Ferrari was one of the multiple winners but there were many other unique cars to appreciate.
The 2023 edition of the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este was another one for the books, showcasing a diverse range of exotic cars in the equally extravagant setting on the shores of Lake Como at the Grand Hotel Villa d'Este. The show that has close ties to BMW already brought us jaw-dropping reveals like the BMW Concept Touring Coupe that builds upon the BMW Z4, and now we can take a look at all the winners that stole the show at this year's event.
Many historic cars were on display at the event and the diversity of the vehicles necessitated the need to divide them into distinct categories. These are the well-deserved winners of each category, with the year of production noted in each instance.
The most prestigious award is the Trofeo BMW Group, Best of Show trophy, and it went to the exquisite 1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster with coachwork design by Gurney Nutting, owned by William Lyon. Duesenberg found success in the 1930s with a small number of highly exclusive cars, and the SJ arrived in 1932. Spurred on by a supercharger, the 6.9-liter V8 engine made up to 320 horsepower and it could reach 140 mph, quite a feat for its size and the period.
When the Great Depression hit, commercial success was out of Duesenberg's reach, and this became the last of 36 SJs to be built by Gurney Nutting, where it received a Boattail Speedster body.
This exemplary example won over an international jury of experts, and Helmut Kas, Head of BMW Group Classic, presented the trophy to the winner. This car also scooped the Class C award known as Incredible India: The dazzling Motoring Indulgences of the mighty Maharajas, where it edged a Rolls-Royce Sports Phantom prototype.
Winning the Coppa d'Oro Villa d'Este Best of Show award by Public Referendum was this Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California from 1961, with Pininfarina/Scaglietti responsible for its beautiful coachwork.
The 250 GT is already one of the most sought-after cars in the world, with a convertible version selling for a staggering $18 million earlier this year. This year's winner, finished in blue, is in remarkable condition, and it's owned by Jonathan Hui from the Keybridge Collection, Hong Kong. One of only 55 to be built, it's had two restorations in its lifetime.
This same car also won the Class H category for Here comes the Sun: 'Topless' done differently!
This award, the Concorso d'Eleganza Design award also by Public Referendum, is set aside for concept cars and prototypes. Walking away with the spoils in this category was a 2022 Pagani Huayra Codalunga Coupe Longtail.
Last year, Pagani revealed the Codalunga, a breathtaking hypercar valued at over $7 million and limited to a mere five units. At the time, Pagani said that 1960s aviation and motorsport design inspired the dramatic exterior, and it's no less dramatic under the skin. The Codalunga has a mid-mounted 6.0-liter V12 making 840 horsepower.
Defined as a convertible sedan from 1933, this imposing Chrysler was deemed the Class A winner in The Fast and the Formal: Pre-war high-speed luxury category. Its owner is from the United States. Just 50 of these cars were produced, and it comes with a 6.3-liter eight-cylinder engine.
LeBaron in Detroit designed the extremely long body, and this one is considered to be the best-documented and restored Chrysler Imperial CL that still exists. In this same category, a Mention of Honor went to a Lagonda V12 Rapide drophead coupe from 1938.
This coupe emerged victorious in the Class B category for Grand Vitesse: Pre-war Weekend Racers. Produced in 1938, Delahaye was a French automaker that made a limited number of luxury cars with coachbuilt bodies until it went out of business in 1954. This example features a 4.5-liter 12-cylinder engine, and it proved a worthy partner to the race-bred chassis. The original engine was removed from this car before being tracked down and reinstated in the car by its current owner in the USA.
This Class D winner came out on top in the category described as Porsche at 75: Delving into the Stuttgart Legend's iconic and eccentric Back Catalog. We recently covered the remarkable story of this blue Porsche 901 - also known as "Quick Blue" - and its ownership by Alois Ruf Jr., son of Alois Ruf Senior, the founder of RUF.
The 901 was the name given to the 911 before Peugeot complained that "901" too closely resembled the names of its own models. A frame-up restoration from 2020 to 2022 brought this car back to its original condition - a car used by none other than Ferdinand Piech, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, for testing.
This Class E category - Granturismo: Experimenting with the post-war European GT - was won by a Ferrari 330 GTC Speciale coupe from 1967, with a body by Pininfarina, which explains why it has unique headlamps and a different roof contour.
Only four examples of this 330 GTC were produced after the original 330 GTC arrived from 1966. Powered by a big V12, this example comes with full documentation and has been carefully restored.
Ferrari was edged out in the Class F category - That 'made in Italy' Look: Styles which conquered new Worlds - by a very special Maserati Berlinetta from 1956.
Zagato was responsible for the gorgeous bodywork, but this car was no poser. The sports-racer A6GCS variant lent certain chassis components, its steering, and engine to this model, which was said to be good enough to rival Ferrari in endurance trials and hill climb events. This was the last one to be delivered by Zagato, and it underwent a detailed restoration in 2014.
Class G celebrates some of the great racing heroes, with this one aptly called A Century of the 24 Hours of Le Mans: Heroes of the most famous Race in the World. A Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta owned by David MacNeil in the USA scooped the big prize, this being the 24th of 36 examples of the 250 GTO to be built and the most expensive Ferrari on the planet.
Finished in Silver Metallic, it's enlivened by blue, white, and red stripes, and this car attained fourth place in the 24 Hour Race of Le Mans in 1963. Fast-forward to 2023, and the car remains in the same configuration that it was when it entered the race.
This magnificent Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith is the winner of the Trofeo BMW Group Classic for the most sensitive restoration by the Jury.
The car is finished in striking Carnation Red and was manufactured in 1949 before delivery to His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore. His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales were both transported in this Silver Wraith on separate occasions, and it comes with some outrageous extras and regalia like solid silver cutlery, water flasks, and even a secret jewel case. The car boasts over 17kg of solid silver.
Not to be confused with the King of Rock & Roll in any way, this quintessentially English two-seater open tourer won the Trofeo Automobile Club Como prize for the car driven from farthest away. It must've turned plenty of heads along the way with its extravagant bodywork completed by Offord & Sons, a coachbuilder established in London in 1791. This six-cylinder beauty underwent a restoration in 2001 and has a fully retractable soft top. Its stand-out features include an independent front suspension and servo-assisted brakes.
A few special prizes were also handed out, and these are a select few that stood out to us.
Award:Trofeo BMW Group Ragazzi by the Young People's Referendum
Winner: Ferrari 288 GTO from 1985 (pictured below)
Award: Trofeo dei Presidenti by President of Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este/Chairman of Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance/Chairman of Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
Winner: Ford GT40 Coupe from 1968
Award: Trofeo il Canto del Motore
Winner: Porsche 917 K Coupe from 1970
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