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Concorso d’Eleganza di Villa d’Este 2017

The Italian Concorso di Eleganza di Villa d’Este, the oldest classic cars concours of elegance in the world, the first edition was in 1929, created another week-end full of beauty

By Massimo Delbo

A surprising edition the 2017 one of the classic car Concorso d’Eleganza di Villa d’Este, held on the shore of the Como Lake on Saturday May the 27th with the usual “extension” the following day on the field of the nearby Villa Erba. The surprises come from the overall winners, because this year, in a very good field, there weren’t “monster” cars able of stealing the show, as sometimes happens.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Prototype winner of the Best in Show and the BMW Italia Trophy for the car selected by the public of Villa Erba

The winners

The Coppa d’Oro trophy, for the car voted from the Villa d’Este hotel guests and friend, went to Nibbio, a Moto Guzzi powered streamlined cars built in 1935 by Count Lurani to set 9 speed records. The Nibbio, it is considered a car even if equipped with a motorcycle engine having 4 wheels, is equipped with a V2 496cc, 46 HP power unit, and was the first car equipped with a half a liter engine to pass the 100 mph barrier. In 1939 Carrozzeria Riva modified the lines of the Nibbio following the most recent aerodynamic teaching and the Nibbio was able of setting an additional 8 World Records. Remained in the Lurani family ever since, never restored, is by far the smallest, less refined and noisy car ever winning the Gold Cup and was driven in the show by Count Lurani’s grandchild.

Lurani Nibbio, with Count Lurani grandchild at the wheels, collecting the Gold Cup for the car selected by the public of Villa d’Este

Less surprising, but always interesting, the victory of both the remaining trophies, the BMW Group (the Best in Show assigned from the professional judges) and the BMW Italy (the general public choice voted during the show of Sunday in Villa Erba), gone to the 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Bertone “Prototype” coming from the Lopresto Collection. Formally, says Mr. Corrado Lopresto, the car was registered as entrants under the name of dear friend Giovanna Scaglione, the daughter of the car designer Franco Scaglione, but at the last moment she wasn’t able of joining and my daughter Dora took care of the car.

And she did a great job…” The car (chassis #AR10120-00001) is the prototype of what was to become the Giulietta SS (Sprint Speciale) and made its debut at the 1957 Salone di Torino. It is more basic than the final version, with a longer nose and tail and has its body made in Paraluman, a light version of alloy. In 1959, when the Giulietta SS went into production, the prototype went sold to a private customer living in Milan, as a normal used SS. In late 1960s and early 1970s, with different owners, it was used for racing before being exported to the USA in 1985. It remained in America until 2010, when it was bought by Lopresto and totally restored.

Maserati 300 S

Watches connection

With this success, the Loprestos won the one off A.Lange & Söhne watch, since six years sponsor of the event, the “Como Edition” Lange 1 Time Zone, which adds to the standard version  two important details: the Central Europe time zone is represented by Come instead of Berlin and the back (Alexander, scusa non so come si dice in inglese fondello e non riesco a trovare nulla più del back of the watch) is decorated with the “Villa d’Este” crest and the years 1929-2017, underlying the first edition of the Concorso.

Ballot 3/8  

Some other cars

Among the amazing cars on show, the 1920 Ballot 3/8 LC chassis #1006, the car that won the very first Italian Grand Prix, held in Brescia, in 1921.

More recent was another wonderful racing object, one of the only 26 pieces built by Carrozzeria Fantuzzi, Maserati 300 S.  Currently owned by Austrian collector Andreas Mohringer, which won its class at the event, chassis #3083 was built in 1958. Originally built for a potential Venezuelan customer, once finished, the car was assigned to the in house racing department and used, on June 13, 1958, by Sir Stirling Moss to win the Portuguese Sports Car Grand Prix at Vila Real and, on August 10, to win the Karlskogaat International Race before finishing 2nd on August 16, at the Roskilde Grand International. In 1959 the 300 S went sold in the USA, updated to the latest FIA racing rules, including a soft top, a full windscreen complete with windshield wiper, a five-speed gearbox, a second roll-bar inside the head rest, and additional lights.

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