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Friday, 3 February 2017
Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2017
BMW Group Classic and the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este are presenting the world’s most exclusive and traditional beauty contest for historic automobiles and motorcycles on the shores of Lake Como from 26th to 28th May 2017 +++ The motto of this year’s event is “Around the World in 80 Days – Voyage through an Era of Records” +++ An auction by RM Sotheby’s will once again be held in the grounds of Villa Erba.
At the end of the 19th century, Jules Verne was already dreaming about travelling right round the earth. And he imagined doing so in what seemed at that time to be an incredibly short period of time – 80 days. According to his famous novel, a lot of people set off on this journey by land, by sea and by air. And a few actually achieved their dream on four wheels. Five particularly impressive tales provide an appropriate backdrop for this year’s motto.
The world’s first automobile race
As early as 1908, 18 bold men staged the first automobile race around the world. In 1908, six teams of three started out on the biggest adventure of their time from Times Square in New York. One Italian, one German, one American and three French automobiles lined up at the start. Today, hardly anybody knows their model names: Züst, Protos, Thomas Flyer, De Dion, Sizaire-Naudin and Motobloc. Their epic journey took them from New York to San Francisco and Seattle, and on to Alaska. After a journey by sea, they travelled via Vladivostok, Moscow and Berlin to Paris. Since there were virtually no roads, the adventurers drove some of the way along the tracks of the Trans-Siberian Railway. And because there were virtually no petrol stations, they carried up to 600 litres of fuel on board.
After 166 days, the German team with driver Hans Koeppen was the first car to arrive in Paris. Their heavy roadster from automotive factory Protos located in Berlin-Reinickendorf weighed 2.5 tons, with 30 hp and 4.5 litres displacement. They were four days ahead of the Americans and almost two months ahead of the Züst from Italy. But they failed to win the race despite this achievement. They received a retrospective 15 day penalty because they travelled 150 kilometres of the journey in North America by train owing to a defect.
Fräulein Stinnes’ feeling for mud
Cleonore Stinnes – the first woman to drive around the world in an Adler Standard 6 in 1927 – was confronted with even greater deprivations. She went on a journey that lasted 25 months and took her through icy mountain regions, hot deserts and along seemingly endless stretches of muddy trails. The young lady of 26 years frequently had to extract the Adler from the mud using her own muscle power. On her trip through 23 countries, the daughter of industrialist Hugo Stinnes had to overcome bandits, wolves and storms. “Fräulein Stinnes must be made of steel,” remarked her last remaining co-driver, her cameraman and subsequent husband Carl-Axel Söderström. In the Andes, they both came near to death when they lost their way in an impassable part of Peru and had to get along without any water or food. However, everything came good in the end – after 46,758 kilometres, the intrepid pair drove into Berlin on 24th June 1929.
Heidi Hetzer – round the world at the age of 80
Since 2014, former rally driver and Berlin business woman Heidi Hetzer has been following in the tracks of Cleonore Stinnes. Her motto is: “Whatever the world costs – I will take half”. She sold her automobile business and started out at the venerable age of 76 years on the greatest adventure of her life, in the company of a Hudson Great Eight Coach (eight cylinders, 60 hp). She has since turned 79 years and named the car “Hudo” (because the previous owner was called Udo) and this automobile is older than she is: It was built in 1930. She also had a tough-guy on board as a co-driver, protector and mechanic – after all, you never know what’s going to happen. But he soon threw in the towel as the co-driver for the redoubtable lady from Berlin. And several of his replacements also failed to stay the course. But Heidi did not allow herself to be distracted, she solved every technical and bureaucratic problem and is continuing her journey round the world, even after treatment for cancer. She has now passed through 33 countries, travelling across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, South America, Africa and Canada, and is now on the return journey to her home country. She wants to get back in Berlin in April, shortly before her 80th birthday. That will undoubtedly be celebrated a under the motto “Round the World at 80”.
On tour round the world for the past 17 years
The Zapp family is on quite a different type of world trip. The married couple and their Graham-Paige (year of manufacture 1928) have been travelling since the year 2000. Herman and Candelaria Zapp started out together from their homeland in Argentina for Alaska, planning to complete the journey over a period of six months. But those six months have meanwhile turned into 17 years. And they are still on the move. Two Zapps have now become six. Their four children (16, 11, 9, 7) all came into the world on the journey, each of them in a different country. As a matter of interest, Herman Zapp was given the automobile by his grandfather, with the condition never to drive at more than 40 miles an hour (67 km/h). The globetrotters have kept to this promise until today. It is therefore going to take a while before the sextet has driven the 89-year-old veteran car through all the countries on their list.
The centenarian which returned home and...
Even older than the Graham-Paige family car is the vehicle which pensioners Dirk and Trudy Regter have been driving round the world since 2012. Their Model T Ford – the world’s first production-line automobile – rolled off the first assembly line in the world 97 years before they started their world tour. On their first trip, the couple drove more than 22,000 kilometres from Holland to Cape Town. In 2013, the elderly Ford motored another 28,000 kilometres through its home country in North America.
In 2014, they covered a further 26,000 kilometres in South America. Everything went swimmingly on even the most adventurous roads. Then shortly before its 100th birthday, the Model T ran into trouble. When they were on a diversion to their home country, an SUV caused a lot of damage to the veteran car. But the two Dutch drivers refused to give up and they were soon back on the road. The next targets are New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and India. The long journey round the world will come to an end with a journey from the mountain tops right down to sea level – from the roof of the world in the Himalayas back to the flatlands of Holland.
Did you know...
...how the car auction operates at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este?
Every two years, there is an additional highlight on the shores of Lake Como: a collector car auction! This year, we’re thrilled to welcome back our official auction partner, RM Sotheby’s, who will present the exclusive sale on the grounds of Villa Erba in Cernobbio on the 27th May.
The boutique evening sale will feature a curated selection of approximately 40 blue-chip motor cars. In keeping with the theme of the Concorso, these entries will represent the ultimate in elegance, sophistication, rarity and provenance.
A limited number of consignment opportunities are currently available for the sale, with the catalogue set to close mid-April. You also have an opportunity to be present at the auction – as a consignor, a bidder, or simply as a spectator.
For those keen to participate in and/or attend this exciting event, here are a few key details:
The auction vehicles will be available for preview in the park of Villa Erba from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on 26th May. Entry is free of charge on this day.
Anybody who wants to attend the auction on the Saturday as a visitor must first purchase an auction catalogue for 100 euros, which acts as an entry ticket for two people. Please note that seating during the auction is reserved for registered bidders only.
RM Sotheby’s has set up a dedicated page for the event on itswebsite (http://www.rmsothebys.com/ve17/villa-erba), where you can find key details along with a frequently updated list of entries for the sale. A digital copy of the official auction catalogue will be posted online in the lead up to the event.
If you’re unable to attend the sale in person, the auction will stream live on RM Sotheby’s website on 27th May, providing real-time coverage of the event.
Advance bidder registration will be available on RM Sotheby’s website from March. Bidders will be required to pay a registration fee of 120 euros for onsite bidding. Alternatively, RM offers several remote bidding options on a complimentary basis, including telephone, absentee, and Internet bidding. A bank letter or a credit card authorization of 5,000 euros is also required to complete your registration.
For successful bidders, there are some additional charges that will be applicable on top of the hammer price, including a buyer’s premium and associated taxes and fees. The administration team at RM Sotheby’s will be pleased to explain these charges, which will also be outlined in the catalogue.