Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2016 Classes Revealed
In late December every year the selection committee of the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este meets to decide which 50 cars will be the focus of the judges' and knowledgeable public's attention next spring.
Unwrapping this early Christmas present, today we can exclusively reveal the following classes set to sparkle by the shores of Lake Como:
Class A - Rally cars - Heroes of the special stage, 1955-1985
These are the cars of legend, the through-the-night snowy drives across the Alps, superfast, rock-scraping tarmac stages in the '50s, '60s and '70s, and David beating Goliath over a week of African mud and rain. Imagine a Paddy Hopkirk Mini, a Safari Rally Porsche or a blaring Lancia Stratos. Studded tyres, mud flaps, kangaroo bars and spotlights will be de rigeur.
Class B - Daring to be different - Designs that pushed the envelope
The machines that broke the mould. All are glorious - though we expect to see some glorious failures too... This is the class for the early pioneers of aerodynamics, perhaps a special-bodied Autobahnkurier Mercedes, a streamlined and rear-engined 1930s Tatra, or maybe a 1920s Bugatti Type 32 'Tank'. Post-War engineers such as Enrico Nardi and his extraordinary Bisiluro, one of Harley Earl's extraordinary show cars or Charles Deutsch and the quirky Le Mans streamliners that bore his name would fit perfectly.
Class C - 'Sur mesure et haute couture' - 'One-offs for the connoisseur'
Over the decades, wealthy individuals have celebrated their success with one-off designs. Candy empire heir Ethel Mars commissioned American coachbuilders Bohman and Schwartz to design a gargantuan Duesenberg Model SJ Town Cabriolet. André Dubonnet's polished Hispano-Suiza H6C 'Tulipwood' Torpedo was another flight of fantasy thanks to untold riches from the eponymous aperitif. These were 'statement cars' for only the very few fortunate enough to afford them. Show us yours...
Class D - Pre-War decadence - Flights of automotive fantasy
The era of 'The Great Gatsby' American Roadsters and Town Cars from Duesenberg, Cadillac and Packard. Extravagant, one-off coachwork in the USA is matched with the best from Les Grandes Marques in Europe: names such as Figoni et Falaschi, Saoutchik and Chapron. Even Gurney Nutting, Freestone & Webb and Hooper produced exotic one-offs for eccentric Englishmen on Lagonda, Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis. These are the cars we want to see.
Class E - Pre-War supercars - The Fast and the Flamboyant
The magic '200km/h club'. We'd expect at least one Zagato or Touring-bodied Alfa Romeo here, with the equivalent Bugatti, perhaps the T57S, hard on its heels crossing the mosaic terrace on Saturday afternoon. Both would be in the three-pointed-star sights of Mercedes' SSK.
Class F - Cars of the stars - From the silver screen to the studio lot
Think Norma Desmond's Isotta Fraschini from 'Sunset Boulevard', Gary Cooper's and Clark Gable's own custom Duesenbergs, or perhaps a voluptuous Ferrari driven by a star of the silver screen. The movies have given the automotive world a rich legacy, whether it's the Gulf-Porsche 917 from the film 'Le Mans', or McQueen's own Porsche 911, Jaguar XKSS or 250 GT Lusso.
Class G - GT Man is back - The golden era of sportscar design, 1950-1975
'Granturismo': the very sobriquet hints at winters in Gstaad, summers in Portofino and a carefree lifestyle enjoyed by that new post-War phenomenon, the Jet Set. From early German cars such as the 300 SL and BMW 507, through stylish Italians like the Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America, to the quintessential period of the 1960s with multi-cylinder exotica from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Aston Martin, the class will be packed with power, colour, style and sheer influence.
Class H - Driven by excess - Cars of the Studio 54 era, 1975-1986
In the spirit of opening up our world to younger collectors, this year's innovative category is for cars that might be parked outside Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager's seminal New York nightclub, Studio 54. The venue was open from from 1977 to 1981, so the selection committee will be looking for wild Porsche 935 road cars, tuned BMW, Mercedes or Porsches, and the most extravagant Rolls-Royces or Bentleys. Short runs of special cars by Aston Martin, Ferrari and others for the Sultan of Brunei (estates, saloon conversions and convertibles) might pass the strict policy on the door, if their names are on the list...
Get in touch with Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're tempted to show something special at the world's most exclusive Concorso d'Eleganza from 20-22nd May 2016.