My Car Quest

June 12, 2024

Concorso Italiano 2021

Disclosure: The author was a vendor at Concorso Italiano 2021.

by Wallace Wyss –

I always look forward to Concorso Italiano because in my new calling as a fine artist (as opposed to commercial artists who have to subjugate their art to promoting some product) I am trying to find a way to make car paintings become “real” art and find an audience who has never commissioned artwork before.

Concorso Italiano 2021

Intermeccanica Italia and Apollo GT

My wife and I arrived at 7:30 a.m. to our small tent and hung the work on the walls. We were right next to a 1952 Karmann Ghia so I heard many times the owner’s description of how Ghia got the assignment to design a German car. But I liked hearing it because in essence it proves that Concorso is trying to put forward that when it comes to design the Italians can make everything better.

There were classes for Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Lamborghini, DeTomaso, Iso, Apollo, Intermeccanica, and then the oddballs like Moretti and Abarth. And even a couple American brands that have Italian coachwork like two Cadillac Allantes, a car I’d get if they didn’t have lousy engines.

Concorso Italiano 2021

The booth of Wallace Wyss

There was a couple Intermecanica Italias, but none of their last American engined car, the Indra–a very rare model which, if cars of this brand ever appreciate like Isos, will, I predict, be the most valuable.

I was impressed that there were two Iso Grifos, American engined Italian designed and built cars. I was a member of the Iso and Bizzarrini Owners Club in the early days and and admire how they methodically increased in price from the value when I bought one for ($11,000) to their present $300K or more, depending on engine and if it’s a targa (there’s one roadster in a junkyard but they know it’s worth a million so don’t even try). The owners handled their restorations carefully-not adding flares, candy apple paint, 8-inch wide rims, flames, sponge rubber dice on the rear view, like Pantera owners did for the first two decades.

Concorso Italiano 2021

Iso Grifo Series 2

Concorso Italiano 2021

Iso Grifo formerly owned by our editor Mike Gulett

So the result is that the fact they have a Chevy V8 is hardly mentioned anymore and they are prestigious enough to have a class at Pebble this year (a good sign of recognition). In fact I’d say for Iso owners, this year’s car week was a Grand Slam–I saw them everywhere–in the Tour, on the turf at Pebble, one racing at the track and two or three at Concorso. If any enthusiast never saw one before, this was the year to see them (though they didn’t have all their models, no A3C racer or Lele).

There were some prestigious Ferraris, not the early ’50s one like Pebble had that weekend, but a Euro headlamps Daytona, and a short wheel base Berlinetta to name two. Even a Ferrari station wagon (yeah I know shooting brake…) the FF. There was one hot rodded one, which I wasn’t sure if it started out as a 288GTO or was merely a customized 308 but it looked ready for NASCAR or some type of balls-to-the wall racing.

In addition to the cars on display, there were at least 20 booths. I was so busy in my art role I didn’t have time to visit them all but I did go to a Ferrari Owners Club booth to buy a CAVALLINO. Some like to have every copy of that magazine but I wait for this event to get them as low as $10 each.

Concorso Italiano 2021

Concorso Italiano 2021

The format was to have two announcers, Matt Stone and Miles Kitchen, in the center and the cars nominated by each club drove around them. On one side is an extra-cost restaurant with tables (that costs extra) I’d say everybody got to see the cars even if they weren’t in the pop-up restaurant though I’m going to suggest next time tables on both sides.

Matt Stone, author of many car histories, is an amusing speaker and has owned enough exotics himself to know stories from the owner’s viewpoint. There are a number of booths. I didn’t get to see many, being busy as a Fine Artist, don’t cha know, and photographer.

There’s three ways to eat at the venue. The Al Fresco Lunch. Al Fresco is not the name of a randy Italian, it means “outside dining,” in this case catered by Luigi’s Italian Cuisine, includes authentic Caesar Salad, Antipasto tray, a choice of hearty meat or abundant vegetarian Lasagna, authentic Italian Bread, dessert and your choice of two beverages including Award-Winning wines, or soft drinks. Seating times are between 11:00 and 12:30.

A step up is a fenced off exclusive area for those who pay a premium to be in an area called The CI Club. The promotional copy says “Exceptional food, high fashion, and high-performance vehicles. These are just some of the influential highlights to come out of Italy, but why not come experience all of them in the most lavish way possible?” They promise you will be surrounded with many different aspects of the Italian lifestyle!

Concorso Italiano 2021


The copy goes on to say: “Enjoy our premium wine selection and signature cocktails by Carbonadi as you dine on a tantalizing authentic Italian meal prepared by Luigi’s Italian Cuisine! End your day with your specially prepared gift bag, which includes special gifts from select sponsors, a premium cigar from Falto Cigar, this year’s Concorso Italiano 2021 magazine, as well as commemorative gifts chosen by our President!”. Which President, I ask?

Concorso Italiano 2021


The third dining alternative is the food truck. First I looked at them askance until my wife ate a pot sticker from one and then promptly ordered three more orders.

Concorso talked beforehand about as many as 1,000 cars and motorcycles. The pandemic may have dampened response because the Delta variant was increasing in San Francisco just 40 miles away. I applaud those show promoters who persevered, because if we as a nation go back into not going to events, Monterey Car Week of 2021 will be but a golden memory of what freedom we once had to enjoy our hobbies.

In sum, I’d say, for an Italian car fan, this is a Must Go event-low cost but not as low cost as the one day ticket at the track but still it boasts 100% Italian cars (I did see some other nations’ cars off in the distance but I think those are people who want to be at Concorso but not to be joining in being judged and so forth–sort of like guests to the party.

Concorso Italiano 2021

Wallace Wyss

Though they didn’t identify themselves I’ll wager a percentage of the spectators were car designers. There were 29 car design studios in California, last time I checked. Having all the designers on the same page helps when they’re talking at presentations when someone says something like “You know the grille on the prototype Iso Grifo?” and there’s not a lot of blank looks. This show is an Italian car design vocabulary in one fell swoop. The automakers should buy tickets for their designers to improve their visual vocabulary. For a car designer never to go to Monterey Car Week would be like not having a home architect visit a Frank Lloyd Wright Museum.

And Concorso is easy to find, boasts lots of fresh air, and damage to your car (unlike some shows) is unlikely. Though early on I did see a Maserati go into a sand trap. Gary, you got to know golf courses have sand traps!

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is making oil portraits of some of the cars he saw at Concorso. For a list or to talk about commissioning one of your car contact




Concorso Italiano 2021


Concorso Italiano 2021
Article Name
Concorso Italiano 2021
At Concorso Italiano 2021 there were classes for Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Lamborghini, DeTomaso, Iso, Apollo, Intermeccanica, and then the oddballs like Moretti and Abarth.


  1. Kenneth Phillips says

    Was there NO Bizzarrini Strada at the Iso display on the lawn at Pebble Beach ?

  2. wallace wyss says

    No Ken, because by Pebble rules, Bizzarrini is judged a different company. But the display could have at least had an Iso A3C or Iso Corsa (may be different names for same thing) because that model existed before Bizzarrini started making cars and was built by Iso. I was disappointed but the bright side is that there can be a Bizzarrini class coming back in the near future at Pebble as there was in the past. We should live so long.

  3. Love the color on Mike’s former Grifo, just a beautiful car!

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