Five unique and historically significant Italian sports car concepts from Alfa Romeo, De Tomaso, ItalDesign, ATS and Lancia, and ranging from the 1960s and 1970s, took centre stage in the Cartier Paddock at the Goodwood last weekend.

Five unique and historically significant Italian sports car concepts from the 1960s and 1970s took centre stage in the Cartier Paddock at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend. The Cartier 'Style et Luxe' Paddock has become a focal point of the south coast of England automotive extravaganza, with significant historic cars arrayed on the manicured lawn each year, and the prestige of winning the contest has continued to grow.

This year the Cartier Paddock judging panel included such luminaries as radio and TV presenter, and now car collector, Chris Evans; actress and former bond girl Maryam D'Abo; Roger Taylor, drummer with rock band Queen; former BMW, Mini, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat and Alfa Romeo designer Frank Stephenson; and the leading architect Norman Foster.

Each year the organisers choose a number of specific classes to showcase significant trends in automotive history, and this year was no different. The classes spread out on the lawn included 100 Years of the Model T with a quintet of these historic pioneers of mass production motoring; Supercharged Sensations paid tribute to the early decades of big and brash Mercedes Benz cars; Rear Engined Revolution featured Porsche, Adventurous Design collected together five brash post-war cars in true American style of the era while For Your Eyes Only brought together Aston Martin, Lotus and Toyota cars which featured in the famous film franchise. Shape of Things to Come dubbed as "audacious supercar concepts 1980-2000" offered Italian flavour in the shape of the 1984 Lotus Etna, but it was in Dawn of the Supercar "designs that defined a new genre" that Italian interest was strongest.

Five significant cars, four of which appeared this spring at the villa d'Este Concorso D'Eleganza, gave visitors a perfect snapshot of glorious Italian design ideas from the 1960s into the 1970s. And kicking off the representation, parked bang in the centre of the sloping lawn, was the glorious Alfa Tipo 33 Stradale from 1967, one of the Milanese carmaker's finest concept works and a car that puts all others in the shade. The purest interpretation of the road-legal racing car theme it was brought by the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo, the official museum was having a busy weekend as it was running a string of it collection of historic beauties up the famous 'Hill'.

The oldest member of the class was the ultra-rare ATS 2500 GT, entered by Thomas McGough. This car built by Carlo Chiti before he became synonymous with Alfa Romeo through the Autodelta division; it remains in original condition complete with very well worn leather seats.

And, like the gleaming back ATS, the forgotten De Tomaso Pantera Series II Prototype was shown at the Lake Como concours this spring. It has just been restored with much input by legendary Pantera designer Tom Tjaarda. This car, first seen in 1974, was entered by Corrado Lopresto.

The immediately distinctive and pale coloured Bizzarri Manta from 1968 has had a busy year. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro it was shown at the 78th Geneva Motor Show earlier this year as part of the designer's 40th anniversary celebrations. It paraded along the red carpet at Villa D'Este during the intervening period, and last weekend its unique shape was on show at Goodwood. The Manta was entered by Ron Spindler.

The last Italian concept in the class was the unmistakeable lurid orange Lancia Stratos HF Prototipo from 1970, entered by leading Stratos collector Chris Hrabalek. This car, although it looks similar to the eventual production version, it actually differs down to almost every detail, and like most of the other concepts on show, it disappeared from public sight for many years and boasts an interesting history.

2008 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed