The Swiss Know How To Throw A Concours
Photography by Gaëtan Brunetti
Only in its second year since being revived in 2016, the Concours d’Elegance Suisse is already drawing crowds to its display of classics on the lawns of Coppet Castle.
This almost brand-new event on Swiss territory has a lot on offer that make it a concours worth adding to the list of all the established stops in the show circuit. Located not far from Lac Léman Lake (Lake Geneva), the castle setting offers a sumptuous place for the attendees to park their cars for a while, and of course for all the attendees to ogle them! The well-maintained garden on the grounds fits well with the surrounding landscape and the luxurious atmosphere, though it was hard to pry eyes away from the cars on this particular weekend.
It’s been a while now that I’ve wanted to attend an event like this, as every single year, the concours at Villa d’Este falls in the same period as my exams. So, for my first time at this type of “elegant car show” to put it bluntly, that Saturday at Coppet was really full of the kind of awesome stuff I’d hoped to find at a place like this.
As was to be expected, many different categories and types of machines were represented here, and over 100 were part of the show, not even counting the cool gems hiding in the parking lot. The Helvetian car enthusiasts certainly have some very nice pieces to share, so it’s great news for them (and those who like to look at their cars) that there is now a concours close by. For its second edition, the event was very well laid out and organized, not common for larger events like these still in their early years. Many activities were proposed to the journalists, including a one hour of test drive on the Rolls-Royce range: what an experience!
For sure, this event had its share of rarities. All oldtimers and youngtimers have a history, something to tell us about cars from the past and their time period of creation more broadly. Just for example, this Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 GT Cabriolet from 1935 is a piece of history: this Italian car with “Polizia” plates was a car of Benito Mussolini’s rule, which makes this car completely unique, and which is also why it has not been restored. A real window into a certain part of the last century.
Deeper in the show area, an individual had brought his collection dedicated to the German firm AMG to celebrate their 50 years of the tuning company that would become the high performance division of Mercedes-Benz.
Walking around the grounds of the Coppet a bit more, one could see a wonderful Lamborghini 350 GT. This piece of art is for sure the rarest and most beautiful Lamborghini I’ve ever seen, Miuras just aren’t this special in certain ways. This car is full of crisp details and anecdotes abound around it. First of all, the 350 GT was produced in 120 examples, which makes it an already very rare car, let alone however many are left now. And furthermore, this particular 1964 Lambo is the sixth car produced by the brand in Sant’Agata, Bolognese, painted in a very rare light blue color for a 350 GT, which adds exclusivity to an already largely peerless machine.
And to finish, this GT is a 2+1 coupé car. No typo. What does it mean? What you think it does: two seats in the front and only one seat in the middle of the back. You will say that this is completely obsolete and that this seat is not usable, and, you will be right! It’s a very special idea because only six coupé 2+1s were produced before Lamborghini understood that this idea was useless, and then on top of that rarity factor, this example is the only claimed survivor of the original six. And apart from the paint that has been redone, this car is completely original. So, I really think that this car is a priceless Italian beauty, and surely one of the rarest Lamborghinis and Italian GTs ever made!
Though maybe more ideal for sunbathing by the lake than squinting against the glare of the sun against brightly-shined chrome, the sun was out in force on Saturday. Nice buffets set up for this event were taken by storm, especially the waters, to get some brief respite from the heat.
The sculpted bodywork was bathed in sunlight and the rays while harsh, lent a number of interesting reflections and new perspectives to the well-known machines. Every car was frankly superb, and the task of the judges had to have been a tough one; how do you choose something so subjective? In all, 18 classes were created from the full entry list, including two specials this year to commemorate 50 years of AMG and the 90th anniversary of the Mille Miglia (that class was won by a 1954 Ferrari 735 Mondial Scaglietti). Another interesting one, the “Jukebox” prize, awarded to European convertibles from 1945 to 1960, was taken home by a flawless 1956 Porsche 356 Speedster. And yes, the Lamborghini 350 GT won it’s segment as well!