The Concorso Italiano Was More Like An Art Gallery Than A Car Show
Photography by Andrew Golseth
The British build some brilliant racing cars and roadsters; nobody marries pragmatism and prettiness like the Germans; the Japanese know how to make ’em fun and affordable; and the Americans make unrivaled macho muscle; but nobody builds cars with the same soul as the Italians. They just know how to make a beautiful machine. They’ve also made some mean V12s.
Sure, Ferrari and Lamborghini are the obvious marques that comes to mind when someone says, “Italian sportscar,” but Enzo and Ferruccio’s creations are far from the only noteworthy hallmarks from within the Lo Stivale’s borders. Let’s not forget all the wonderful Lancia, Maserati, Fiat, De Tomaso, Pagani, Abarth, Autobianchi, and of course Alfa Romeo—one of Italy’s oldest and most beloved manufacturers. If that’s not enough of a portfolio, keep in mind that shortlist doesn’t include all the coachbuilders from Bertone, Pininfarina, Touring, and Zagato, just to name a few. All this makes for one hell of a group, and thankfully a large sampling showed up to this year’s Concorso Italiano.
I woke up early on Saturday morning and, fittingly, rode shotgun in a Dino 246 GT to the Black Horse Golf Course in Monterey. It was eerily foggy on the drive over, and after staring through the haze at the back end of a black Testarossa for 20 minutes, we were finally parked… alongside a half dozen other Dinos! On the hill just above our spot was a group of more Maranello masterpieces that counted among its ranks a 250 Lusso, a 288 GTO, and a Fly Yellow 348 Targa.
Speaking colors, while red never does a Ferrari wrong, the 275 GTB short-nose I spotted as I began my walk made a strong argument for black horses. After making my rounds through the Ferrari section, I set off toward the Lamborghinis, but not before a pair of one-offs I didn’t recognize stopped me in my tracks. It turns on these two cars, the Kode 57 and Kode 0, were built on a Ferrari 599 and Lamborghini Aventador chassis, respectively. They are both visions of Ken Okuyama, the Japanese designer who used to work at Pininfarina and oversaw the Ferrari Enzo, among other automotive projects like the P4/5. While I’m—shockingly—more of a classic car lover, these two unique designs held my attention. While they look like something out of a sci-fi film, they also manage to look believable, as in they look like real cars rather than disproportionate vaporware.
But where was I? Ah, yes. Lamborghini. Brash, bombastic, and brutal, Lamborghini has always been the Italian carmaker with the most attitude, and although many critique the marque for getting into bed with VAG, I don’t think they’ve lost touch with who they really are at heart. I’ve always been partial to Ferrari, but I couldn’t help but smile when looking at all the Raging Bulls. Whether it was the cocaine-spec Countach, or the sinister Centenario, I was grinning the same way I did the first time I saw a Miura. There’s just something about the unrestrained looks of a Lamborghini, and while their early, more fluidly designed works such as the 350/400GT and Miura are undoubtably more elegant, I think the later angular language really differentiates the brand from the rest of world’s supercars.
Horses and bulls are great and all, but it was the Alfa Romeo selection that was the highlight of the event for me. I’ve never seen so many Tipo 105/115 in one place before, and the selection covered the entire range of the Bertone Coupe’s production. From the early polished mesh grille stepnose, various Junior models, GT Veloces, 1750s, and a late 2000 GTV, there were dozens of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s coupes lining the greenery. There were even a couple authentic GTA and Zagato-bodied examples as well.
The lawn was predominantly organized by marque, but the front section of the event was sort of a melting pot collection. There was a the box-flared Lancia Delta Integrale, a few Fulvias, various Abarths, a mess of Maseratis, almost too many De Tomaso Panteras, and just two Mangustas. The orange example of which claimed best of show, and rightfully so. I think it might be my new favorite car in orange, sorry F1 LM!