Here's Why You Should Care about The Concorso Italiano
Happening in the beautiful Salinas Valley is the Concorso Italiano, a special event during the Monterey Historics weekend catering solely to cars from Italy. Ranging from the quaint Fiat 500's to the most outlandish and extreme concept cars ever to enter the halls of the Paris and Geneva Motorshows, the Concorso Italiano is really about one thing, design. Sure Italy may have some other notable cultural exports such as cuisine, architecture, fashion and unfathomable amounts of political corruption, but the Italian intepretation of automotive design has no equal. Legendary designers like Bertone, Giugaro, Pininfarina, Ghia, Frua, Gandini, Touring and Zagato are all based in Italy, and in a few years time we will be able to add Horacio Pagani to that list. So even though Concorso Italino may appear to be ridiculous collection of fast cars standing still, it's actually an open air automotive art gallery. It's a place where the very best in automotive design are on display for all to appreciate. This Concorso Italiano is important not only because it features some of the most beautiful Italian models, but because the iconic designs of the 60's and 70's are often referenced by sports car designers of today. They represent important milestones in automotive design that have not only stood the test of time, but have come to serve as a sort of design bible.
Giugario is probably one of the most prolific Italian designers, having penned everything from household appliances to various Volkswagens througout the 80's, modern economy cars as well as some of the most beautiful and iconic sports cars ever made. This year's Concorso will feature his contributions to Lamborghini (celebrating its 50 th anniversary at the Concorso) like the Gallardo, as well as his contributions to Bertone (celebrating its 100th anniversary).
Ghia, the design house behind such famous cars as the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia and L6.4, built special bodies for manufacturers like Fiat, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Jaguar throughout the 50's, 60's and 70's. The designs, especially those of the 50's and 60's, were obsessed with the ideas of high speed travel, space, and could have easily played the lead role in a 1960's dystopian Hollywood science fiction movie. However, Ghia didn't really hit its stride until the DeTomaso projects where the design house combined it's Italian design flair with the American pragmatism of big horsepower V8's and bullet proof transmissions. Thus, the Mangusta and the Pantera were born. The Mangusta still remains one of most overlooked cars of the 70's, which helps keep prices pretty reasonable for such a handsome piece of machinery.
We highlighted of some of our favorite Zagato designed cars earlier this year. One of the cars expected to be at the Conorso Italiano is the lustful Lamborghini 3500 GTZ
When you think of Modern Ferrari's, you can't help but mention the name Sergio Pinninfarina. As the man behind almost every modern Ferrari since the 1950's, his designs have become synonymous with the tight and modern lines that have come to define Ferrari. His passing earlier this year will mark a significant change in Ferrari design in the future.
From the 1952 250 and continuing through to the 275 GTB, 365/ GT4 Daytona, Testarossa, and the outgoing 599 GTB Fiorano, each was a design conceived by Pinninfarina.
The design house also had its hand in designing some of our favorite Ferraris of the last 30 years, the 550 Marnaello/575M, the F40 and James Glickenahus' Ferrari P4/5.
He also penned the amazing Lancia 037 Group B rally car on the side.
Celebrating it's 100th birthday at this year's Concorso Italiano, Bertone is probably the most legendary of all the Italian design houses. It employed some of the greatest indiviudals in Italian automotive design like Mercello Gandini and Giorgetto Giugario, both of whom helped design some of the most beautiful cars ever. Automotive sculpture like the Miura, Lancia Stratos, and Lamborghini Countach were all penned by Gandini while he worked at Bertone. Some of Bertone's more classic designs were spearheaded by Giugario before he went off to work at Ghia. In any event, Bertone's designs will take center stage at this year's Concorso with the highlight being the 2012 Bertone Nucio Concept's stateside debut.