Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este – The world’s leading Concours d’Elegance
The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is a permanent fixture in many car aficionados’ calendar, with BMW Group Classic and the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este again bringing together owners and lovers of historic vehicles – on the banks of Lake Como – from 22 to 24 May 2015 for a weekend of 1970’s glitz and glamour under the banner “Seventies style – the jetset is back”. The event looks back on “90 years of the Rolls-Royce Phantom”, while also featuring a BMW Art Car special exhibition. Visitors will be reminded of how, 40 years ago, the ‘art car’ description took on a whole new meaning when a BMW 3.0 CSL painted by US artist Alexander Calder raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This was the car that launched the Art Car tradition initiated by BMW and which still today remains a fascinating representative of a dazzling era, one in which sensational art and exclusive lifestyle also swept up the automotive world.
Fans of classic motorcycles will equally be delighted with an exquisite line-up of models showcased at the fifth edition of The Concorso di Motociclette which has established itself as one of the highlights on the second day of the event.
The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is considered one of the world’s most exclusive and tradition-steeped stages for historic cars and motorcycles. The event in the northern Italian town of Cernobbio was first held in 1929 as an exhibition for new creations from the auto industry. Back in 1930 the Gran Premio Referendum was instituted which allowed the spectators to secretly cast their vote – in conjunction with the panel of judges – in order to award the victor’s laurels. Still now, the contestants are competing for the affections of the public as well, since their votes determine the winners of several special prizes. The event unfortunately went through some turbulent times, nevertheless always retaining its exclusive character and even enjoying Royal patronage in its early years.
After the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este was last held in its original form, with the first new post-war vehicles in 1949, the event was forgotten for almost 40 years. At the end of the 1990’s however the BMW Group – with its brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce – took over patronage of this tribute to automotive rarities, and since 2005 BMW Group Classic and the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este have acted as co-hosts.
The main locations of this car spectacular are once more Villa d’Este and the grand exhibition space of Villa Erba. Both hotels are truly spectacular, with the opulent Villa d’Este being hailed as one of the best hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Forbes Traveler; widely praised for its beautiful gardens, exquisite cuisine, gala celebrations, impeccable décor and extraordinary hospitality.
Villa Erba is an architectural jewel of the XVIIIth century, featuring ancient frescoes, precious inlaid ceilings and many Mannerist rooms. Surrounded by the stunning botanical park, Villa Erba’s modern congress centre boasts an area of over 10,000 square metres, consisting of a circular pavilion and three adjacent wings. With its glass and iron facade, it provides a perfect equilibrium between history, elegance and innovation. Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is typically taking place on the last weekend of May with Saturday being reserved as a closed event at the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este for participants, the media and invited guests. Taking centre stage however is the public Concours of Historic Cars which once again is held in the grounds of Villa Erba where historic cars and motorcycles of outstanding class and with a fascinating past will do battle in a number of competition categories. More than 50 of the world’s most beautiful classics from the 1920s to the early 1980s and around a dozen of the latest Concept Cars & Prototypes are guaranteed to make the hearts of the visitors beat a little faster. Rolls-Royce Phantoms from various decades will also be competing in a special class for the favour of both the jury and the public. The Motorcycle Concours – which runs in parallel – is also judged by an international Jury and this event is open to public visitors in the Grounds of Villa Erba on Saturday and Sunday, with a convoy of rare motorcycles taking place on Saturday. This year’s special exhibition in the rotunda at Villa Erba is devoted to the Art Cars which captured the imagination of art and motor racing fans alike in the 1970s, while the support programme for the visitors, entrants and guests of honour will also be held in the style of the uproarious seventies.