to be common nowadays this example was special being commissioned in semi gloss silver paint long before the semi gloss became popular in recent years. It is reported its first owner pet was a cheetah but there were absolutely no marks on the flawless aqua interior.

Even more exotic was the winning Ferrari 250 Europa GT Speciale (0407GT) that featured several unique features including the big prancing horse in the grill that might be inspired be the Mercedes next to it. With orange interior it is certain that its first owner Ferrario was not a fan of understatement.

Completely off the ordinary criteria for judging was the Maserati A6 GT from the Baillon collection that just covered more than 3000 kilometers in the hands of its current owner, an architect from San Diego who left the optic of the small sports car just as found and sold in Paris. 

1962 Lagonda Rapide

1962 Lagonda Rapide

Talking about characters brings us to class F, the Playboys Toys. Back in the 1950s and 1960s the Dolce Vita was far more carefree as it is today and the wealthy Playboys of that time had plenty of opportunities to spend their money on some of the most elegant cars ever built like the iconic Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. Today on top of every Ferrari collecting billionaires shopping list this LWB version was even the very first built and owned by George Arents, financier of the NART of American Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti. Even better known today was another Playboy, Dean Martin who owned the Ghia L 6.4 on the field. Being member of the rat pack it is actually no surprise that the car featured a holster for a revolver under the seat.

The Lamborghini Miura was owned by the son of Arthur Canon Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes books a keen racer himself with a Mercedes-Benz SSK in his stable. The Miura was awarded best in class although not few thought the California Spyder would have been the better choice. But there was another California Spyder in this class, the later 365. And unlike the early 250 the bigger 365 is seen very controversy whether it is a beautiful design or not. Although much more elegant in white the lines of this car are not to every ones taste and together with the huge price tag only 14 examples were built.

One of the most beautiful lines ever on a GT car could be found on the Aston Martin DB4GT. Unlike the “normal” street and GT cars with body by Touring the Zagato version looks much more compact and aggressive at the same time. Although not as successful on the race track against the Ferrari 250 GT it is today a design icon and a very welcome entrant at every concours in the world.

The very last car in the field was the newest on the field and the Ferrari 365 GT/4 BB. It featured a one-off color on a boxer with Verde Germoglio showing that the color could change entirely the character of a car. Whereas a “normal” boxer would look like an alien element on the show field the green car was of huge presence and one of the cars admired the most in the public Villa Erba Sunday display. 

Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2017

Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2017

Class G is a specialty of the Concorso Eleganza, the class of small cars. Always a crowds favorite this class shows that one does not need a fortune to create a masterpiece like the Fiat 1100, the very first work of Pietro Frua. 70 year ago this very car was presented a few miles down the road at the Villa Olmo were the concours was held in 1947 to win 2nd in class, unfortunately it could not repeat the success of that day due to heavy competition.

Nor did it only had to give way to the second Fiat 8V on the field, this time clothed by Vignale but certainly to the car that should be later awarded Best of Show by the Jury, the 1957 Giulietta SS Prototipo from the Lopresto collection. 

The last class of classic cars was again a class that is not typical Concours material with the racing cars. More “form follows function” some of them still have a very exciting appearance. Just like the California Spyder the Ferrari 250 GT SWB is one of the most iconic cars with the prancing horse. This particular car featured golden color and a good racing history including a 4th place at the 1961 Tour de France.

A few years earlier and main opponent of the Ferrari 250 TR was the Maserati 300S. The late version of the 3-litre sports car on display in Cernobbio featured some late series upgrades including the brakes of the bigger 450S and a longer more aerodynamic nose. This works car was driven by Stirling Moss in period and just completed a superb restoration by Egon Zweimüller. After being raced in the US in recent years the Austrian restorer had to remove about 30 kilogram of filler to strip the car to bare metal to find most of the original bodywork that never suffered any significant damage, very rare to race cars of this period. The outstanding work on that car was also seen by the judges and the car won its class ahead of another crowd’s favorite, the Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record car, nicknamed “Principessa”. The Princess was called that way by the mechanics of the team because of its beauty and when driving past the Villa d´Este one could easily understand the origin of the name.

The class was completed by a duo of Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Competizione, one in the “normal” design and one as a NART Spyder version. 

1958 Maserati 300 S

1958 Maserati 300 S

So now we have looked over the field and we still have to answer whether the quality of cars is as good as it was and the question is easy to answer: compared to all the other Concours events the Concorso D´Eleganza does not have to hide. Looking over the Atlantic to Pebble Beach one can see that more fresh restorations are introduced in the most prestigious Concours in the world and not all of them are coming over to Como automatically but one has to keep in mind that most of the owners of these special concours cars have done the trip many times before and might get a little bit tired doing all the concurs circus as they did before. That said there are still some great cars on display and although the “one highlight” might have missed this year it still was a great mix with something for everyone. Looking at the field on Sunday at the public day at the Villa Erba it even looked more crowded than ever before.

