The right crowd and no crowding is an apposite phrase for the annual Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. With the choicest few on the manicured lakeside lawns, first prize this year went to the 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Prototipo. Nice, certainly, but it didn’t make my top 10, as I wandered round the display in 30-degree heat. Which is perhaps why I’ve never been invited to be on the jury. Here is my pick from this year’s event.
JUN 01st 2017
Erin Baker: Our top 9 from Villa d'Este
BMW 850i Cabriolet Prototype
OK, so this was in the BMW Group display as opposed to on the lawn, but my goodness it was my pick of the entire weekend. BMW intended the original 8-Series to have a drop-top version, but it was eventually scrapped over development cost worries. The shame of it.
1929 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre
What presence on the lawn, but also what a history. Brooklands lap records, and one of Tim Birkin’s breathed-on adventures.
1934 Tatra 77
“A strange little fella” said someone, and that silhouette is certainly distinctive. V8 engine, 2,969cc, 60hp at 3,500rpm. My pick of the “Goodbye jazz, Hello radio: Full speed into the 1930s” class.
1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic
Kinda summed up the jet age vibe to me, with its Ghia coupe bodywork. V8 engine, 1996cc, 105bhp at 6,000rpm.
1962 Maserati 5000GT
What great way to remind us all it’s the 70th anniversary of the glorious Maserati GTs this year (you can get a proper eyeful of classic Maserati GTs on their stand at the Festival of Speed).
1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider
Such a pretty, pretty thing. Screams out for the Amalfi coastline and legs full of sunshine. V6 engine, 2,451cc, 118hp at 5,000rpm. Coachwork by Pininfarina, naturally.
1959 Lancia Flamina Sport
Am I allowed two Lancias? Stuff it, here they are. Zagato lines, V6 engine, 116hp at 5,100rpm. A fine way to see the continent.
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California Prototipo
The shallow bodywork over the rear wheels, the side grilles, the svelte waistline. And a V12 engine developing 246bhp at 7,000rpm.
1960 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB Competizione
With its top-mounted windscreen wiper, it oozes competition history; so good to see in an immaculate show pony. V12, 2953cc, 276bhp at 7,000rpm.
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