|The oldest and arguably the most important event for connoisseurs of four-wheeled rarities is the Concorso d'Eleganza at Villa D'Este by Lake Como in Italy. The occasion looks back on a tradition spanning more than seven decades since a group of motoring enthusiasts gathered in the exclusive surroundings of Villa d'Este in 1929 to select the world's most beautiful motor cars for the "Coppa d'Oro Villa d'Este" award. Villa d'Este is now a five star deluxe hotel but interestingly has a Central Southern link given that it was once the home of Caroline, Princess of Wales, spurned wife of the future King George IV who built Brighton Pavilion.
Your section reporters Simon Buck and Andrew Honour were the guests of BMW on the public day at the adjacent and equally magnificent setting of Villa Erba. BMW are now the principle sponsors of the event and hence the prominence given to Rolls-Royce including an exhibition stand featuring a 40/50 (Silver Ghost) and a new Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe. Ian Cameron, the designer of the latter, was on hand and chatted to us briefly regarding its creation and evolution. Also present was a contingent from the Italian and Swiss Sections of the RREC who displayed a number of their motor cars in an exclusive area reserved for our Club cars although, sadly, the limitations of a weekend break meant that we were not able to take our own proper motor cars.
The 2007 Concorso presented more than fifty cars from all over the world, including several magnificent examples of the Rolls-Royce and Bentley marques. Arguably the most notable RR on display was a Frua bodied Phantom VI of which only two were made. The car is sensational and bears more than a passing resemblance to Lady Penelope's Rolls-Royce in the original (and best) Thunderbirds Are Go TV puppet series! An added attraction at the Concorso is the inclusion of some of the newest concept cars from the world's leading manufacturers, in some cases making world premiere appearances and all competing for design awards.
Another link to our local area was that one of the judges was Charles, Lord March, owner of the Goodwood House estate and with whom we shared a table for lunch. Our fellow table companions also included the chief designer for Nissan and a young car designer who was also a member of the Pininfarina family.
The event was undoubtedly a classic car spectacular and this year blessed with hot, sunny weather. The setting adjacent to beautiful Lake Como is quite spectacular. I only hope they invite us back again next year!
Simon Buck - Section Committee Member