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(Official Release) The Concorso d ‘Eleganza Villa d ‘Este drew visitors to Lake Como for the first time 80 years ago. For ten years now, BMW has organised the Concorso jointly with the Grand Hotel Villa d ‘Este luxury hotel. The longstanding tradition of this automotive beauty contest continues this year when, from 24 to 26 April 2009, a select range of classic cars will converge on the shores of Lake Como and be submitted to a vote by the public and a jury. At this anniversary Concorso, the BMW Group will itself be celebrating a rather special birthday: it was 80 years ago that BMW produced its very first automobile. “The past 80 years have shown the high status that BMW accords to design and style. The same applies to the Concorso d ‘Eleganza Villa d ‘Este. And that is not least of all why are a perfect fit, ” says Karl Baumer, Director of BMW Group Classic and Chairman of the Concorso. Jean-Marc Droulers, President of Villa d ‘Este S.p.A., is of the same accord: “The success story of this event in recent years not only shows how well we work together but also reflects our sheer enjoyment in hosting such an extraordinary occasion. “

80 years of the blue-and-white logo

When BMW looks back on its 80-year tradition of car manufacturing at this year ‘s Concorso, visitors can expect to set eyes on some stunning beauties on wheels. Among the models on show will be a BMW 303, the first Bavarian car to sport the kidney-shaped radiator grille, and an example of the BMW 502, which entered the motoring history books as the so-called “baroque angel “. Models dating back to the 1960s, such as the BMW 2002, and the cars that established the BMW model series in the 1970s will also rank among the exhibits. As a special highlight, BMW will be presenting all its legendary roadsters of the last 75 years: from the 315/1 and 319/1 to the 328 and 507, all the way to the Z1, Z3 and Z8 – plus the latest addition to the family, the new BMW Z4.

Once again, more than 50 classic beauties spanning six decades of motoring history have been selected to appear at the Concorso d ‘Eleganza. Urs Paul Ramseier, as the Selecting Adviser responsible for the line-up of cars participating in the Concorso d ‘Eleganza Villa d ‘Este, provided a few tasters from this choice field of entrants in Geneva.

Bugatti Atlantic 57SC, 1938

The car from the Bugatti fold that claimed the highest production run and the greatest economic success was the T 57. This model was the only Bugatti to go into series production before the war. One of the most spectacular designs to be based on the T 57 was the Atlantic, of which just three units were produced. Its crouched stance, the vertical, riveted ribs that ran horizontally along the bodywork and its teardrop-shaped side windows gave this model a unique appearance that raised it to one of the icons of motoring history. With the Bugatti Atlantic 57SC, the Concorso presents one of the true legends of the automotive past. The design hails from Jean Bugatti, the son of Ettore Bugatti. Gracing the Concorso will be the last of the three units built. The original owner kept the car until 1967. After changing hands several times, the Atlantic was bought in 1988 by Ralph Lauren, who commissioned Paul Russel with its complete restoration. The car will be making its first European appearance in 18 years at the Concorso d ‘Eleganza Villa d ‘Este 2009.

Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B, Berlinetta, 1938

The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B was unveiled in 1935 as the successor to the 8C 2300, in its time one of the world ‘s fastest automobiles. A total of just six examples of this closed car – known as the Berlinetta – were manufactured. The model ranks as one of the most elegant vehicles to emerge before the Second World War. In September 1947, the example being shown at the Concorso emigrated from Italy via Switzerland to the USA. After being sold to a buyer in South Africa in 1980, the car – now with red paintwork – was restored in England and repainted in its original blue. In 2005 Jon Shirley acquired the Alfa Romeo and had it restored to its original condition. For the Concorso d ‘Eleganza Villa d ‘Este 2009, the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B will be parked on Italian soil again for the first time since 1947.

Momo Mirage, 2 + 2 Coupé, 1972
Peter S. Kalikow visited the New York Auto Show in 1957 and became an instant fan of European cars. This passion led him to Alfred Momo of the New York Jaguar Garage, and a close friendship was to ensue. With Momo he drove to Italy, where he met all the key personalities of the car world, including Enzo Ferrari, Sergio Pininfarina, the Orsis and the Maserati family. Kalikow sought Momo ‘s opinion before deciding whether to order a new Aston Martin DBS in 1967. What emerged was the happy idea of designing a sports car of their own. Against the advice of his family, Kalikow decided to build a four-seater GT for the American market to fill the gap between the spirited Ferrari and the luxurious and comfortable Rolls-Royce. In Pietro Frua he quickly found a designer and coachbuilder. The original plan to turn out 25 vehicles a year fell victim to high production costs and an ailing economic environment. And so just five cars were built, three of which remained in Peter S. Kalikow ‘s ownership.

BMW 2800 Spicup, Coupé, 1969

This concept car was first unveiled before the public at the Geneva Motor Show 40 years ago. Combining beauty with excitement – that phrase might well sum up the idea behind this concept: an open car that could be turned into a coupé. And that also explains its name, a contraction of Spider and Coupe. The front end was designed in textbook Bertone style while accommodating the hallmark BMW kidney grille. The car ‘s form also harked back to the timeless beauty of Albrecht Goertz ‘ BMW 507. A BMW 2500 curtailed from 269 cm to 234 cm in length served as the chassis, while the engine came from the BMW 2800. The BMW 2800 Spicup was discovered in Holland last year and underwent total restoration. 40 years after its premiere, Roland d ‘Ieteren brings the car to the Concorso d ‘Eleganza Villa d ‘Este 2009 to appear before the public for the first time following its restoration

Concorso d ‘Eleganza Villa d ‘Este 2009

Over the weekend of 24 – 26 April 2009, the glorious grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa d ‘Este and Villa Erba in Cernobbio on Lake Como will once again be transformed into a unique backdrop for the most beautiful cars from past eras and the boldest concept cars of the present. First staged in 1929 at the same location, the Concorso d ‘Eleganza Villa d ‘Este now ranks as the world ‘s most tradition-rich event of its kind.

Following the first part of the event for invited guests on Saturday, Sunday sees the Concorso open up to the public in the neighbouring grounds of Villa Erba, allowing all car fans another opportunity to experience these four-wheeled dreams close up. In addition to the automobiles already presented on the previous day, numerous other high-calibre classics will be on display in special shows. Admission to Villa Erba in Cernobbio on Lake Como is 12.50 euros and 8 euros (concessions).