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.

Nothing put the kibosh on Lauren's 1938 Bugatti winning nearly everything there was to win.

Here's the hardware the clothing magnate's $40-million-value Bugatti 57SC Atlantic hauled in: Trofeo BMW Group (this is a BMW Group-sponsored event since 1999) for best in show according to the Jury; Coppa d'Oro Villa d'Este for best in show according to the invited public and press; Trofeo BMW Group Italia for best in show according to the open public on Day Two; Trofeo BMW Group Ragazzi for best in show according to the younguns; best-in-class winner of Class B a.k.a. "Purosangue"; Trofeo Auto & Design special prize for most exciting design according to the Jury.

So, hats off to Mr. Lauren's sultry black French win-mobile. There are nine classes overall and besides the mondo Bugatti in Class B, the other eight were: a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S torpedo roadster (Class A "Gentlefolk of the Road"); 1964 Ferrari 500 Superfast berlinetta (Class C "Time of Change"); 1962 Aston Martin DB4 SS saloon (Class D "Aston Martin" for the company centenary); 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB berlinetta (Class E "Cavallino contro Tridente" for Ferrari vs. Maserati); 1956 Jaguar XKSS spider (Class F "California Dreaming"); 1964 Ferrari 250 LM berlinetta (Class G "Style and Speed"); 1965 Lamborghini 350 GTS spider (Class H "Lamborghini" for the company 50th anniversary); 1965 Ferrari Dino 166P/206P spider (Class I "Racing Improves the Breed").

This was the third year of the concorso where motorcycles were also praised and awarded. Of the 35 real two-wheeled jewels and rarities shown, the big winner for best-in-show was the 1948 Russian-built 350cc two-cylinder IMZ M-35K, built in a small series at the company's factory in Gorki.

Who says snooty auction weekends aren't exciting?

The last significant category for awards at this concorso is that for concept cars and prototypes. In this case, of the seven entrants it was the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante by Touring that took the general public's best in show trophy on Day Two. Wrapped around a chassis and powertrain from the Alfa 8C Competizione, the Disco Volante successfully reinterprets the "disco volante" (or flying saucer) prototypes from past decades.

For the first time, RM Auctions hosted the sales of forty classic cars at the event, with the major headline being the $14 million-plus paid for the 1953 Ferrari 340/375 MM berlinetta Competizione designed by Pininfarina. On a sadder note, on Day Two one of the auction lot cars - a 1929 Bentley 6½-litre Sedanca de Ville by Mulliner suddenly went up in flames in the engine bay, while being started for repositioning for display purposes. It had not met its reserve price the previous evening, so it becomes an insurance issue between RM and the car's current owner. Who says snooty auction weekends aren't exciting?

Hit the play button below, for a short overview of this year's festivities, as well as another look at the concepts BMW brought along for the show.

Share This Photo X