Villa d’Este 2022
Volume 47 Issue 13
Jun 25, 2022
Marc Sonnery goes to Villa d'Este where every Ferrari is special. Enjoy this taste of Italy.
After the cancellation of the 2020 edition due to Covid and the delayed 2021 edition in dreary, rainy October, the 2022 edition, sponsored as usual by BMW, returned to its traditional late May slot. May 20-22 and absolutely nobody minded.
As if in meteorological revenge this edition took place in bright sunshine amidst a heat wave encompassing much of Europe, pushing many to ditch their blazers and jackets.
The mood was joyous. For many, it was one of the first, if not the first, event they had taken part in after too long an interruption.
There was a good selection of Ferraris entered in honor of the 75th anniversary: almost all were in the class named. The Cavallino at 75: eight decades of Ferrari represented in eight icons.
The 1953 375 America Berlinetta Pininfarina S/N 0293 AL of Jamie Muldoon is a true wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Its pale blue livery and discrete sober yet handsome design hides a mighty Lampredi V12, four and a half litres of fury.
First shown at the Paris Salon in October 1953, it was the first of the dozen built and it was sold right away to American oilman Howard Keck.
Little is known of its early life. It either stayed with him for decades or stayed under the radar but was eventually bought by well-known Arizona auctioneer Tom Barrett in 1987.
Two years later he sold it to Sweden’s Hans Thulin, one of the first to speculate on cars in a major scale; he once owned a Bugatti Royale.
In 1992, it was auctioned by Brooks (which much later became Bonhams) with less than 10,000 km.
It then passed through Spain before being acquired in 2008 via the Pueche dealership in Madrid by its current custodian, Mexican Jamie Muldoon of Guadalajara.
In 2009 it gained the FIVA award at Quail Lodge before a full restoration in 2009-20 by Bob Smith Coachworks in Gainesville, Texas, ditching its resale red for the current robin’s egg blue with white roof.
In 2011, it received the Gerald Roush Memorial Cup at the Cavallino Classic; Gerald would certainly have approved. It also garnered a platinum award that weekend.
The 1956 250 GT Zagato S/N 0515GT of David Sydorick was back; it is an old faithful of the Lake Como venue and major American concours. It has been covered here many times.
It does not get more iconic than a 1958 335 S, S/N 0764, owned by Austrian Andreas Mohringer. It always makes quite an impression in its unexpected gray livery.
It was also a returnee. Luigi Chinetti had it shipped to his East Coast headquarters. Initially intended for delivery to a mystery lady for equally unknown drivers, the lady declined the car and the U.S. importer ended up selling it in December of 1958 to Alan Connell of Texas.
Connell raced it extensively winning twice at Midland and once at Daytona. After two seasons of hard racing it was shipped back to Chinetti and then all the way to Maranello for service.
More than a year later the car was sent back to the U.S. but its engine was not repaired. Understandably, neither Chinetti or the disgusted Connell wanted it.
At that point it sat in port until the notorious Gordon Tatum smelled a good deal and acquired it by paying the late storage fees. Tatum in one of his convoluted transactions then sold the chassis only to a Charles Dhyse, while keeping the engine.
A 250 GT SWB engine was fitted and the car was sold to racer-author Joel Finn the same year.
In 1972 Brit Robs Lamplough bought the car and three years later was able to buy the original engine which in the meantime had ended up in the hands of Paul Pappalardo.
After an engine rebuild in Italy in 1985 Lamplough took part in the 1990 Mille Miglia in it. He sold it privately in 1993 after it failed to sell in three major auctions.
The buyer was California’s Bill Bauce, who raced it in the Mille Miglia again that year. Later owners included Kentaro Kato in Japan (1995-1998) and Bruce McCaw in Washington state (1998-2013) who competed three times with it in the Monterey Historic races.
Finally in 2013 its current owner, Austrian Andreas Mohringer, acquired it, winning Best of Show at the 2019 Cavallino Classic.
Almost nothing is known of the history of 1964 400 Superamerica Aerodinamica S/N 5139 SA of German Werner Schmidt.
The last of the longer wheelbase Series II, it was sold new to an Italian by the name of Rolando. It stayed under the radar for practically all of its life with one major exception.
It was used in a 1967 Italian film, “The Tiger and the Pussycat”, with leading man Vittorio Gassman and Swedish silver screen siren Ann-Margret.
Strangely enough the film poster actually shows a red 365 GT 2+2 but it is very much S/N 5139 SA painted silver, which is seen extensively in it.
It fits the jet-set lifestyle of busy CEO Gassmann amidst his mid-life crisis who goes to scold the young lady who rejected his son’s attentions only to fall for her; a fling ensues.
A year after its cinematic adventure the car was sold to the USA and into the hands of a reclusive owner who never showed it anywhere. He had it restored in 1995 in California.
It was acquired by Schmidt at a later date and first emerged at the Modena Cavallino event in June 2021; this was only its second public appearance.
Next was the 1966 365P Berlinetta Speciale Tre Posti S/N 8971 owned by RQ Collections, aka Roberto Quiroz, winner of the Best of Show at Cavallino earlier this year.
The very first rear mid-engine road-going Ferrari it is one of two made alongside the Gianni Agnelli car.
This one was shown at the Paris salon in October 1966 and had been in the Chinetti family from new.
It was not really shown until the late 1990s onwards when Luigi Jr. took it to various major U.S. events.
After it failed to sell at a 2014 Gooding auction it was eventually acquired by Mr Quiroz. Is its infamous three seat with center steering configuration the oldest and first? Read on...
Also entered was a 1967 275 GTB/4 S/N 09755 by J. Hui of Hong Kong. This one was delivered new in Perugia, Italy.
