It’s ‘Hollywood on the Lake’

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Classic cars such as this 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A and a setting on the shores of Lake Como are worthy of a Hollywood script | Photos by Dirk de Jager

“Hollywood on the Lake” was the theme for Concorso d’Eleganza 2018, held in a little town at the shores of Italy’s Lake Como. If you say it like that, it does sound like a movie, especially with the 5-star hotel Villa d’Este, part of the Leading Hotels of the World group, being used as a backdrop. 

Just walking around here makes you believe you are part of a movie set. 

This exclusive concours accepts a strict selection of only 51 participants, in part because there is no additional space but also to make sure that those lucky enough to be invited get to see an exclusive and world class event.

With eight classes that each year differ depending on the theme, as well as some special classes, you are guaranteed to be in for a treat. Even so, this year the organizers decided to mix things up a bit and add a Formula One class for cars from the 1950s to the ‘80s. 

An original and unrestored 1954 Fiat 8V Rapi series I in an elegant setting

I know what you are thinking, “those are not really Concours cars,” yet several have their own beauty and their own merit. I would loved to have seen a Lotus 72 there, and to everybody’s big surprise, there was no Ferrari F1 cars present.

The oldest stable in the queen of racing sports was not on the movie set.

For the main theme organizers choose Stars of the Silver Screen. What car is more iconic then 007’s preferred ride? The sole surviving Aston Martin DB5 from Golfdinger, including ejection seat and gadgets. A natural crowd pleaser.

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Surprisingly, that car did not won its class, but was beaten by the dramatic Lancia Stratos Zero concept car by Bertone that made a bit of a strange appearance in the Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, with the entertainer turning into the car to escape from the police. 

In the unrestored class, it was to nobody’s surprise that Italian car collector extraordinaire Corrado Lopresto took another victory with his 1913 SCAT, a he only managed to acquire a year ago after residing for 104 years with the family from the original owner. 

The Best of Show winner: 1958 Ferrari 335 Sport

Yet the big crowd pleaser class was, without question, Class E: Speed Meets Style: The flowering of the sports and racing car, out and out sports cars from the ‘50s and ‘60s that inspire to everybody’s dream garages.  Just a small row of a Jaguar C-Type, next to a Ferrari 750 Monza, Aston DB3S and even a Ferrari 250 GTO! Best in Show came out of this lineup.

Think a Ferrari 250 TestaRossa on steroids and you have the great lines, perfectly restored by Paul Russel & Company, of the 335 Sport. Just one of four cars build and the best part… She is not red!

Since the entire show is privately held on Saturday, on Sunday the party moves about a kilometer down the road to the nearby Villa Erba park where the public day is held so everybody who feels like it can spend a day in the sun oogling some carefully curated classic cars in another Hollywood setting.

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A racer's son, Dirk de Jager is a Belgian-based photographer raised in a family of car enthusiasts. While his passion started out with classic Italian cars, it has expanded to include other nationalities with a preference for cars of the 1930s to 1950s. Dirk can often be found at top classic car events in Europe and the United States, whether on a racetrack, rally or concours field. For the past decade he has photographed numerous rare classic cars either for international magazines, commercial work, auction company's or private collectors. In addition to photography, he tests classic cars and assists collectors in managing their collections and showing cars at leading concours.

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