First things first: the Concorso d'Eleganza at Villa d’Este on Lake Como is one of the most prestigious car-events of the year. Many collectors gather here to show off and admire one another’s cars. At Villa d’Este, it is quite expensive to get a ticket, but a ticket to the later showing at Villa Erba only costs around 14 euros.
On Sunday, the last day of the Concorso, the cars are transported from Villa d’Este to Villa Erba at 7 am. Two and half hours later, the passionate crowd gathers to see all the cars arriving. Ferrari never disappoints, and they once again proved a favourite at this event.
1970 Ferrari 512S Modulo by Pininfarina
This is one of those projects Ferrari will never create again. The 512S Modulo debuted at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show and was painted black. The car won 22 overall awards for its design, which is still to this day quite futuristic.
The Modulo has an extremely low, wedge-shaped body, with a canopy-style glass roof that slides forward to allow entry to the car. All four wheels are partly covered and another special feature of the design are 24 holes in the engine cover revealing the Ferrari V12 engine.
At 8:15 am, in the centre of Cernobbio, the car arrived. You could hear the screaming sound of the 5.0L V12 through the whole village. With its sharp, edgy and futuristic lines, it was quite a dominant car in such a Victorian area. Everyone was running to get a glimpse of the intense lines of this bizarre Ferrari.
The team of Pininfarina chose to drive the car instead of transporting it by truck so more people could enjoy the car on the streets and hear the unique sound of its racing engine. When it arrived, it missed the corner to get on the grass at Villa Erba. The car is hard to turn and it took at least 20 minutes before they could get it on the lot, which gave the crowd time to take a closer look. The car is quite photogenic with its eccentric details.
I noticed a vignette on the windshield of the New York State and the owner, James Glickenhaus, explained he enjoys driving it through Manhattan. For me personally, it’s a car I will probably never see again so I enjoyed every second of it.
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder
Car historians thought it was lost forever. Having once belonged to actor Alain Delon, it is part of a trove of 60 rare classic cars discovered on a farm in western France. The collection, which includes Bugattis and Maseratis, is believed to have been forgotten for half a century. The unrestored car was hammered for a staggering 18.6 million dollars. In 1962, Alain Delon and Jane Fonda brought the California Spyder to Villa Erba for their vacation at Lake Como. It was unreal to witness such a special moment and replicate the picture they took 57 years ago.
The Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder was a star during the Concorso d’Eleganza. The car was restored perfectly and everything is still in original condition. The French license-plate the car had when it was found was replaced with the original license plate of Alain Delon, which came from Monte Carlo (4452). Sadly, the car was positioned between the Bugatti La Voiture Noire and a rare Aston Martin DBS Zagato, so it didn’t get as much attention as should’ve had.
The car now belongs to Tony Vassilopoulos from Great Britain and is under Monegasque registry, which means it can wear its original license plate again.
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C
Combine a Colombo V12 and a paper-thin aluminium body and the results speak for themselves. You could hear the car accelerate from Villa d’Este as the car approached the crowd at Villa Erba. Fun fact: the 275 GTB/C has a total of six exhausts – four on the back and two on the right. The sharp V12 sound they produce will stay in your mind forever.
This particular Ferrari 275 GTB/C, serial number 09051, participated in more than 20 races, winning the GT class numerous times. The rare GTB/Cs are often considered the 250 GTO of the 1966 racing season: they’re extremely sought-after, super rare, very fast, beautiful and perfectly driveable. Only 12 of these cars were built, all equipped with a unique lightweight chassis, special 250 LM-type engine, transaxle and paper thin Scaglietti bodywork.
As David Brynan, from Gooding & Company once said: “These are exciting, purpose-built competition cars from Ferrari's golden age, and they are brilliant to drive – as fast and visceral as any thoroughbred racing car of the era, yet completely user-friendly and perfectly suited for the open road. This car, with its extensive Italian racing history, superb provenance, and sensational restoration by Motion Products, is a fantastic piece, truly a best-of-the-best example.”
Offered from a distinguished private collection, this 275 GTB/C is even more exciting to learn about because it has been kept away from public for over a decade: it was last seen at a Pebble Beach auction back in 2007. The current owner told me that he invested over 800,000 dollars into restoring and maintaining the car.
The theme of the 90th edition of Concorso d’Eleganza was called Symphony of the Engines. This car won the Best of Sound award: 09051 was unbelievable loud, with a beautiful symphony produced by its special 250LM engine.
Written by Dennis Bartels