Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2024, All You Need to Know

This weekend, The Rake will be in Como for the world's most prestigious classic car meeting. Here's what you need to know...

Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2024, All You Need to Know

The Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este is the undisputed crown jewel among historic automobile pageants — a weekend-long homage to the passion and artistry that have sculpted wheeled icons through the ages. From May 24th-26th, this prestigious event returns to its aristocratic Cernobbio, Italy stomping grounds, poised once again to elevate breathtaking automotive beauty to haute couture levels of sophistication.

Organised by the custodians of BMW Group Classic and the luxury Villa d'Este hotel itself, the Concorso traces its noble roots back to 1929, when it debuted as the "Coppa d'Oro Villa d'Este." Even at that first fête, over 80 entries of the highest pedigree graced the gardens, putting it on par with the prestigious concours of Paris and Monte Carlo from the very start. The setting alone — the sublime Villa d'Este overlooking Lake Como's shimmering waters — was a masterpiece practically demanding such beauty be displayed within its confines.

Through the 1930s, the Concorso innovated in engaging the passionate public, introducing elements like the Gran Premio Referendum that allowed spectators to vote on special awards. It was an era that elevated iconic Italian carrozzerie to modern maestros, as their rakish, avant-garde automotive designs became masterworks of kinetic sculpture.

After wartime's interruption, the rechristened "Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este" roared back in 1947, its revival symbolic of the automotive world's rebirth. Yet even then, the tension between expert judging panels and enthusiast sentiments were palpable — the former often favouring conservative restraint, the latter pushing the boundaries into aerodynamic expressions of the future. The 1949 swan song proved prophetic, as Touring's Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS "Villa d'Este" coupe became the people's champion, its fame destined to reverberate for generations.

Decades later, as prospects dimmed for the Concorso's continuation, the venerable BMW Group resuscitated the tradition beginning in 1999, recognising it as an invaluable tribute to the automotive arts. Under their nurturing patronage, the modern Concorso has blossomed into the undisputed leader in exclusive historic automobile expositions.

For 2024, the finely curated classes showcase the event's deft calibration of heritage and innovation. "The Best Car In The World" For 120 Years celebrates Rolls-Royce's milestone anniversary, gathering exceptional examples from the iconic British luxury brand. "The Need for Speed: Supercar Stars of the Video Generation" pays tribute to the virtually-adored supercars that ignited dreams in the digital age. The "Best of Italian Grace and Pace: Maserati at 110" honors the legendary automaker's 110th birthday with a display of its most graceful and potent models. And "Time Capsules: Cars That The Outside World Forgot" rediscovers those rare, unique automobiles that have been hidden away from public eye for decades, finally bringing long-lost gems out of the shadows. From vaunted classics to glimpses of the future, the field presents a sumptuous buffet catered exquisitely for the most discerning connoisseurs.

While Saturdays remain an intimate experience reserved for participants and VIPs amidst Villa d'Este's rarefied airs, Sunday bestows the public a longstanding tradition — feting over 50 of the world's finest pre-1980s classics and a garden of futuristic concept cars midst Villa Erba's botanical splendour. The Concorso is a full-sensory experience steeped in an aura of old-world elegance and meticulous attention. From the curatorial expertise of the judging panel headed by President Lorenzo Ramaciotti, to the BMW Group's "Best of Show" accolade enshrining supreme beauty and provenance, to the convivial "Amici & Automobili" atmosphere of enthusiastic celebration, the Concorso transports all who attend to an elevated plane.