Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Prototipo (1957) - This lovely car won the Trofeo BMW Group prize for best in show, and it also picked up the Trofeo BMW Group Italia award by topping a public vote. It's the prototype from a project between Bertone and Alfa Romeo that led to the Giulietta Sprint Speciale in 1959, and features a lightweight alloy body designed by Franco Scaglione, Bertone's chief stylist. One thing it doesn't feature is the Alfa Romeo 'scudetto' grill - it wasn't streamlined enough for Scaglione's tastes
Rolls-Royce Sweptail (2017) - This one-off bespoke commission, based on the underpinnings of a Phantom VII Coupé, was unveiled at Villa d'Este. It marked a return to Rolls-Royce's 'coachbuild' roots...
Rolls-Royce Phantom I (1926) - ...an example of which could be found in the main concours. This Phantom I, known as the 'Phantom of Love', was commissioned by Clarence Gasque, the finance director of the Woolworth Group, for his wife Maude. The passenger compartment was apparently styled on a chair displayed in the V&A Museum. At the time, it was the most expensive Rolls-Royce ever sold - much like Sweptail in 2017, then.
The Concorso d'Eleganze Villa d'Este gathered some of the world's most exclusive cars on the shores of Lake Como
The event was held over two days, and featured concours for both cars and bikes. A limited number of modern cars were also on display from event sponsor BMW and Rolls-Royce
The 52 cars in the main Concorso d'Eleganza were split into eight classes, with a broad theme of 'Around the World in 80 Days'
Ballot 3/8 LC (1920) - Perhaps a surprise this car was on display in Italy, since it's a slight source of national embarrassment: driven by Jules Goux, this French car beat all the local entrants to win the first Italian Grand Prix in Montichiari on 4 September 1921. Worse, another Ballot, driven by Jean Chassangne, finished second. Notably, this Ballot also raced in the 1920 and 1922 Indianapolis 500s, finishing seventh and third.
Lagonda Rapide (1962) - Effectively a saloon version of the Aston Martin DB4, this car sparked a brief revival of the Lagonda marque in the 1960s. This model was one of only eight left-hand-drive versions produced, and was displayed at the New York Auto Show in 1962.
BMW M8 prototype - not far from Villa d'Este, Villa Erba hosted several displays and a historic car auction. An auditorium there was also used by event sponsor BMW, which displayed a number of notable machines, including this M8 Prototype.
Techrules Ren (2017) - With a nod to the future, Villa d'Este featured two concept cars, including this unusual Chinese creation. Unveiled at this year's Geneva motor show, the Techrules Ren is a 1287bhp electric supercar with a diesel-fuelled turbine-recharging system.
Shelby Cobra 427 (1966) - This is one of 32 Cobra 427s produced to feature a 'narrow hip' design, which helped make the 7.0-litre-engined car a little more controllable. Most of those 32 were subsequently adjusted further, so this chassis - number CSX 3131 - is one of just ten surviving '427 Narrow Hip' cars. Should the owner wish to sell (he doesn't), that would make it quite expensive...
Shelby Cobra 427 (1966) - ...but that wasn't always the case. Showcasing just how immaculate this car is, the owner still has much of the original documentation. That includes the original 1966 sales invoice. The first purchaser of this car paid $6400 for it in 1966.
Renault Trezor (2016) - First shown at the Paris motor show last year, the Trezor is Renault's vision of a high-performance electric two-seater. The massive one-piece raising door attracted plenty of attention
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR (1973) - Porsche recently completed the millionth 911, but only 55 were this racing-spec Carrera RSR. This particular example was delivered to Switzerland, and was modified several times during a successful racing career. It was restored to original specification - with original engine - in 2005.
OSCA MT4 (1952) - The Maserati brothers sold their car firm in 1937, but continued to work for it for ten years. In 1947 they founded Officini Speciallizzate Costruzione Automobil (OSCA). The MT4 was a key early model - 79 were built, with spider and coupé bodies supplied from a number of different firms. The amazing body on this example, which took a class win in the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans, was created by Alfredo Vignale.
Maserati 300S (1958) - It's only one of the most successful sports cars in motorsport history. And, in our view, still one of the best looking. This 300S, complete with a longer front section for aerodynamic reasons, bore the chassis numbers 3080 and 3083. It was mostly raced by Stirling Moss.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (1955) - There's something inherently cool about gull-wing doors, and surely no car has ever worn them as well as the 300 SL. This example was bought by a Swiss manufacturer named Dr Kurt Schneider, who specified a special silver-grey paint finish and turquoise leather interior (with matching hubcabs, obviously). Yes, Dr Schneider was a touch flamboyant. Apparently, he travelled around with his pet cheetah. No word if the cheetah was ever-allowed in the 300SL, though.
Maserati A6G/2000 Gran Sport (1956) - You might look at the battered and weathered bodywork of this car and think the current owner might want to take better care of it. But it's supposed to look like that - honest. This was one of 59 cars owned by French entrepreneur Roger Baillon that were found in a series of garages. Most were severely dilapidated, but this A6G/2000 had been stashed in a weatherproof garage. It was sold at auction in 2015, and buyer Jonathan Segal decided to refurbish everything but the bodywork.
Lurani Nibbio (1935) - With various engines fitted, this tiny car broke a series of world records between 1935 and 1947, including becoming the first car powered by a 0.5-litre engine to go above 100mph. Now with a 1-cylinder 250cc 43cc engine, this car was a hit with the public - it won the Coppa d'Oro Villa D'Este (a vote for the most popular car).
