This year wasn’t our first Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. We’ve been there before and it’s always magical. However, this year may have been the best, despite some less than desirable weather, due to the sheer level of automotive majesty. There were new debuts, breathtaking classics, iconic racecars, and everything in between. It was an event like no other, right in the heart of some of this planet’s most jaw-dropping scenery.
The Concorso d’Elegnza Villa d’Este began in 1929 and ran until 1949, when it naturally took a break for WWII. It picked up again in 1949 and again in 1951, before it took a 44 year break and returned in 1995. It’s been on and off a bit since then but, regardless of how many there are or how many times we attend, it never gets old. Held in the little town of Cernobbio, sitting on the shoreline of Lake Como, the ultra-exclusive Villa d’Este is one of the most famous and opulent hotels in the world. The grounds are nothing short of mesmerizing. Thankfully, we had the chance to spend a couple of days there—though we didn’t stay at the Villa d’Este hotel, as we aren’t presidents or famous actors—and had an incredible time.
It all started last Friday night, which was the unveiling of the BMW Concept Touring Coupe in the beautiful Mosaic garden. In the pouring rain. Still, a night at Villa d’Este in the pouring rain is better than a sunny day almost anywhere else. After we saw the Concept Touring Coupe, we were able to see the BMW i5 in a closed room ahead of its official reveal.
Saturday was the big day, though, the Concorso d’Eleganza. That’s where the excitement really happened. There, we saw the most incredible four-wheeled machinery in the world. Everything from pre-war Rolls-Royces, to vintage Ferraris, to even the very Ford GT40 that raced at Le Mans (which had an exhaust like cannon-fire from hell). It was spectacular. I’m eventually going to run out of superlatives to use for just how amazing the event was and how special the cars were.
While that was going on at Villa d’Este, there were two other public events going on at Villa Erba, on the other side of Villa d’Este. Two of the public events were the Amici & Automobili and the Wheels & Weisswürscht, which are fancy European interpretations of America’s famous Cars & Coffee events. Not only were there cool cars there, both events were packed with fascinating people, all gathered for their love of cars. Most times, these events are even more exciting than the uber-posh Concourse events because they’re more relaxed, less pretentious, and more about the cars than the pomp. The beauty of these two events in particular was that they had a more laid back feel than the Concorso but were still both set on the stunning Lake Como.
The following day, BMW hosted 9,000 people who came to Villa Erba for the public events. All of the historic cars and concepts were moved to Villa Erba for the public to see. There was a kids entertainment area with a crafting workshop and a baby racer course, a sim racing section, an Ian Cook live painting performance, and the BMW Group Isle, which showed off all of the brand’s newest models. MINI had a moment, showing off vintage Minis, there was an RM Sotheby’s display, and then the awards ceremony.
Needless to say, we have a fantastic time in Lake Como and this year’s Concorso—along with every other event—was one that will stick in our memories for a long time to come.
[Some photos in this post are credit to: BMW Classic, and BMW AG, For press and Social Media only, Gudrun Muschalla]