MONTEREY BAY, CA. (JUNE 2005) – Concorso Italiano® the celebration of Italian style that opens the traditional Monterey/Pebble Beach Weekend, today announces it has secured a number of extraordinary one-of-a-kind motor vehicles and one of the world’s most celebrated musical instruments to delight the ever-increasing number of owners, guests, VIPs and celebrities expected for this year’s single-day Annual Celebration of Italian Style™ on Friday, August 19, 2005, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Expected to headline this stunning gathering of luxurious Italian cars will be the jaw-dropping Concept-S conceptualized by Design Head, Luc Donckerwolke at Automobili Lamborghini’s cutting-edge Centro Stile design studio. This striking, other-worldly interpretation of the Gallardo drew inspiration from classic single-seat racing cars of the past and was first presented to the world at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. An interesting precursor to the upcoming Gallardo Spyder, this aggressive dual-cockpit design uses the chassis of the Gallardo to fashion a truly extreme, unique car sure to astonish even the most seasoned of car enthusiasts.
“There couldn’t be a better opportunity to introduce this fantastic concept that renews the great Lamborghini tradition of open sports cars,” says Jack Wadsworth, Chairman of Concorso Italiano, “since this year we’re also saluting the 40th anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura, one of the most beautiful and desirable supercars ever built.”
To add to the luster of Concorso Italiano’s 2005 featured marquee display of Alfas, visitors can expect “Bonnie” – the world’s fastest four-cylinder Alfa Romeo, a two-liter Alfa Spider owned by Richard Kreines of Chicago. This incredible little Alfa, prepared and modified by Besic Motorsports, established a new world land speed record of 203.108 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in August 2002. The new goal for this little runner with the big heart is to become the world’s fastest Alfa of any kind by beating the speed of 210 mph set by a V10-powered Alfa Procar driven by former Formula One star Ricardo Patrese.
Another Alfa sure to take centerstage during this year’s festivities is the Nardi-Danese Alfa created by Enrico Nardi and his partner Danese for the 1948-49 Mille Miglia race. Powered by a 6C 2500 Alfa engine, the twin, overhead cam version used by the factory in its sports racing coupes, this particular car was sold to American Perry Fina in 1950 and raced at Palm Beach, Watkins Glen and Bridgehampton. Now owned by Richard DeLuna, the Nardi-Danese Alfa recently underwent a 2,700-hour ground-up restoration.
Milt Brown, creator of the milestone Apollo GT sports cars of the 1960’s, brings his newly created Monza Spyder, an original design inspired by late 1930s Alfa Romeos. The sensuous Monza Spyder, with its elongated fenders, signature vertical grillwork, and BMW power, is the first car built by Brown’s Berkley, California-based Apollo Design, a firm established exclusively to design and engineer one-off custom sports cars.
While Concorso patrons will be surrounded by exquisite coachwork, they will also have a unique opportunity to enjoy music from one of the most storied violins in the world today – the Red Diamond, a Stradivarius created by the master luthier Antonio Stradivari in 1732 in Cremona, Italy. In addition to its strikingly rich, dark red varnish, which instantly sets it apart from comparable instruments; this particular violin enjoys a California connection, a value in the millions and, perhaps, a charmed existence.
Brought out of Italy by the famous violin dealer Tarisio, it was sold to a Paris dealer who, in turn sold it in 1860 to Mr. Herwyn, a professor at the Paris Conservatoire. From there it entered the famous George Haddock Collection in England until it was acquired by George Hart of the violin house of Hart & Sons. Hart played the Stradivarius for many years in his capacity as a soloist and quartet player until he died in 1891. The Red Diamond was then sold to a Scottish nobleman, who retained ownership until Hart & Sons regained possession of it and subsequently resold it to Francis Underhill, an amateur musician in New York.
In 1936 the now renowned violin was sold to art lover and philanthropist Mrs. John W. Garrett, who bought it specifically to loan it to the first violinist of the Musical Art String Quartet, Sascha Jacobsen, who was to retain use of it throughout his lifetime. What happened to the Stradivarius next is just short of a miracle.
At the time, Jacobsen was concertmaster of the LA Philharmonic. In January 1953, Jacobsen, who lived on Balboa Island, was returning home with the violin when a violent storm ravaged the coast. When his car stalled, Jacobsen attempted to wade to safety carrying the violin, but the raging waters swept the Stradivarius from his hands and out to sea. The following day a Los Angeles lawyer was walking along the beach and happened upon what looked like an old, battered violin case. He rescued it and while driving home heard a radio report of the lost Stradivarius.
Luckily, one of the world’s foremost luthiers, Hans Weisshaar, lived in Los Angeles. After more than 700 hours of painstaking work to restore the masterpiece that had been submerged in salt water, and filled with seaweed and sand, the Red Diamond was pronounced “better than ever.” In 1971, it was sold by Sotheby & Co. to its present owner who has graciously agreed to loan it for a short concert at this year’s Concorso Italiano.
“If you equate a Stradivarius with an Italian car it would have to be something on the order of a Ferrari GTO,” says Wadsworth. “Very few were produced, even fewer survive, and over the years each has escalated enormously in value as they are both instruments of exquisite sound and beauty.”
In 2005 Concorso Italiano celebrates its 20th anniversary and will honor Alfa Romeo as its featured marque, with a special display of significant Alfas planned to delight the crowds. The event will salute the 40th anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura, one of the most coveted supercars ever built. Also expected is a special presentation of the new Ferrari Superamerica, Ferrari F430, Maserati Gransport and Maserati Quattroporte models.
For additional information about the 2005 event, to register a vehicle for display or to order advance tickets, visit the web site at www.concorso.com. Advance Spectator Tickets are $85, and Gold Class Advance Tickets are $150 and $50 for children. Spectator tickets may be purchased the day of the event for $100, with children under 12 admitted free of charge.
Founded in 1986, Concorso Italiano is a celebration of Italian style centered on hundreds of Italian exotic automobiles, with annual showcases of one or more legendary Italian marques and designers. The 2005 Concorso Italiano is scheduled for Friday, August 19 at the Black Horse Golf Course at Monterey Bay, Seaside, Calif. The event is presented by Girard-Perregaux in association with Automobili Lamborghini, Pirelli and the Region of Sicily. Supporting sponsors include Meguiar’s and participating sponsors include Premier Financial Services, Riva – Marine Max and Kruse International.
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