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Villa d’Este

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The world’s  longest-standing  concours  d’élégance

The world’s longest-standing concours d’élégance

The splendid sunshine which greeted the concours d’élégance at Villa d’Este on May 20-22 attracted a crowd of elegantly turned-out ladies and gentlemen who took their time to admire the sublime, impeccably-restored classic cars which lined the alleyways of the famous grand hotel on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como.

<p>It was back in 1929 that the Villa d’Este’s exceptional grounds and gardens first served as backdrop to what has grown into one of the world’s foremost concours d’élégance – or rather concorso d’eleganza !</p>

It was back in 1929 that the Villa d’Este’s exceptional grounds and gardens first served as backdrop to what has grown into one of the world’s foremost concours d’élégance – or rather concorso d’eleganza !

<p>It was back in 1929 that the Villa d’Este’s exceptional grounds and gardens first served as backdrop to what has grown into one of the world’s foremost concours d’élégance – or rather concorso d’eleganza !</p>

Every year, the uncompromising connoisseur jury singles out 50 vehicles and their owners for prizes at the Villa d’Este where a host of stunning Italian treasures (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo) vie with models representing makes like Rolls Royce, Bentley, BMW, Aston Martin and Jaguar to seduce the judges with their aristocratic appeal.

This year, for the very first time, Alpine joined the classic car world’s elite at the Italian fixture with two models: the Alpine Vision, which was presented by its designer Anthony Villain in the concept car class, and a Group 4 A110 1800 owned by German collector Jürgen Clauss competing in the new ‘special stage heroes’ category.

Love at  first  sight

Love at first sight

German national Jürgen Clauss was 25 when he acquired his first berlinette, a car he had admired since his adolescence.

“The A110 is not like a Porsche or a Mercedes,” he says. “What counts for me is what a car inspires. The berlinette is agile, lightweight and powerful. I immediately fell in love with its lines. Despite its diminutive size, the A110 is never out of its depth. It’s a delightful car that everyone adores!”

Now aged 54, Jürgen has restored some 15 Alpines to their former glory, including a number of rare competition cars. A perfectionist, he pays meticulous attention to detail and ensures that the originals are respected in every way by studying photos of the day and contacting former Alpine staff.

“Seeing an A110 at such a prestigious concours d’élégance as Villa d’Este was long overdue,” continues Jürgen. “It is of this level.”

In addition to soaking up the atmosphere of the weekend, he was thrilled to be able to discover the new Alpine Vision. “Alpine has a fantastic history that needs to be brought back to life. I am pleased with the work they have done on this car. Its design is fantastic and it has an unmistakable family likeness with the A110. The road car will need to be something very special to live up to this prototype. Alpine has never followed trends, so they will need to be bold and dare to come up with something unexpected.”