Lancia Dilambda (1932) - Just look at that beautiful steering wheel which, let's face it, is probably worth more than most cars on the road today by itself...
Lancia 12 HP Tipo 51 Alfa (1908) - First presented at the Turin Motor Show in 1908, the 12 HP featured an inline four-cylinder engine. 108 cars were completed in this original specification, and only three are thought to survive. Two of them are owned by Lancia, making this the only one in private hands.
Lamborghini Miura P 400 (1968) - This Miura was bought by Adrian Doyle (the son of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) in May 1968, in 'Rosso Speciale' paint with unusual green rally stripes. It also featured black leather upholstery (most Miura were sold with vinyl covers). The car went unused after Doyle died in 1970 until recently being restored. Villa D'Esta was its first public showing
Intermeccanica Imp 700 GT (1961) - This tiny sports car is based on the Steyr-Puch 500 D (which was, in turn, effectively an Austrian Fiat 500), with this Imp version fitted with a 50hp 643cc engine that could reach 93mph. It proved so fast in races that, after Carlo Abarth was frequently beaten, he persuaded Fiat to stop supplying Steyr-Puch with chassis after just 21 were made.
Dual-Ghia L 6.4 (1962) - Just 117 of this US-Italian co-production were built (it was made in Turin with Chrysler engine and chassis), and it became a favourite among film stars of the time. This example was owned by Dean Martin, who was responsible for the addition of a revolver holster under the driver's seat.
Ghia L 6.4 (1962) - Dean Martin didn't just own this particular Dual-Ghia: he ensured it got screen time in one of his films. He drove it in 1964 Billy Wilder comedy 'Kiss Me, Stupid'
Fiat 1100 (1946) - This one-off special has been shown at Villa D'Este before: it was first displayed at the event in 1947. Seventy years later, it still looks pretty good. The car was produced by Pietro Frua, who was commissioned by Luigi Critterio to make an open-top sports car based on a Fiat 1100 chassis
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Spyder (1972) and 365 GTB/4 Competizione (1970) - One immaculate Ferrari 365 not enough for you? Villa d'Este had two on display. The one in the foreground is the 'Targa' version and is resplendent in North American Racing Team (NART) colours. Behind it is another NART example, which finished ninth in the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California Prototipo (1957) - The idea behind the 250 GT Spyder California came from the firm's US importer Luigi Chinetti, who wanted an open-top sports car for amateur racers. This is the prototype version, which was delivered to George Arents, a gentleman racer who helped fund Chinetti's NART team
Dusenberg J Convertible Berline (1930) - Long-defunct marques still have a place at Villa d'Este. One of the cars on show was a stunning example from American firm Dusenberg, which was founded in Minnesota in 1913 and folded in 1937. This example is owned by Ion Tiriac, a former tennis professional (and Boris Becker's ex-manager) and reportedly Romania's richest man
BMW 8 Series (2017) - Event sponsor BMW used the event to unveil the returning 8 Series, its new luxury offering that it rather hopes will appeal to the sort of people who can afford to hang around luxurious villas on the shores of Lake Como...
BMW 8 Series (2017) - ...and, it has to be said, the 8 Series certainly didn't look out of place parked on the shores of the lake, as Riva boats bobbed past in the background.
BMW Bespoke Collection (2017) - Another sign of the event sponsor was this discreet display of BMW's Bespoke Collection offerings. Strangely, the green 3 Series on the end actually looks quite appealing in the right light...
Bentley Mk VI Cresta (1948) and Mk VI (1947) - The Cresta (left) was a joint production between Battista Pinin Farina and Jean Daninos, the head of Facel-Metallon, based on a Bentley Mk VI chassis. Seventeen were thought to be have been made, although the number is uncertain. Parked next to it at Villa d'Este was a Mk VI of wholly British provenance - albeit one produced as a one-off special for Pratap Singh Rao Gaekwad, the Maharaja of the state of Baroda in British India, and the second-richest man in the world at the time
Astra Coupe (1952) - No relation to a Vauxhall Astra Coupé, obviously. This Astra is an aluminium-bodied American car built on a spaceframe chassis. The front of the car was so flat the radiator of the Oldsmobile V8 that powers it had to be placed in the back. This supremely American car is now owned by an Austrian
Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record (1960) - The aerodynamic bodywork of this machine, produced in association with Pininfarina and honed in a wind tunnel, makes it fairly obvious it was produced for straight-line speed. This car, powered by a 982cc 105hp inline-4 engine, set a string of speed records, including driving more than 10,000km at an average speed of 118.916mph
The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is the historical motoring festival equivalent of your favourite band’s greatest hits album.
With just 52 cars in the main concours and only a handful of other machines on display, Villa d’Este can’t rival the Goodwood Festival of Speed for sheer scale. But the Italian event, held annually since 1929, isn’t about quantity, but quality.
For starters, there’s the location: the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como. Opened in 1873, the resort is all historic buildings, stunning grounds and beautiful scenery. That’s why the area is a popular destination for wealthy folk and celebrities. George Clooney apparently lives nearby (he wasn't spotted at Villa d'Este, although MC Hammer was...).
But even at a reported cost of £10 million, the Sweptail was likely far from the most valuable car at the event – because of the ultra-exclusive line-up in the historic concours.
Each of the 52 cars was an extremely rare machine, and all were immaculately maintained to the highest standards. But these were the absolute best of the best: each car had an incredible history of its own.
To get a taster of the event, check out our gallery of pictures at the top of the page, where you can read more about some of the cars that were displayed.