THE ICE St. Moritz 2020
Cars & motorsport

ICE St. Moritz – No Time To Die, But High Time For A Drive!

It would take more than the Coronavirus to prevent us from grabbing a seat aboard the famous James Bond Aston Martin, one of the guest stars of the Concours International d'Elégance (ICE, for insiders) on the frozen Lake Saint Moritz.

By Frédéric Brun

What can we give to those who have almost everything? Nothing. But it seems that in St. Moritz, dreams become reality, like magic, even when nothing goes as planned. Last weekend, an anthology of collectors of beautiful vintage cars were invited to meet in the poshest resort of the Engadine, for some fun gliding on the frozen lake behind the wheel of prestigious machines.

The second edition of The ICE (International Concours d'Elégance) was full of promise with a program filled with frozen laps for the bevy of carefully selected, exceptional vehicles, ranging from an Alfa Romeo race car from the ‘30s to a spectacular contemporary Pagani, to Jaguar  C, D, and E-types, a Mercedes 300 SL formerly driven by Sofia Loren, which replicated the current one in the colors of the watchmaker IWC (partner of the event), a Lancia branded by Zagato wearing Martini brand colors, and, of course, a squadron of desirable Ferraris of various eras.

To spice it all up, the competition was to close with an open-air party with guests directed to bring their fluorescent ski outfits from the 80s out of the basement. It was impossible not to warm-up to the theme. Until news came, throwing a chill over the event.

At the last minute, the authorities caused the event to go into an uncontrolled skid when they decided to ban the gathering due to the prevention policy linked to curbing the spread of the Coronavirus. Most thought the toys would, therefore, remain in the garage, and most of the participants would turn around the day before. However, this did not take into account the hardcore enthusiasm of enthusiasts, who were determined to be cured of their automotive virus in the fresh air of the mountain, like the driver and boss of Swiss racing stable, Ronnie Kessel.

The intrepid young man was among the initiators of the event. The announcement of the cancellation has not been back to the same, even if the word became strict order: "move along, nothing to see here!” Affecting a certain casualness through elegance, Marco Makaus, one of the organizers, would even make them smile during the dinner at Badrutt's Palace by stressing that this demonstration, which ultimately did not take place, was planned for a place that only exists a few weeks a year (the frozen lake), and on a date, February 29, which does not occur every year.

Call me Bond, James Bond

However, like well-performed sleight of hand, a handful of iconic cars appeared in the afternoon. The most captivating being a certain silver-gray, Aston Martin, registered BMT 216 A. Unless it was 4711-EA-62 or LU 6789, it was hard to know with these rotating plates. But as long as you know the number, you know the name, right?

The highlight of the day was this DB5, obviously the star of the group. Equipped with all the gadgets concocted by Q, including some never shown on-screen, such as the secret drawer containing a gun or phone in the driver's door, it was, of course, James Bond's car. This specimen (chassis no. DB5 / 2008 / R, for purists) did not take part in the filming but was one of the two cars used for the international promotion of Thunderball. Sold at auction by RM Sotheby's for $6.385 million last August, this DB5 was driven by Sean Connery to the film's premieres.

Did it all really happen? Or was it just the fruit of my imagination? Wrapped in cottony clouds, the landscape unfolded calmly behind the windows of the dining car, as big as movie screens. The red train ran down its UNESCO World Heritage route. Saint Moritz faded in the mist, but not our memories. And, fewer than 363 days separate us from the next edition of The ICE. To pass the time, I turned on the radio. To my surprise, the evening jazz program was devoted to various versions of Goldfinger's music.

(Photography by Watchonista)

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