Every spring, the finest automobiles ever to grace tarmac gather on the shores of Lake Como for the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. It's a chance for the most beautiful classics to compete for awards and for automakers and design studios to show off their concept cars under the soft light of the Italian sun. But while most of the vehicles old and new that show up for the concours are ones we've seen before, BMW takes things a step further.
On this past long weekend while Americans were celebrating Memorial Day, the very American Ralph Lauren was cleaning up tidily at this year's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in northern Italy on the western shore of Lake Como. It rained the first day on and off and this lowered a little the spirits of the event, but Sunday was a knockout Day Two and, at any rate, nothing put the kibosh on Lauren's 1938 Bugatti winning nearly everything there was to win.
Royalty and the ultra-wealthy rubbed damp shoulders at this past weekend's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este on the shores of Italy's Lake Como, but even the rain couldn't extinguish the excitement generated by the millions of dollars of cars and bikes on display. Nowhere was this more true than with BMW, which marked the occasion with the reveal of two stunning concepts with six wheels between them – the shark-nosed Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe and the retrosexual Concept 90 motorcycle.
The first collaboration between BMW and Pininfarina is this blunt-force two-door called the BMW Pininfarini Gran Lusso Coupe revealed at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. Said to be the "interpretation of a luxurious BMW Coupé as seen through the eyes of Pininfarina," once you get past all of the design-speak, you can focus on the full-bodied and keen-edged missile sitting on 21-inch wheels.
BMW may be the sponsor of this year's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, but it was Alfa Romeo that cleaned up when the awards were handed out over the weekend. Top honors went to a pristine 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS with coachwork by Figoni. The Series XI coupe that could easily be mistaken for a Bugatti of the same era was initially shown at the Paris Auto Salon in 1933 and has gone on to appear at numerous concours around the world. At Villa d'Este, it won not only the Best of Show awards &nd
Goodbye Bangle, hello Zagato. While the BMW design ethos may be best known for the aggressive flame-surfacing language, it took a decidedly different approach at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este this weekend when it unveiled the Zagato Coupé concept.
Design language is a tricky thing. Err too much on one side and nobody will recognize your cars. Fall on the other and all your cars will look the same. Aston Martin, you might say, emerges more on the latter side than the former. Which isn't to say that we don't like how their high-end GTs look, mind you. But if any company is in need of a design shakeup, you could argue that it's Aston.
It could be said that no auto show is as glamorous as the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. Held on the picturesque shores of Lake Como in northern Italy, the annual concours is sponsored by BMW. So it only stands to reason that the Bavarian automaker wouldn't let the show come and go without making a splash on its own.