There are larger shows, more lavish shows, more famous shows. But no concours can match the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este for its setting, the classic beauty of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este and Villa Erba, and above all, the elegance and originality of the participating automobiles. Situated by the shores of Italy's Lake Como it is one of the most romantic locations in the world. I know. I've been a guest in an historic Lake Como chateau owned by a multi-millionaire and even though that was many years ago I've never forgotten the experience.
For me and all the classic car fans in British Columbia the 2012 Ville d'Este became extra-special when the prestigious Coppa d'Oro (Gold Cup), the Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este (Best of Show by Public Referendum), and the Best in Show by Jury became a grand slam win for Vancouver's David Cohen. His magnificent 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS, 6th Series Coupé by Figoni swept all three categories. Cohen remembered this car from his childhood in South Africa and when he finally got the chance to purchase it in 2002, orchestrated a superb restoration at RX Autoworks in North Vancouver.
The organisers of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este boast that "visitors breathe an air of authentic aristocracy, rather than the slightly commercial atmosphere of other events." Indeed, the grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este, one of the world's leading hotels, lapped by the waters of Lake Como, is a very special place in which to stay at any time. But when those grounds are graced by some of the most beautiful cars in the world there's nothing quite like it. Appropriately the show also includes motorcycles and contemporary prototypes, which seems appropriate since the first Villa d'Este took place in 1929, when concours were contests for the most beautiful new models.
[Photos: Trofeo BMW Group]