A Maserati 450 S was the surprise winner of the Best in Show award at this year’s Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza. Last year, Ralph Lauren’s Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic swept the board, but this year the field was wide open with four of the nine best-in-class winners considered possible overall victors.
Corrado Lopresto’s 1931 Aprile-bodied Alfa Romeo 6C won the Coppo d’Oro ‘people’s choice’ award the day before, but the nine judges took two hours to declare the Maserati their winner, with the angular Pininfarina Abarth Scorpione concept and a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France its closest competition.
But although the Abarth concept was favoured by the designers on the panel for its huge influence on cars like the Countach, the Maserati was considered the more elegant car: and this is a concorso d’eleganza, after all.
Speaking exclusively to Goodwood Road and Racing, jury member and former Renault design director Patrick le Quement said, “the 450 S is a racing car, and we always have to keep elegance, not performance, at the forefront of our minds when giving this award.”
“But this is simply one of the most elegant racing cars ever made. Like other cars of the era, Fantuzzi designed it by hand and hammer, but they were able to create some very complex, compound curves that way.”
Swiss owner Albert Spiess (centre, left) collected his prize, a one-off version of a £35,000 watch, from Wilhelm Schimdt, CEO of the German watchmaker and event sponsor A. Lange & Söhne.