Leaves us with the Best of Show: unlike at the big shows in the US the Concorso d’Eleganza is very open to every class to be contender for the BoS whereas others are usually limited to a few pre-war coach built classes. In Como race cars, GT cars, one-offs and prototypes of all eras could be found in the winners list and so the victory of the Giulietta Speciale Prototype is a good choice for this location. And knowing Corrado Lopresto and his dedication to special one-offs and Prototypes and his ever stylish appearance at all the major Concours of the world one could not think of a more deserved winner in his home country.

So we leave the shore of Lago di Como to be back next year for another edition of the Concorso d´Eleganza and most likely to the same discussions about the overall quality of the cars the choice of the international selection committee.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupe

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupe

TROFEO BMW GROUP - Best of Show by the Jury
88 - Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Prototipo 1957 - Corrado Lopresto ( IT)


COPPA D’ORO VILLA D’ESTE - Best of Show by Public Referendum at Villa d’Este
10 - Lurani Nibbio 1935 - Federico Göttsche Bebert (IT)

 

TROFEO BMW GROUP ITALIA - By Public Referendum at Villa Erba
88 - Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Prototipo 1957 - Corrado Lopresto ( IT)


TROFEO BMW GROUP RAGAZZI - By Young People’s Referendum at Villa Erba (up to the age of 16)
26 - Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Turismo 1932 - Lecocq (ES)



CLASS WINNERS AND MENTION OF HONOR

 

CLASS A - (Pre-war) Speed Demons: Endurance Pioneers of the Golden Age

Class Winner

02 - Ballot 3/8 LC 1920 - Alexander Schaufler (A)

Mention of Honor

10 - Lurani Nibbio 1935 - Federico Göttsche Bebert (IT)

 


CLASS B - (Pre-War) Travelling in Style: Around the World in 40 Years

Class Winner

20 - Duesenberg J Convertible Berline 1930 - Ion Tiriac (RO)

Mention of Honor

22 - Lancia Dilambda 1932 - Albert Kalimian (US)

 

CLASS C - (Pre-War) Goodbye Jazz, Hello Radio: Full Speed into the 1930s

Class Winner

26 - Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Turismo 1932 - Lecocq (ES)
Mention of Honor

30 - Tatra 77 1934 - Tomáš Hoferek (CZ)


CLASS D - (Post-War) Faster, Quieter, Smoother: Heroes of the Jet Age

Class Winner

46 - Fiat 8V Supersonic 1953 - Lennart F. Schouwenburg (NL)

Mention of Honor

38 - Bentley MK VI 1947 - Norbert Seeger (LT)


Class E - (Post-War)  The Grand Tour Continues: The next 40 Years

Class Winner

58 - Ferrari 250 Europa GT Speciale 1955 s/n 0407GT - Audrey & Martin Gruss ( US)

Mention of Honor

56 - Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 1955 - Andries Meuzelaar (BE)

Class F - (Post-War) Fast and Flamboyant: Playboys' Toys

Class Winner

76 - Lamborghini Miura P 400 1968 - Jean-Pierre Slavic (CH)

Mention of Honor

66 - Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California Prototipo 1957 s/n 0769GT - Robert Bishop (US)

Class G - (Post-War) Supergioiello: Little Toys for Big Boys

Class Winner

88 - Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Prototipo 1957 - Corrado Lopresto ( IT)

Mention of Honor

86 - Fiat 8V 1955 - Jan De Reu (BE)

Class H - (Post-War) Shaped by Speed: Racing through the Decades

Class Winner

94 - Maserati 300 S 1958 - Andreas Mohringer (AT)

Mention of Honor

98 - Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record 1960 - Luca Bertolero (IT)

Special Prizes

Trofeo BMW Group Classic - For the most sensitive restoration by the Jury

40 - Bentley MK VI Cresta 1948 - Fred F. Kriz (MC)

Trofeo Rolls-Royce - To the most elegant Rolls-Royce by the Jury

14 - Rolls-Royce Phantom L 1926 - Chris Meany (AU)

Trofeo Vranken Pommery - To the best iconic car by the Jury

96 - Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB Competizione 1960 s/n 2321GT - Destriero Collection (Tim Bergold) (MC)

Trofeo Julius Baer - For the car which showcases exceptional craftsmanship from its time by the Jury

68 - Ghia L 6.4 1962 - Jack Braam-Ruben (NL)

Trofeo Foglizzo - For the best interior design by the Jury

30 - Tatra 77 1934 - Tomáš Hoferek (CZ)

Trofeo Fiva - To the best preserved post-war car

16 - Hispano-Suzia T 49 1927 - Marko Roccardo Gastaldi (CH)

Trofeo ASI - To the best preserved pre-war car

98 - Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record 1960 - Luca Bertolero (IT)

Trofeo Auto & Design - To the most exciting design by the Jury

72 - Shelby Cobra 427 1966 - Brendan M. Finn (US)

Trofeo Automobile Club di Como - To the car driven from farthest away

48 - Lagonda Rapide 1962 - Edouard Mignon (CH)

1961 Intermeccanica IMP 700 GT

1961 Intermeccanica IMP 700 GT

1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione

1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione

1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Brougham de Ville

1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Brougham de Ville

1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Berline

1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Berline

Rayda Sinni

The Car Experience Inc - info@thecarexperience.com - + 1( 705) 726 7399