Say Hello To The Eight Best Concours Cars In The World
What’s the best car in the world? If you’re in the high-end concours world, these are the contenders, at least for 2018. They’re the winners of the most important concours of the year–and the best of the contenders will be chosen for the Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award by a panel of 26 judges and announced in February during the Rétromobile show, Paris, on February 7. It’s the fourth year of the award, which was the brainchild of über-collectors The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, William E Connor, Bruce Meyer and Christian Philippsen. But you’ve waited long enough so, now, here are the eight cars…
1929 Duesenberg J/SJ Convertible by Murphy, which was updated in 1937 by Bohman and Schwartz of Pasadena, California. One of its early owners was Edward Beale McLean, who owned the Hope Diamond and whose family owned The Washington Post. Later owners included Clark Gable, James Cagney and Greta Garbo. It was the winner of the Best in Show Concours d’Elegance Trophy at the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Coupé by Zagato, the first GTZ, commissioned by successful racer Vladimiro Galluzzi and raced in the Mille Miglia that year. It went through several owners, reappearing in the mid-1980s in the US and restored to its original cobalt blue with a cream roof and blue leather combination. It won Best of Show at Cavallino Classic.
1958 Ferrari 335 S Spyder by Scaglietti, one of only four built, three of which are still in existence. It was one of the fastest cars on the planet in its day, with one 335S recording the first Le Mans lap of over 124mph. This one was delivered to Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team (NART) at the end of 1958. It was bought by the current owner in 2013, who commissioned a complete restoration. It was the winner of Best of Show by the Jury at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S ‘Boat Tail’ Roadster by Barker, originally delivered to Captain Miller on behalf of Earl Howe, one of the most important British racing drivers of the period. Its Barker body was revolutionary for the time, incorporating aspects of aircraft construction into an automobile body. After the war it entered the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum collection, but later stored away for around 50 years. It was rediscovered in 2012, and put into a multi-year restoration. It won Best of Show at Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace.
1972 Monteverdi 375L High Speed by Fissore, styled and partially built by Carrozzeria Fissore in Turin, before being sent on to Monteverdi’s premises in Basle, Switzerland, for final assembly. It was first owned by George McCullough Bell, whose family owned a paper company in Chicago, USA. He came to Europe in the early 1960s and became a sponsor to the legendary World Champion motorcyclist Helmut Fath. This was the Best of Show winner at the Goodwood Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance.
1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta by Touring, the first of only five known Berlinettas built on the Lungo chassis and the car that Touring refers to as the beginning of its Superleggera super-lightweight construction. It was revealed at the Paris Auto Salon, then shown at the 1937 Milan Auto Show and the 1938 Berlin Motor Show. Sold to a German customer, it remained in Germany for 20 years before touring the world and ending up in the US. The 8C won Best of Show at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
1953 Lancia Aurelia PF200C Spider by Pinin Farina, a unique roadster that was the first of a short run of similarly styled cars built by Pinin Farina built over the next four years, each one different from the others. It was shown at both the Geneva and Turin shows in 1953 and won the ‘Grand Honour’ at the Stresa International Concours of September 1953. It took Best of Show honors at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.
1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster by Jean Bugatti, one of only 13 roadsters made, and considered to be the most original. It remains untouched, apart from a repaint in 1955 back to the original red colour and replacement of the leather seat cushions that had been damaged. It’s the only unrestored example with less than 50,000 miles on the clock. The Bugatti won the Best of Show award at the 2018 Salon Privé.
The panel of 26 judges includes designs Ian Callum, Chris Bangle, Peter Brock, Ian Cameron, Luc Donckerwolke and Gordon Murray, industry executives Ratan Tata, Anne Asensio, Flavio Manzoni and Henry Ford III, high-profile collectors Ralph Lauren, Nick Mason and Jay Leno, as well as HRH Prince Michael of Kent and the Earl of Richmond.
Images courtesy of Peninsula Classics, Pebble Beach Concours and Kimball Studios