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2013 Villa d’Este

by • June 4, 2013 • UncategorizedComments (0)5867

The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2013 was held the weekend of the 24th-26th of May at the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este and neighboring Villa Erba on Lake Como in Cernobbio, Italy. A crowd of more than 6,000 spectators traveled to the shores of Lake Como for this exquisite and tradition-steeped display of historical automobiles.

First held in 1929, the Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance has been held every May since 1999 on the grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este a 16th century mansion and now one of the world’s top luxury hotels and the adjacent parkland of Villa Erba. Set against the incomparable backdrop of Northern Italy’s Lake Como, the 2013 edition of the Villa d’Este Concorso brought together 50 cars and 35 motorcycles from widely varying eras in automotive history.

The Trofeo BMW Group, awarded “Best of Show” by the judges at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2013 went to the 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, while the historic Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este – Best of Show by Public Referendum at Villa d’Este was also awarded to the Bugatti owned by Ralph Lauren. The elegant 57SC Atlantic Coupe, a former winner of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance, known as the ‘Atlantic’, the Bugatti Type 57SC on display is one of four examples of this automobile built between 1937 and 1938 at the legendary factory in the Alsace. The ‘masterpiece’ of Jean Bugatti, son of company founder Ettore Bugatti, the winning Atlantic is chassis number four in the production run.

The Jean Bugatti design is based on a concept car introduced at the 1935 Paris Motor Show. Dubbed the Aérolithe, the car was fashioned from a magnesium alloy called Elektron. The substance couldn’t be welded, Bugatti said, so he incorporated raised seams into the design, riveting them to tie together the car’s body panels. Although Bugatti used weldable aluminum for the four Aérolithe-based Atlantic coupes he built, he retained the exposed seams and rivets as a styling element.

Jean Bugatti’s legendary career as one of the most important automobile designers was cut short soon after this car was built. When he was only 30 years old, he crashed his Type 57 test car into a tree while trying to avoid a drunken bicyclist.

“I acquired the car in 1988, and it has always been a favorite of mine,” Mr. Lauren said before receiving the award. “It has won many honors over the years, and I am proud to show it here.”

The only other surviving example currently resides in the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California.

Mr. Lauren’s Bugatti was one of 50 exceptionally rare and valuable cars entered in this year’s concours. This year’s field included the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance winner, a gray-and-burgundy 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo owned by Paul Andrews of Texas. Among the other entries this year were examples from Hispano-Suiza, Rolls-Royce, Isotta Fraschini, Talbot-Lago, Aston Martin, Ferrari and BMW.

“The competition entrants and the special exhibitions at this year’s event have taken it to a quite extraordinary level,” commented Dr. Ralf Rodepeter, Director of the BMW Museum and member of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2013 Selecting Committee. “We’re therefore delighted that more than 6,000 visitors came along to experience the event on the Sunday alone.”

Classes at the 2013 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este included Prancing Horse vs. Trident (Ferrari and Maserati), California Dreamin’, Racing Improves the Breed, an Aston Martin class in honor of their 100th anniversary and a Lamborghini class to celebrate the 50th birthday of the marque, among others.

Photo Credit Pavel Novitski

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