With a backdrop of a glistening and still Lake Como, we discussed the event and what we
could expect. Unsurprisingly, Simon tipped the winner for the Best of Show award, which went to a stunning 1937 Alfa
Romeo 8C 2900B. “If any car crosses the boundary of transport and sculpture, that is it,” he said. No stranger to
the classic car circuit, it won Best of Show at last year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Proud property of the
esteemed collector David Sydorick, it’s a stunning feat of engineering and design and can be considered the McLaren
F1 of its day, hitting speeds up to 120 mph in almost silence.
Come Friday evening, our attention turned to Lange, who welcomed us in to the Cardinal
Suite for dinner to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Lange 1 timepiece. With an introduction by its CEO Wilhelm
Schmid, who's an avid collector and enthusiast, he explained the importance of German watchmaking and what Lange's
future holds.Lange has been a main partner of the event since 2012, and when I down with him
on Sunday morning, I asked him if he were to take into consideration the Lange 1's movements and design, what would
it be if it were a a car? He replied it would be a hybrid or sorts, an amalgamation of the profound design details
of a Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing, that's powered by a reliable 1970s Porsche engine. It was hard to disagree with.
(Stay tuned for more on that.)
Saturday, though, was Judgement Day, and scattered across the immaculately groomed
grounds of Villa d’Este, 50 of the world’s most valuable, beautiful and sought after cars, many of which were one of
ones, parked up and crowds gathered. The panel of judges, in their navy blazers and top secret clipboards, went
around and met with the owners and as did we. It wasn’t until after lunch, though, that the rain poured right as the
procession outside the front of the hotel started. And God did it pour, but Kidston, in his drenched bespoke suit,
held it together and kept sprits high.
Although it didn’t win its class, there was one car that had everyone excited and for
good reason. It was the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder SWB, which was once owned by Alain Delon. For years,
people forgot that it even existed, including Ferrari historians, and it resided in a garage in France covered by
car magazines. It’s now owned by one of Kidston’s clients, and fetched for $18 million at auction in Paris a few
years ago. “Of the 70 cars at auction, that was the last one and it was worth as much as the other 69 put together.
In fact, about double what there rest of the cars were worth put together,” Kidston told me, which should give some
indication of its prestige. It has been restored back to its original condition by Paul Russel, who restores all of
Lauren’s cars, including his1938 Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic Coupé which won
Best of Show in 2013.
On Saturday evening, I was with Lange and travelled to the other side of the lake to
Villa Lario. Perched at the top of a sharp faced cliff, it felt as if it should be in a Bond film. With Negronis in
hand, we were given a further introduction to the inner workings of the Lange range before heading down a lift to
the water's edge before whizzing around the Lake in a Riva speedboat and dropping in on the Clooneys. Only
A concours is by no means an exclusive, invite-only gathering, as on Sunday it was open
to the masses. Taking place at Villa Erba, all of the cars gathered for the public presentation led by Kidston, who
delivered it all in Italian with the same short anecdotes behind each and every car in front of a jam-packed
grandstand of motoring enthusiasts. It was at this point where we awarded Mrs Emma Beanfield and her husband Richard
the prize for Best Dressed Couple with their Delahaye 135M, in a delectable baby blue. Emma must have been one of
the most photographed people for the whole weekend, no doubt due to her glamorous appearance and period accurate
dress. Stay tuned for more on her.
Later that evening, we gathered back at Villa d’Este for the black tie gala dinner and it
was at this point that the winners of the seven classes presented themselves for a final time by Kidston (this time
in English). After the procession they parked themselves outside of the front of the hotel with rears facing the
lake and we gathered inside for a gastronomical feast. After dessert, we all left our tables and gathered outside
for the presentation of the award. Delivered by Wilhelm Schmid, it was a tense few moments and following an
exaggerated and deafening drumroll, David Sydorick and his wife Ginny were announced as the winners of Best of Show.
It was emotional for them and their team of restorers, as the pursuit of winning a competition of such magnitude is
the direct result of years of hard work, dedication and passion.
A perfect end to an unforgettable weekend, it was clear that everyone was now in
possession of a truly special memory, one that came to a dramatic climax with a 10-minute display of fireworks set
off from a floating pontoon in the middle of the lake. With lifted spirits care of innumerable glasses of Champagne,
we danced into the night before setting off home the following morning with a sore but privileged head.