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Cernobbio, 22nd - 24th of May, 2015

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Class E – Gentlemen´s Racers – Speed meets post-war style

Class E was dedicated to the post-war stars of the coach built era, the most spectacular sports and race cars of the 1950s. When looking on the action results and the collections of the major players in the concours scene these examples are the stars on the scene. In a time when the wealthy gentlemen raced their cars on the weekend and drove them home afterwards some of the most elegant designs were created, especially in Italy and it is not a surprise that apart from the Touring bodied Pegaso all representatives of the class came from Ferrari, Maserati and Fiat.

The star of this class was without doubt the Ferrari 166MM Touring Barchetta (0064M). The “small boat” is one of the purest designs by Touring ever finding its way on a Ferrari and a 2.5 litre version of this car was just sold this weekend at RM Sotheby´s auction at the Villa Erba at 6.7 Mio Euro and the car at the concours is even on top of that. Being the first Ferrari owned by Gianni Agnelli this was not ordered in the typical Italian red racing colour but in very stylish two-tone blue over green, certainly the best possible colour combination. Agnelli’s grandson Lapo Elkman was present at the concours Saturday and joined the owner at the award parade in front of the Villa.

Even without knowing the background of the celebrity first owner and the continuous Belgian history at the Garage Francorchamps of Jaques Swaters this car was the crowds’ favourite winning both public awards, the Coppa d´Oro at the Villa d´Este and the Trofeo BMW Group Italia at the Villa Erba. But not exactly in concours condition the jury had the difficult choice how to judge patina against a fresh restoration to the highest standards. Most severe was this question when comparing the two Ferrari 250 GT in the class, one a totally original LWB Berlinetta TdF (0723GT) with continuous Finish history and a lot of patina and on the other side a perfect 250 GT SWB (3367GT) that was just restored in midnight-blue over red interior to the taste of its owner.

At the end the Agnelli 166 MM became runner up behind one of two Zagato bodied Maserati. On one side the early A6 1500 S with a very high glass roof and on the other side the later A6 G2000 with a more stylish low roof. Restored in time for the centenary class of Maserati at Pebble Beach last year chassis 2124 was awarded with the class award at Como to be one of the contenders for the BoS. When talking about Italian race cars the marque Fiat does not come to mind at first hand. Although many cars at the Mille Miglia were based on cheap Fiat drive trains Fiat just once took up the challenge against Ferrari and Maserati with the 2-litre 8V. The car in Como was designed by Vignale and has some period MM history and one of the many rarities at the Villa d´Este.

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Report & images ... Peter & Wolfgang Singhof