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Cernobbio, 22nd - 24th of May, 2015

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Class F – Hollywood on the Lake, convertibles for a grand entrance at Villa d´Este

Whereas the coupés were favoured by many for the racing purposes the convertibles were the more glamorous choice for the wealthy playboy in California or the Cote d´Azure.

If one asks what is a typical for the Villa d´Este concours the first coming to mind is the Ferrari 250 GT California Spider. There was rarely an edition in the last years without showcasing on of the open Ferrari of the late 1950s. Named after its targeted market at the American west coast the California was actually the cheapest version of the convertible with a spartan cockpit and roof compared to the more luxurious versions of the Pininfarina Cabriolets. Just as the Porsche Speedster with the same purpose the California Spider today is the most sought after version both in short and long wheelbase variants. The car in Como (1057GT) was the earlier long version based on the TdF chassis as seen in class E and with the more popular covered headlights configuration giving it a sportier look compared to the open headlights. During the 1990s the car was in the typical red and could be seen from time to time in Stuttgart parked roadside by its owner back then, now it is restored in a very stylish combination of grey metallic over tan.

When thinking about the Lancia Aurelia the B24 Convertible comes to mind but already a year earlier Pininfarina built a spider on the B52. Inspired by a jet at the front this car was displayed at the 1953 Geneva Motor Show. More recently the car was sold in Monterey by RM in 2014 and won its class at this year concours.

As mentioned earlier one does rarely see a Pegaso, not to think of three at the same venue. After the special display at the Retromobile earlier this year Como did not just feature the Cupula and the Touring Berlinetta but also the Saoutchik Cabriolet in class f. Very interesting is the comparison of the French and the Italian design on this chassis and one has to admit that the Saoutchik version looks more vintage than the timeless design of Touring.

In this period BMW also produced one of its most prestigious models ever, the BMW 507. Built as opponent of the Mercedes 300 SL Roadster the Graf Goertz designed Bavarian was long time in the shadow of its counterpart with the three pointed star, just to get its recognition to be the rarer car lately. Celebrities like Elvis Presley owned one but the car on show even has a Mille Miglia history as indicated by its starting number, the starting time of 5:25am at the very last Italian road race from Brescia to Rome and back.

The class was rounded off by an Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 S Pinin Farina and the small yet elegant Cisitalia 202 SC Cabriolet by Stabilimenti Farina.

Class G – GT man has arrived. Interpretations of opulence

As mentioned before this year concours took the theme well into the 1970s and class G was one of these classes. Whereas many of the convertibles and coupes of the previous eras featured some sportive genes the cars of this class featured a more luxurious approach to the theme.

The two winners of the class could not be more different, on one side the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II Convertible and on the other side the Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona. Unlike the previous models the Daytona was not a race car in the common sense anymore apart from some specially developed Competition versions but a more refined cruiser taking the design from Pininfarina into the 1970s.

The rival of Ferrari in the 1960s in the GT class was also Aston Martin and just like Ferrari developed more into the luxurious market Aston did as well. Originally designed by Touring the DB4 started the GT line highlighted by the DB5 as known from the James Bond movies. Presenter Simon Kidston introduced the car at Como as “James Bond on holidays” as the DB5 was also produced in a convertible version. Today on of the rarest Astons the DB5 was the last car before the name “Volante” was introduced for the open versions.

One of the strangest car in Como was the Panther Six of 1976. In this F1 season the Tyrell P34 surprised the world with the 6-wheel concept that was also shown on this design study of Panther featuring a huge 600hp engine and a top speed of 320 km/h. Apparently two examples were built and the car in Como was surrounded by many people all day long.

A little bit less exciting was the Rolls-Royce Camargue, the coupé was certainly well in the theme of the luxurious GT cars but not few did not really see a concours car in its lines.

... 001 - 036 Ambience >>>

... 037- 072 Class A >>>

... 073 - 108 Class B >>>

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... 145 - 180 Class D >>>

... 181 - 216 Class E >>>

... 217 - 252 Class E >>>

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... 289 - 324 Class G >>>

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... 397 - 432 Class I & Concept Cars >>>

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Report & images ... Peter & Wolfgang Singhof