Maserati on top at Villa d’Este. A spectacular Maserati 450S made history at Ville d’Este from 23-25 May, becoming the first competition car to win the glamorous concours. The 1956 racer upstaged a stunning group of coach built designs to take the top honours for owner Albert Spiess. One of just nine built by the illustrious Trident marque, chassis 4502 was bought new by American Tony Parravano in 1957 but didn’t race for two years after he vanished to Mexico.
The 450S impressed the judges, especially marque guru Adolfo Orsi and Lord March, but the public vote passed over the 400bhp racer and instead chose Corrado Lopres- to’s 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C-1750 Aprile Spider for the Coppa d’Oro. The sleek Alfa started life with Zagato coachwork but, after a major accident, it was rebodied in the late 1930s (some claim postwar) with a streamlined shape by Count Revelli de Beaumont.
One of the fastestvintage sports cars, the 16-cylinder V4 Sport, featured in the Maserati centenary group. Built originally as a Grand Prix chassis, the 150mph sensation was rebodied as a Zagato Spider.
After spending years hidden away in England, it was restored in Italy for Lawrence Auriana.
This year’s event had a Great Catsby theme, with the Baz Luhrmann film being given an open-air screening at Villa Firba on Friday evening. While Sir Anthony Bamford’s fabulous class-winning 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II ‘Boat tail’ evoked the spirit of the novel, it was Alexander Schaufler who most impressed the jury with the sartorial style to match his regal 1922 Hispano-Suiza H6B.
Reclusive Japanese collector Shiro Kosaka is not often seen at events, but his 1969 Fiat Abarth 2000 Scorpione created a stir. Making a rare outing from his private collection, the sleek wedge stunned spectators as his crew demonstrated the lift-up canopy and pillarless wraparound windscreen. The Pininfarina design was on its first visit to Europe since 1977.
Another important Pininfarina concept car returning to Italy was the 1956 Alfa Romeo 6C 3000CM Superflow IV, its ‘cuttlefish’ body style eventually evolving into the production Duetto.
It takes a special version of a familiar car to get an entry at this historic concours, which this year featured two one-offs based on ’60s designs: the Bertone-bodied Ferrari 250GT SWB penned by a 21-year-old Giorgetto Giugiaro; and a Mercedes 230SL reworked by Tom Tjaarda for Pininfarina in 1964.
Spiess’ glorious 450S took a deserved victory in the marque’s centenary year.
The distinctive Alfa Superflow IV concept.
Scorpione was last seen In Europe In 1977.
Maserati V4 Sport is the last In existence.
Hispano-Suiza H6B was a crowd favourite.
250GT TdF came from Oestriero Collection.