In a year that sees many, many celebrations of Ferrari’s 70th anniversary, Lamborghini held a celebration of its own. The other great Italian supercar maker may only be 54 years old, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a heritage, with a long line of classics to park on a lawn somewhere and enjoy. The event was called “Lamborghini & Design Concours d’Elegance,” and it was held in the froufrou Swiss berg of Neuchatel, where they speak French, not Italian. But no matter: The language of the supercar is universal.
Fifty cars, from the original 350GTV to modern missiles, lined the square at the Place du Port on Neuchatel’s waterfront, a lovely location for a splendid concours. Attendees could see Lambors-ghini that are rare sights outside of, well, just about anywhere: the 400GT, Islero, Espada, Urraco and Jalpa, all cars that kept the nameplate in business until the Miura and all-conquering Countach set the stage for what became the modern Lamborghini.
Officially, the show was dedicated to Swiss architect Charles-Eduard Jeanneret-Gris, aka Le Corbusier. Part of the honoring was to route the Tour du Charme et Design, the rally that took place the day before, to La Maison Blanche, the house Jeanneret-Gris built for his parents in nearby La Chaux-de-Fonds. In addition to his work on things non-mobile, Jeanneret-Gris is a lifelong car enthusiast who even designed his own car: Voiture Minimum, a concept that was displayed at Neuchatel during the concours.
Seeing Miuras, Countaches, and LM 002s parading through the cobblestoned Swiss streets would have been enough. But this being a concours, there was judging and there were winners. Best in Show went to the Miura SV of Japanese collector Ezio Tomita, a fitting honor for a beautiful car. But just as Spinal Tap’s amp went to 11, there was an award one higher than Best of Show: Best of the Best, and that went to the wild 1967 Lamborghini concept car the Marzal. The spacious, openish but glass-enclosed Marzal was penned by the then-younger Marcello Gandini in 1967 and shown at Geneva that year. It was also introduced to car-guy Prince Ranier and Princess Grace at the Grand Prix of Monaco. Not a bad way to launch a concept. Even the CEO agrees:
“This concours is a combination of passion and culture, reflecting a Lamborghini that looks ahead to the future, yet combining the desire to be innovative with an appreciation of its legendary past,” said Stefano Domenicali, chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, who went on to plug the current model lineup. “The results of this approach are plain to see in our most recent successes with the Aventador and Huracán models. In 2018, the Super SUV Urus will be added to the range, turning the great intuition of the LM 002 into reality, the car that ‘invented’ the concept of today’s high-performance SUVs.”
The rarely seen Marzal concept car was penned in The Space Age by Marcello Gandini
The whole show was organized by Lamborghini Polo Storico, the division of the carmaker that does restoration and certification of classic Lamborghinis. Polo Storico handles cars that are out of production for at least 10 years (from the Lamborghini 350 GT to the Diablo), in addition to preserving archives and records and handling the supply of original spare parts for classic cars. To them, we say, “grazie mille!”