Best Preserved Vehicle at Villa d’Este: 1961 Alfa Romeo Giuletta SZ Coupe

Two weeks ago, I was the passenger of a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ Coupe Coda Tronca Prototipo by Zagato at the Vernasca Silver Flag 2016 Hill Climb.  Set on the foothills of a small medieval commune 120km northwest of Bologna, Vernasca is home to a 3-day hill climb event held in June every year.

This Alfa is no stranger in the classic car world.  It just won the Best Preserved Vehicle Award at FIVA World Motoring Heritage Year Unesco Patronage at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2016. I had a chat with the owner Corrado Lopresto about his philosophy behind the restoration.

“I decided to work on only half the car, leaving the other half exactly as found, freezing everything in time – dust included.”

Owner, Corrado Lopresto

Drawing inspirations from the world of archaeology and art, he decided to leave half of the car completely untouched while carefully restoring the other.  Celebrating the car’s history took precedence over cosmetic beauty.  Octane Magazine published an excellent article titled “Restoration Renaissance” in their July 2016 issue if you want to find out more about this car.

Jerry Seinfeld made headlines last year when he paid a whopping US$583,000 (Pre-sale estimate was $325k to $375k) for a unrestored 1958 Porsche 356A Speedster at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auction.  It broke all records to achieve the highest-ever auction price for a 356A Speedster.  Sports Car Market Magazine‘s Miles Collier described the sale as, “An abused, neglected car sells for silly money”.

Seinfeld and Lopresto saw the same values others didn’t – real cars driven by real people on real roads.  Concours d’elegance around the world are starting to introduce Preservation Class to reflect an appreciation towards authenticity.  Classic cars are no longer expected to look brand new again.

Now I don’t feel so bad making a small dent on the bumper of my Lancia Flaminia when I accidentally backed it into a column in the garage at Villa d’Este.  That’s a piece of history I contributed to the car, and the column, that belongs exclusively to me.