Simon Kidston, The Voice of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2017
The grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este, the iconic Hotel on Lake Como, offer guests and visitors the opportunity to admire about 50 Historic Cars built between the 1920’s and 1980’s, organised by different categories.
From Friday, 26th May to Sunday, 28th May 2017, the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este and Villa Erba will be the exclusive and unique settings of this traditional event, where guests are privileged to admire the finest historic vehicles and motorcycles of their eras.
Simon Kidston knows classic cars like few others, and when he talks about these ‘rolling treasures,’ automotive history comes to life. He not only has all the facts and history on even the rarest models at his fingertips, he also keeps guests riveted by an exceptionally entertaining delivery.
We are, talking about British commentator Simon Kidston, The Voice of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Visitors to this beauty contest on the shores of Lake Como love his combination of anecdotes, outstanding entertainment and British humor, and the same scenario will be replayed once more over the last weekend of May this year.
Anybody who has been to the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in the past will recognise him: Simon Kidston has been sharing the secrets of every automobile classic with visitors since 2000.
He knows their history and their many, sometimes wry and amusing back-stories, bringing their hidden past to life. And all spoken effortlessly and energetically in English and Italian.
The eyes of the visitors might be focused on the wonderful works of automotive art, but the entertaining commentary by the eloquent British MC completes the picture. Whether under the famous awning at Villa d’Este or in the grandstand in the gardens of Villa Erba, spectators are transported to bygone times.
Simon Kidston might paint a spellbinding picture of the pioneering days of motoring, when petroleum spirit was bought from a chemist. Or he could be telling the tales of wheel-to-wheel duels at Le Mans, Daytona or the Nürburgring in the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s. And all the while come often amusing asides on previous owners, and the oddities of the designers, constructors and manufacturers of these magnificent machines, it is almost as if he’d been there at the time.
Classic cars are not only Geneva-based consultant Simon Kidston’s profession, they are also his calling.
His love of all things automotive runs in his blood as his father, Commander Home Kidston, younger brother of ‘Bentley Boy’ and 1930 Le Mans winner Commander Glen Kidston, was a gentleman driver and passionate motoring enthusiast. Cars in the Kidston family garage in the 1930’s included Bugattis, Alfa Romeos and BMWs. In later years, a Mercedes 300 SL ‘Gullwing’, Lancia Aurelia and others were added to the Kidston fleet.
Today, Simon maintains the family tradition, often taking his father’s old 1973 Porsche Carrera RS out for spin, or perhaps his own black McLaren F1, chassis ‘007’, of course or the ex-Innocenti Lamborghini Miura SV, one of the last of the line, a car he has campaigned energetically for many years.
He is a firm believer in driving cars, however valuable; they were created to be seen, enjoyed by others and driven – not always locked up in garages or museums.
Away from brokering high-value cars for the world’s top collectors and commentating at Villa d’Este, Simon Kidston is much in demand worldwide as a highly respected concours judge at events such as Pebble Beach.
He has also used his multi-lingual skills and entertaining style of delivery presenting at the Mille Miglia retrospective. Short videos by his company set the standard for high production values and truly emotional story lines, while he can often be seen on television, a valued opinion-former on the world of classic cars.
This year on Concorso Saturday family must come first, and as the date clashes with his son’s graduation from school, Simon Kidston will excuse himself from the parade at Villa d’Este.
In his place will be a longstanding friend and former colleague, Max Girardo. The pair worked together when Simon Kidston founded Brooks Europe, and who was one of the first applicants for his 1st job.
Friends of Concorso will recognize Mr Girardo as the former auctioneer for RM Sotheby’s (NYSE:BID) at Villa Erba.
Simon Kidston will return on Sunday to host the final, public parade, a sell-out event which attracts over 8,000 people to this magical setting. As always, he’ll have plenty of stories to tell.
Tickets can be ordered online for entrance to the grounds of Villa Erba with immediate effect. Tickets for Saturday cost 7.50 Euros, and for Sunday 13.50 Euros.
You can find all the details at: http://concorsodeleganzavilladeste.com/public-days
Hope to see you there.