For the first time in its history the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este dedicated a full day to recognize and honour historically significant motorcycles. There were 30 motorcycles on offer broken up into 5 categories; Pioneers before 1917, Design and Engineering 1920-1939, Glamour, Racing and Records, Design Icon in Series.
As the main sponsor of the event, BMW Classic was very proudly displaying their 1934 R7 concept bike. While not participating in the competition directly, it did receive a lot of well deserced attention and accolades.
15 out of 30 motorcycles, or 3 from each class, were selected by the judges as finalists and displayed in line in front of the famous Villa d’Este. The jubilant MC, with the help of the jury of judges, gave a brief blurb of the historical significance of the 15 finalists before announcing the winners.
It was four judges in the end that worked together to decide the winner of each category. A nice touch during the awards ceremony was that each judge was allowed to explain his reasons for choosing the class winner.
The Winners, by category:
“Pioneer prior to 1917″ and “Best of Show”. Winner: Pierce 4, 1910. Four-cylinder, 4-hp engine and top speed of 97 km/hr. The judges gave this bike the nod based on its condition and conservation. Everything, including the tires is completely original – 101 years later!
“Design and Engineering 1920-1939″. Winner: MGC, 1932 – Aluminum chassis was used for the first time on this motorcycle which also incorporated the fuel tank.
“Glamour”. Winner: Brough Superior Four Sidecar, 1932 – a refined side car, it used an Austin 800cc engine to drive the rear wheels and had a seven-speed gearbox. It was considered a classy example with liquid cooling, electric ignition and a central differential.
“Race and Records”. Winner: Moto Guzzi 350 Bialbero, 1957 – this single-cylinder bike will always be famous for having won five consecutive world championships as well as setting one of the “highest top speeds during a race at Hochenheim of 182 km/h. This bike weighed only 100 kilograms and managed to outperform its rivals despite having as much as 10-15 less horsepower.” - C. Pirelli
“Series and Icons”. Winner: Aermacchi Chimera 250, 1956 – It had unusual fairing designed by automobile stylist Revelli. Ahead of its time in terms of styling with an early 60s aesthetic, the Chimera didn’t fair well in public opinion and was a sales flop.
As mentioned above the Pierce 4 also took “Best of Show” honours. After the awards ceremony, we gathered round the bike as the owner, who proudly states that he had just ridden it two days prior and that everything is in working order, proves it by “lighting” the acetylene fueled front lamp with a match. He added that he doesn’t use the bike at night so as not to waste the 101 year old gas. Genial!
For a complete list of participating motorcycles visit twowheelsblog.com
For more pics, including the very special Britten, please check out the gallery below.