“Best of Show”: Duesenberg SJ wins the Trofeo BMW Group at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2023



We’re all looking back on the glittering days spent beside the magical shores of Lake Como.


The wonderful grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este created a fantastic stage for the exquisite diversity of historic automobiles contesting this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The exclusive beauty contest for Historic Cars enthralled the numerous visitors and international press world present at the event between 19 and 21 May. They were all rewarded with eight irresistibly appealing award classes – and one glorious overall winner.

A Duesenberg SJ Speedster styled in the coachwork design by Gurney Nutting from 1935 won the contest. On Sunday, the proud owner, William Lyon, was presented with the prestigious winner’s prize Trofeo BMW Group – Best of Show – by Helmut Käs, Head of BMW Group Classic and President of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, and Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange und Söhne. Alongside the dazzling trophy, the winner selected by the Jury also received a unique model of the 1815 Chronograph in white gold. The exquisite watch was created by A. Lange und Söhne exclusively for the winner of the Best of Show.

Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, James Cagney and many other stars drove a Duesenberg during the 1930s as well as Jay Gatsby in the remake of “The Great Gatsby”. The founders of the company Fred und August Düsenberg emigrated to the USA from Westphalia (Germany) in 1880.

Successes in motor sport quickly made their name popular. Duesenberg – now written with ue – self-assuredly positioned itself at the top end of the market with a small series of exclusive models. The crowning glory came in 1932 with the extravagant SJ model. As much as 320 hp was available when the supercharger kicked in and this propelled the huge car to around 220 km / h. The turn of phrase “it’s a Duesy” was coined as a synonym for the quality of the vehicles.

The Public Referendum voted for the Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California from 1961 with its elegant coachwork by Pininfarina/Scaglietti. This makes the Historic Car owned by Jonathan Hui, Keybridge Collection, Hong Kong, this year’s winner of the Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este.

A further highlight was the first-time award of the Trofeo Il Canto del Motore for the most beautiful symphonic sound of an engine.

Jonas Kaufmann, one of the greatest tenors of our time, presented the prize to Christophe Count d’Ansembourg from Belgium as a salute to the impressive sound emanating from his Porsche 917 K from 1970.

This year, the public audience was finally able once again to experience all the joys of the festivities on the shores of Lake Como.

Since the Public Day at Villa d’Este was a sell-out long before the beginning of the festive weekend, the extensive parkland of Villa Erba offered fans and guests an event on the Saturday that is part of the scene in Munich in the form of Wheels & Weisswürscht – or: Amici & Automobili. The members of the numerous BMW Clubs present celebrated automobility in many different dimensions with more than 160 vehicles and 6.000 visitors.

The Sunday was also extraordinarily diverse with the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este Public Day – Il Festival that attracted more than 9,000 visitors.

The attractions on offer ranged from the breath-taking performance by the dancer Yoann Bourgeois and the exhibition marking 100 Years of Le Mans with legendary racing cars from an entire century through to the magnificent parade of all the award classes in the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2023. The Public Day represented a joint celebration of the shared enthusiasm for automobility, sheer driving pleasure and superlative engineering achievements.

This year’s edition of the prestigious beauty contest for classic cars was also defined by numerous celebratory moments. Two award classes were dedicated to impressive anniversaries of automobile culture with “Porsche at 75: Delving into the Stuttgart legend´s iconic and eccentric back catalogue” and “A century of the 24 hours of Le Mans: Heroes of the most famous race in the world”.

We are already looking forward to welcoming you at our rendezvous between 17 and 19 May 2024 on the shores of Lake Como.

Until the time comes round again and we can announce the first details of the next edition, we invite you to reminisce about this year's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este on our Instagram and Facebook  channels.

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