Later it went to the USA and received a full restoration in 2019 with a return to its gorgeous original Verde Scuro livery with unexpected but handsome orange leather.
The 1968 206 GT S/N 00204 of Andrew Bagley, most handsome in Oro Chiaro Metallizzato livery, was superbly restored.
This was done by UK specialist Barkaways whose chief Ian Barkaways kindly explained to me at length all the differences between 206 and 246.
Like many having not previously looked into the matter I had always assumed both bodies were identical when in fact they are not. 206’s have wheel spinners, different dimensions all round, a longer side air scoop, external fuel filler, thinner bumpers, etc, etc. The giveaway is the body seam at the top of the windshield.
The gorgeous butter yellow (Giallo Dino) 1971 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder S/N 14389 of Geneva resident Thierry Halff was sold new to Dr. Bernard Falk in California.
It was used extensively in the 1973, Robert Altman film, “The Long Goodbye” starring Elliott Gould. Then in about 2012 it was bought by Mr. Colombo in the same state. He had a workshop on his extensive ranch and had it and his other cars maintained by full time employees.
1993 F40 LM S/N 97893 of Swiss Stefan Näf won the most powerful car award, an unexpected cup idea.
It was sold new in 1993 by Ferrari of San Francisco, had a spell in Japan from 1994 with Art Sport in Osaka.
In 2014 it was back in the US and sold at the Bonhams Quail Lodge auction for 2,2M$. It was later owned by Brit Christopher Wilson before the current ownership.
Never had a car crossed the gravel path so fast at VDE in front of the audience, inches from some attendees who nearly spilled their martinis.
The final Ferrari was the 1986 288 GTO S/N 54813 of British resident Marc Gachoud.
There was an MC12 owned by German Frank Gelf and one remarkable icon of the Bonneville Salt Flats, the incredible Citroën SM Maserati twin turbo record holder of the brilliantly talented Jerry Hathway, who passed away suddenly last September.
It was a most unusual car for Villa d’Este and its dedicated owner, Belgian Thierry Deheack, himself the owner of several important Ferraris, was delighted with the awe the car generated and the judges duly gave it a special mention. At 202 mph on the salt, it is the fastest Citroën of all time.
There were no Ferraris in the new Concept Cars & Prototypes lineup but it was good to see Jim Glickenhaus with his 004CS.
A truly spectacular car which like the McLaren F1 and Gordon Murray’s new supercar the GMA T50 uses the 3-seater central-driver configuration first seen in the 365 P Tre Posti displayed nearby and later in the McLaren F1.
First seen? Not quite! As the always gregarious Jim pointed out the idea first emerged in an obscure American car decades before.
The 1958 Sir Vival (!) created by Walter C. Jerome of Worcester, Massachusetts, was a most bizarre oddity.
It had an articulated chassis, the engine and front end pivoting from the main body in which the “operator” sat front and, yes, center.
It even had a constantly rotating circular windshield that rubbed against squeegees that kept it clean.
All very well in frontal collisions, his main concern, but he forgot about the handling, predictably atrocious and history thus forgot him and his contraption as quick as it could make a U-turn.
Host BMW also celebrated some of their own glories, fair enough, and two of the most Italian and glorious sounding of German supercars, the M1, were shown. Not only were they designed by Giorgeto Giugiaro but initial production was supposed to be at Lamborghini.
Alas the Sant’Agata Bolognese firm was in dire need of cash at the time, so much so that BMW became worried after the first handful of prototypes and pulled the plug on the collaboration so the production cars were assembled elsewhere.
Then came the Procar series in which equal race-prepped M1s were raced on Grand Prix weekends, a brilliant publicity coup.
On display next to a road version was the Procar raced in period by Clay Regazzoni in 1979 and a year later by Carlos Reutemann, both prior Ferrari F1 drivers. While the first Procar champion in 1979 was a certain...Niki Lauda.
The Coppa d’Oro di Villa d’Este, which is the People’s Choice award, was awarded on Saturday. It went to the one-off 1979 Aston Martin Bulldog by Tickford owned by Beverly Hills enthusiastic steward Phillip Sarophim.
He had it totally restored under the supervision of Richard Gauntlet son of Victor Gauntlet who was chairman of Aston Martin in the 1980s.
Suitably bullish in design for its appellation the Gull-winged slab-sided beast dates back to an era when Aston Martin was in trouble and served as a publicity stunt for the Newport Pagnell company.
Since there was no official Villa Erba show this year (all cars traditionally migrate there on the Sunday for public viewing) the Best of Show was awarded on Sunday.
This went to the 1937 Bugatti 57S Cabriolet Vanvooren of Monaco-based Brit Andrew Pisker, a very rakish or should we say “sleeekissimo” design.
Contrary to what most believed, over at Villa Erba there was a secondary show: Wheels & Weisswürscht based on an event taking place in Munich. It was also organised by BMW though there had been virtually no prior communication about it.
This event was not one featuring exceptional cars but more of a show-what-ya-brung low-key happening.
While there were some recent production Ferraris the two notable Prancing Horses were a beautiful Giallo Fly Daytona and, unexpectedly, the one-off Bertone Rainbow show car with its love it or..not, ruler straight lines. The judges did; it actually got Best of Show.
There were a couple of other classic car events in the grand historical lakefront villa near Villa Erba, which yours truly did not have time to attend.
One of these featured totally unrestored major historical F1s on loan from the Turin Mauto (formerly Biscaretti) National Auto Museum.
It seems there is a growing Concorso week trend, perhaps destined to morph into an Italian Monterey which is welcome news and in this case a welcome viral pattern.