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Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

By: Daniel Vaughan / vehicle profiles by The Pebble Beach Concours

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

The 70th anniversary of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance celebrated with a spectacular display of previous Best of Show winners. Thirty-seven examples graced the showfield and many were still with the same owners who raised the trophy overhead. Other special displays included Pebble Beach Road Race Winners, La Carrera Panamericana cars in 1953, creations of Pininfarina and Iso, the Lamborghini Countach, French Grand Prix in 1921, Millers of Indianapolis PSeedway fame, Le Mans-winning Porsche 917s, and Early Electric Cars.

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

The Pebble Beach Concours has evolved over the years, from what was essentially a local event in 1950, to one of the most anticipated, popular, and influential events on the collector car calendar. By the 1980s, collectors from all over the were campaigning their cars at Pebble Beach, often with unique and lesser-known vehicles to the Monterey bay area. As the level of competitiveness grew, so did the criteria for excellence. During the early years of the concours, luxury was paramount which often meant formal town cars with chauffeur compartments were highly regarded. A shift in preferences brought greater desirability for sporting models, and town cars and limousines giving way to two-seater roadsters, speedsters and cabriolets. The once-popular perpendicular contours were usurped by aerodynamic and sweeping lines. Authenticity and history grew in importance and were soon paired with preservation, when appropriate. As social tastes changed, so do the definition of elegance, be it for postwar or competition cars. What has remained constant is the pursuit of automotive excellence, and the quest to find truly spectacular and stunning vehicles that instantly take your breath away. The assembly of over half of the previous Best of Show winners on the show field gave a visual of the evolution and progression of preferences. Here are the Best of Show winners that were on display at the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

1931 Pierce-Arrow 41 LeBaron Town Car Cabriolet - 1955 Winner

The Phil Hill Family, Ojai, Ca.

1931 Pierce-Arrow 41 LeBaron Town Car Cabriolet - 1955 Winner

This 1931 Pierce-Arrow was the first classic car to win best of Show at Pebble Beach. Phil Hill, who won three of the seven Pebble Beach Road Races and went on to become America's first World Drivers Champion, learned to drive on this very car. He later drove it to and from college. And later still, he restored it from the ground up and drove it to the 1955 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. 'Restoring it was a labor of love,' Hill said. He didn't expect the car to win at the Concours; in fact, he doubted his car would be welcomed there. Prior to 1955, Best of Show had always gone to a car not long off the showroom floor; modern cars were clearly favored. A few valued antiques were also exhibited. But Hill's car was neither new nor old. His restoration of it was most certainly one of the first completed restorations of a classic car. A few strong-minded judges saw beyond category to quality, and the car won out. The car remains with the Hill family, which has owned it for the whole of its existence.

The Nethercutt Collection, Sylmar, Ca.

1930 duPont Model G Merrimac Town Car - 1958 Winner

J.B. Nethercutt's meticulous restoration of this 1930 duPont led to the first of his record six Best of Show wins at Pebble Beach and helped to establish the standard of excellence for which Pebble Beach is now known. In 1956, Mr. Nethercutt was on his way home, having just arranged to purchase a Duesenberg, when he spotted this duPont parked at a corner filling station. He said the car was in awful shape: 'Its bumpers were missing and the interior fabric was flapping out the window in the breeze.' Nonetheless, 'the big, hulking monster' of a car intrigued him and he took it home, intending to restore it in the three weeks prior to delivery of the Duesenberg. 'I miscalculated slightly,' said Mr. Nethercutt. 'Nineteen months and $65,000 later, I finished the duPont.' Mr. Nethercutt and his wife, Dorothy, drove the car from Santa Monica to Pebble Beach for the 1958 Concours, where it was named Best of Show. The car still resides in the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, California.

1931 Pierce-Arrow 41 Custom LeBaron Club Sedan - 1963 Winner

Charals & Diana Haagen, Los Angles, Ca.

