or rather with her fabulous Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III Dropheadcoup 1964…! Having been invited by Dr. Norbert Seeger to act as his co-pilot at this year’s stupendous British Classic Car Meeting in St. Moritz, I immediately remembered his select collection of nearly 30 Rolls Royces and Bentleys, amongst which resides my personal favourite, an extremely elegant darkblue SC III with grey Connolly leather seats and hood. This car, still with its original Paris licenceplate, was presented by Carlo Ponti to his wife, the Italian actress, Sophia Loren. A distant veil of Chanel No. 5 accompanied us on our roofless and sunny excursion through lovely Engiadian. The 21st edition of this successful rally, catering for some 275 cars (!) and its squads, is professionaly organised, roadbook, timing gears, many local helpers et all, and leads through lovely typically Engiadinian villages, trying to avoid the main roads whenever possible. Alois Carigiet and Geissenpeter seem to peep through every wooden window you pass by in this regal motorcar. Fortunately, Dr. Seeger had made it quite clear, that my humble intellectual faculties were not to be tested too much, and luckily the roadbook – with a little experience – was almost self-explaining. It took us right through the National Park, over the magnificently beautiful Ofenpass to the bears in Val Müstair, and through tiny villages I have never heard of before. Sophia, expertly controlled by Carlo Ponti’s impersonator, behaved with great aplomb, and the radiant Engiadina sun provided wonderful colours and warmth. Each scene was a perfect postcard, and more breathtaking views hiding behind every bend.
Special stages tested the teams’ clockwork and driving abilities, and wherever we drove by, bystanders waved cheerfully. The rally had been divided into 2 groups, in order to avoid clogging at lunch, which took our group to sleepy, tiny S’charl, where not even Swisscom supplies coverage (guess that must be the only remaining spot in Switzerland ?) How wonderfully stressless. The parkinglot was filled with delectable Aston Martins, Bentleys, Healeys, Jaguars and Rolls Royces of all ages and types, and spirits amongst drivers and co-pilots were high.
Having visited Ftan and descended towards Zernez, we headed back to St. Moritz, where tiny little raindrops greeted us. Perfect timing ! A last test courtesy of a cricketlawn concluded the rally, and Sophia returned to the Kulm’s garage, stunningly beautiful as ever.
Saturday night at the Suvretta House pampered the dapper crews in their elegant smoking jackets with an exquisite dinner, only later topped by Cuba’s finest in the Hotel bar. The organisers of the BCCM have created a very successful event, which also attracts hundreds of spectators, who – on Sunday – get to see all the 275 cars, carefully lined-up in front of the Palace, marque per marque, attending the beloved Concours d’Elegance. Sophia did very well, thank you, earning 2nd place in its category, only beaten by a narrow margin by a similar DHC, which took the laurels. Its lightblue metallic paintjob overshadowed Sophia’s somewhat more conservative darkblue guise. However, Dr. Seeger also got 1st prize in a younger category with his equally attractive Bentley Azure, which made our weekend a very pleasant affair.
Grazie Sophia, thank you Norbert ! The souvenir of Chanel’s No. 5 will be carefully kept.