This weekend just gone the town of Cernobbio on the banks of Lake Como reprised its status as the centre of attention for all car enthusiasts – and this year motorcycle fans also had much to admire. The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este brought together a selection of classic models and new concept cars to the acclaim of the assembled audience.
And for the first time the cars were joined by motorcycles competing for class and overall victory in a competition of their own, as fans of two-wheeled classics headed to the Villa Erba for Saturday’s motorcycle concours. Another new feature of the Concorso was the sale held by RM Auctions on Saturday evening, which tempted collectors with a line-up of 32 extraordinary cars.
“Our aim was to take this long-established event into new territory while preserving its character,” said Karl Baumer, President of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and Director of BMW Group Classic, outlining the reasons behind the changes. “The main initiative we introduced to give people extra opportunity to visit the Concorso was the addition of a second Public Day,” continued Baumer. Dr Jean-Marc Droulers, President of Villa d’Este S.p.A., also declared himself pleased with the weekend: “We’ve seen cars and motorcycles which made our hearts beat a little faster – both within the small, exclusive environs of the Villa d’Este and together with the wider public at the Villa Erba.”
The jury awarded the Trofeo BMW Group, and with it “best of show” honours, to a 1968 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, while the time-honoured Coppa d’Oro prize decided by public referendum went to an Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS from 1942. The “Concept Cars and Prototypes” category, meanwhile, was topped by the Aston Martin Zagato celebrating its world premiere at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Another model making its debut at the event was the BMW 328 Hommage, unveiled by the Bavarian company to mark the 75th birthday of its iconic BMW 328 sports car from the 1930s.
The Trofeo BMW Group in the first Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este for motorcycles was won by an American Pierce Four from 1910. After presenting the award, General Director of BMW Motorrad Hendrik von Kuenheim shifted the spotlight to plans for the years ahead: “We are looking to develop this concours into a meeting point for all enthusiasts of motorcycle design. That fits in with both the tradition of the BMW motorcycle brand and the passion for bikes here in Italy.”
The extent to which tradition can inspire and the potential – and desired – impact of the past on the future of car design were both on the agenda at the high-powered annual Design Talk round table, which this year addressed the issue of heritage in design under the heading “Tradition & Future in Automotive Design”. Adrian van Hooydonk, Director BMW Group Design, joined Lotus Cars chief designer Donato Coco and Laurens van den Acker, Vice President of Renault Corporate Design, to mull over future-oriented design at car brands with a strong heritage.