The Poltu Quatu Classic Island Concours Is Making La Vita Dolce Again
Photography by Shayan Bokaie
4AM wake up calls. Ties and blazers. Straw hats. Last minute tire shine. Concours can be a damn stressful, nail biting affair for those putting their cars on the green. Months and months of restoration, preparation, and shipping logistics converge on a rapid climax; judging – which happens in a matter of minutes where a faulty bulb or improper bolt can smear all those tenuous hours and the blood, sweat, and tears. Undoubtedly, this scrutiny of the highest caliber has is its place in the classic car universe, but what if there was another way?
A CONCOURS IS BETTER ON AN ISLAND
Enter the Poltu Quatu Classic. A 3-day concours and driving event on Italy’s most magical island of Sardinia. The name of the game in Sardinia is simple: La Dolce Vita, or the beautiful life in English. As such, it quickly became a luxurious jet set and hub of our favorite bygone eras and has been the stomping grounds for the world’s elite. Tucked away in the Costa Esmeralda, named for its emerald colored water, the island vibes and ocean breeze immediately tell your senses this is not your typical concours.
GOOD PEOPLE, GOOD CARS, GOOD VIBES
Where a traditional concours may yield a number of cars into the triple digits, the Poltu Quatu Classic is kept intimate by design with around twenty five cars, all stationed at the event’s home base at the Grand Hotel Poltu Quatu. The 2019 edition saw cars coming from eminent pillars of the Italian car community such as the 1939 Alfa Romeo 2500 SS Cabriolet Touring from the Righini Collection and the Maserati 3500 Touring Spider from Museo Nicolis, to automotive designer Fabrizio Giugiaro in his hyper SUV, the Kangaroo. In true Italian order, the meals, wine, and conversations are as equally important to the cars considering most attendees travel with their families who lounge poolside in between activities. The whole thing is a big vacation mood.
Daytime drives to local vineyards and small Sardinian villages, in addition to offshore boating (more on this later) make for a multidimensional experience. To be said simply, it’s pure fun. If Pebble Beach is khaki pants and sore feet, the Poltu Quatu Classic is champagne by the pool.
Also in typical Italian order the judging schedule is dictated by the Sardinian sun, which shines a bit differently on that part of Earth might I add, and a strict schedule is not remotely enforced for the better. Our very own Afshin Behnia was also judging, his second year doing so. Where entrants would normally stand at attention by their vehicles like the guards of Buckingham Palace, entrants here share their cars with judges with a towel wrapped around their waist, drying off from a dip in the water. And make no mistake, the laid back atmosphere does not mean the cars are equally lax. The event draws some seriously heavy metal from all across Europe.
The cars are largely curated with the light La Dolce Vita motif meaning cabriolets are well represented. A Citroën DS convertible, Lancia Aurelia Spiders, Siatas, Giulietta Spiders are plentiful, and reminding you exactly why the exist in the first place. On the more eccentric end of the spectrum, the one and only Bertone Nuccio concept car tributing the Lancia Statos Zero (built on a Ferrari F430 underpinnings) presented incredibly well next to the GFG Giugiaro Kangaroo Concept.
KEEPING UP WITH THE GIUGIAROS
Great design obviously runs in this family. Key word here being, family. Both Giorgetto and his son, Fabrizio, legendary designers in their own right, attend together. The coveted Best in Show Award is designed by Fabrizio and delivered by Giorgetto, no small honor by any means. In addition to designing the BMW Nazca, Lamborghini Gallardo, and plenty of others (which you can hear all about on our latest episode of our Petrolicious Talks podcast featuring Fabrizio), he’s also incredibly passionate about offshore boats. For those that could stomach the 100+ knots, he was offering ride alongs with a speed boat champion in a boat he designed. After losing my hat, nearly my phone, and experiencing ‘Jeremy Clarkson in Ariel Atom face’, I had a brief geek out with Fabrizio on the details:
Fabrizio Giugiaro: “The boat, first of all, is made of a chassis that won more than five times the world championship. We designed to make a layout suitable for 6 people that can be really used easily. The goal is to be able to go very, very fast, then anchor and enjoy the sun. With a total of 2,200 horsepower from two 8-cylinder, twin-turbo, 9.2L engines, using a distinct layout to keep the boat narrow which makes a big impact on the waves. You glide.”
As a huge Alfista and caretaker of an Alfa Romeo GT Junior, which Giorgetto designed super early in his career, just being the same room together gave me a big fan girl moment. Both incredibly approachable, it’s really a lovely thing to see such prolific people in the automotive world within arms reach. If you’re lucky you’ll catch a story or two over dinner.
IT’S A FASHION SHOW, REALLY
The final award ceremony really a fashion show, with guests dressed more so for the after party than the closing ceremonies themselves. Hosted by Simone and Savina Confaloni of Gazzetta Motori, class winners collect their award and strut their car one final time. Even cooler, is this is all happening at night against the backdrop of the quiet port and calm Mediterranean Sea. Do you see what I’m getting at here? It’s all done a little different in Italy.
Oh, and in the end the Ferrari 275GTB Alloy of Ugo Beretta took the Best in Show. Deserved.
All in all, it’s quintessentially Italian, and quintessentially cool.
POLTU QUATU CLASSIC 2020
It’s great to see automotive events getting back on their feet in the wake of COVID-19 and the Simone and the Poltu Quatu Classic team are one on the first to do so. They’ve curated another incredibly special list of cars this year including a Lancia Delta Integrale Safari ex-Martini Racing, OSCA MT4 1500 and 1100, both ex-Mille Miglia cars, a 1938 BMW 328 Spider among many more.
For the remaining slots available, Petrolicious Members are able to receive a 25% reduced entry fee (Members, we’ll be in touch regarding this). Full details about the event are available on their site.
Signing off with a bunch of my favorite images from the weekend, hope you enjoy!