Amidst the recent lifting of Covid restrictions in Switzerland, we are finally getting back a bit of livelihood as spring begins to emerge among the Swiss mountains. And while our fellow watchmaking friends are certainly looking forward to the upcoming events in Geneva, the car community took a headstart on the 26th of February with The International Concours of Elegance (I.C.E.) St. Moritz. Following a two year hiatus for obvious reasons, the event returned to celebrate the appreciation towards some of the most classical automobiles of yesteryears.
Unlike other Concours d’Elegance, the seasonality and scenery of this event are rather different, and perhaps making it a more playful one since its venue is situated on the frozen lake inside the famous resort town of St. Moritz. The lake, being a valuable gift from nature, is maintained and monitored by a dedicated organisation, Infra AG. They carry out stress tests prior to this event season to ensure the supporting strength of the surface, and constantly monitor the ice thickness, making it the perfect venue for cars, polo, cricket, and even horse racing. For this year, the approximately 45cm thick ice was more than sufficient to support the event’s structures, cars and attendees in safety.
Motoring enthusiasts surely know how to enjoy their ride, just as how some would send their car halfway around the world just to put some miles on the famous Nordschleife, an icy ring on a frozen lake does not seem to hold the participants back from parading their prized possessions in front of an appreciative audience. Over the lovely Saturday morning, no less than 45 cars, mostly vintage, were separated into five classes and competed against each other, not for speed, but the care and love devoted to maintaining an important piece of automobile history.
Most of these cars are usually hidden away from public roads for their rarity, hence reasonably attracted some crowds of enthusiasts, even the general public, to join in and perhaps photograph these fine examples of vintage race cars reliving their old times. There were quite a few vintage Ferraris on the scene, with honourable mentions such as the 250 GTE 2+2 Polizia, 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione, and the legendary 246 F1. A Fiat Abarth OT 2000 Periscopio was also there to celebrate the iconic period of Italian designs. Some other really special cars that participated were the Mercedes‑Benz 300 SLS ‘Porter Special’, the Meyer Manx Dune Buggy that once belonged to Steve McQueen, the first generation Porsche 356 (pre-A) Speedster, together revving away and showing the amazing creativity and beautiful aesthetics associated with the classic cars.
Given how all the competing automobiles were illustrious in their own way, the jury was truly spoilt for choice; after two rounds of half exhibition half competition, these were the Queens of the year.
|Jet Set on Ice
||1965 Ferrari 275 GTB
||One of the just 4 long nose alloy bodies 275 GTBs
|Stars on Wheels
||1968 Lamborghini Miura
||The star of the Italian Job’s opening scene
|Vintage Road Racing
||1967 Morris Mini Cooper S ex Works
||Winner at several top Rallies
|Barchettas on the Lake
||1953 Jaguar C Type
||Owned by the same family since 1970s
|Vintage Grand Prix
||1939 Maserati 4CL
||Designed by Ernesto Maserati
It was great to see the organisers, sponsors and enthusiasts celebrating the return of the St. Moritz concours, keen to share the passion of these historic cars and their motoring achievements from the past. It was legendary Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Honorary Chairman of the Jury, who collated the snowy scenery to automobile design sketch on a piece of white paper, this unusual sub-zero setting surely bringing a unique setting and joy to all; after all, who would say no to a Jaguar XJSS drifting at speed through a snowy corner?