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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.

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Report & images ... Peter & Wolfgang Singhof