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Cernobbio, 22nd - 24th of May, 2015

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Class I – two seats against the stopwatch – classic sports racers

The last of the classic car classes was dedicated to race cars of different eras and concepts. Oldest and most exciting car in the class was the Maserati Tipo 60/61 Birdcage nicknamed by is filigree tube frame. The prototype of the Tipo 60 (2451) was later converted to Tipo 61 specification and features an aerodynamic rear as raced by the Camoradi Team in the American racing colours at Le Mans. Several years ago this car returned to the La Mans classic and was chasing the Le Mans winning Aston Martin DBR1 all night around the track. After its last change in ownership the car will be less seen in vintage racing but at demonstration runs and at the concours. Its next appearances will be in Vernasca up the hill and at Bensberg for the German Concours. Certainly one could debate whether race cars like the Birdcage have their place at a concours but considering the Best of Show of last year’s Maserati 450S it follows a strong tradition in Como. The car was awarded best in class and one of the public favourites beside the 166 MM.

Completely different from the Birdcage in its appearance was the second placed McLaren M1-A. Whereas the Maserati tried to succeed due to its refined chassis the McLaren was entered in the CanAm series where the cars had huge engine power. The McLaren was powered by a big bore American V8 and once featured in an Elvis Presley movie. As the car was presented by Austrian Restorer Egon Zweimüller the story was easy to tell due to his haircut similar to Elvis. Zweimüller also took advantage of the huge power output of the McLaren and proved that one could paint black stripes even on a red carpet with a feisty start at the Sunday’s winners’ parade in front of the jury.

Two years after the prototype was shown at the Villa d´Este this year one of the “production” Ferrari 206 S was shown. The small two-litre engined Drogo Spider is very much a smaller version of the famous 330 P3. With just 20 units built the small racer was ideal suited for hill climbs and twisty road at the Targa Florio. Unfortunately the car on show (016) refused to start on Saturday missing the winners’ parade but screamed again on Sunday applauded by the grand stands.

The class was round off by the Lancia Stratos in Alitalia livery as used in the Rally championship.

The concept car classes

Aside the classic cars BMW reinvented the concept car classes to represent the original intention of the concours, to showcase the latest development in design. This was also the reason for the change in the event date from the earlier April weekend that collided with the Chinese Motor Show in Shanghai. Now on a free weekend several manufacturers showed their latest creations including the all new Bentley EXP10, the Aston Martin DBX the Magna Mila Plus. Zagato and Touring on the other hand are coming back to the days when they produce very small series and one-off for wealthy clients rather than mass production design as most manufacturers feature an in-house design department today. Touring presented the Ferrari based Berlinetta Lusso whereas the Maserati Mosto by Zagato made its first public appearance at the Villa d´Este. More exotic was the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG003C, a purpose built race car for the long distance classic at the Nürburgring, the 24h.

Finally it was the Bentley taking the public vote, surprisingly a British car at an Italian concours.

So the 2015 edition was another great year for the history books. Fortunate with the weather the concours at the best possible location showcased several sensational cars spanning 5 decades. Three Pegaso, the wonderful Ferrari 166 MM and the quartet of pre-war Mercedes-Benz alone was worth the travel. Finally the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spider was a deserved winner, maybe not as glamorous as some of the other cars but it combined the racing heritage, the top marque of its era and the right coachwork.

The concours also tends to become more modern with the supercars from the 1970s also attracting a younger public. Some purists might criticize this but if those in the 1960 would have thought the same way the line-up would be still restricted to the pre-war coach built era. And as the Concorso d´Eleganza always was a little bit ahead of its time compared to the American shows (were a coach built Ferrari just won last year compared to Como many years before) it will be interested to see whether others will follow

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Report & images ... Peter & Wolfgang Singhof