1931 Pierce-Arrow 41 Custom LeBaron Club Sedan - 1963 Winner

In 1963, gaming legend William Harrah served notice that he was up to the challenge posed by J.B. Nethercutt, who had already won Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours not once but twice. Harrah's restoration of this 1931 Pierce-Arrow 41 took the top award that year. Pierce-Arrow had long been recognized as a mark offering both expert engineering and style. It is interesting to note that Harrah's car was of the same year, make and model that Phil Hill had shown in 1955 - but Harrah's 41 bore a custom Sport Sedan body by LeBaron. Harrah made certain that the Pebble Beach Concours would be a competition and not a one-man show. He not only won in 1963, he won again in 1964, so for a brief time, the two men were tied two-all. Harrah won again in 1966, but Nethercutt came back with two more wins as the decade ended. Theirs was a rivalry - and a friendship - that continued for years.

1934 Duesenberg J Murphy-Style Dual Cowl Phaeton - 1969 Winner

The Nethercutt Collection, Sylmar, Ca.

1934 Duesenberg J Murphy-Style Dual Cowl Phaeton - 1969 Winner

The two-tone green Dual Cowl Phaeton body of this 1934 Duesenberg J is a classic Murphy design - one of the premier phaeton forms created for the Duesenberg J chassis. It was among J.B. Nethercutt's favorites, and fittingly it brought him his third win at Pebble Beach, tying him with William Harrah's record. J.B. Nethercutt had scored two consecutive wins in the late 1950s, but Harrah responded with three wins in the early 1960s. With this win, Nethercutt pulled even and he would never fall behind in the count again. The Nethercutt Collection has won the top award at Pebble Beach on six occasions - a record that remains unmatched by any other individual or collection. Perhaps fittingly, Duesenberg has also scored six Best of Show wins at Pebble Beach. It is the winningest American marque.

The Nethercutt Collection, Sylmar, Ca.

1931 Daimler Double Six 50 Royal Limousine - 1970 Winner

This Daimler Double Six exhibits an imposing and magnificent presence. The car's two-tone color scheme underscores its formal elegance and length of line, so it easily bested the competition at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 1970. Daimlers have sometimes been chosen to serve Britain's Royal Family, and when he purchased this car in 1968, J.B. Nethercutt was told by the previous owner that it had been used at Buckingham Palace - but he had his doubts since the car was then being housed in the chicken coop of a very modest home in Kent. After an 18-month restoration, prior to competing at the Pebble Beach Concours, J.B. drove this car more than 3,000 miles to the 18th annual meeting of the Classic Car Club of America, held in Buck Hill Falls, Pennsylvania - where the car placed first overall with 97 points. Somewhere along the way, J.B. nicknamed the car 'The Gutless Wonder' because he felt its V12 sleeve valve engine was underpowered - although it was as quiet and smooth as original ads promised. The engine also had a tendency to solidify in cold temperatures, so on several early mornings, the Nethercutt team had to bathe the engine in warm water and change the oil weight to get it running. Fittingly, his win with this Double Six marked the second time Nethercutt recorded two consecutive wins.

1927 Mercedes-Benz S Tourer - 1971 Winner

The Keller Collection at The Pyramids, Petaluma, Ca.

1927 Mercedes-Benz S Tourer - 1971 Winner

This S Tourer is built on the same chassis as the standard 680S by Sindelfingen, but its exquisite sporting three-door body design is very different from the norm. It is perhaps the only S Tourer in the world with coachwork by Gangloff, a Swiss coachbuilder based in Geneva. It incorporates the famous patented Gangloff door hinges, which allow a much narrower central pillar to be employed, and it has two doors in front and one in the right rear. These doors are rounded at the bottom, in keeping with the fashion of the time. A prewar Mercedes-Benz was among the few prewar cars shown at the first Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, in 1950, and the marque was often represented on the competition field in ensuing years - but it didn't garner the top prize until this 1927 Mercedes S Tourer, shown by Owen Owens, was named Best of Show at Pebble Beach in 1971. Just two years later, a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet Coupe, shown by media magnate Otis Chandler, would score another win for the marque, and over time, Mercedes-Benz would be recognized with a total of eight Best of Show trophies. This Mercedes-Benz is now in the care of the Keller Collection.

The Keller Collection at The Pyramids, Petaluma, Ca.

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

The marque Hispano-Suiza dates back to the early 1900s, but it earned its reputation for excellence supplying engines to Allied air aces during World War I. Thereafter, at the Paris Auto Salon of 1919, the marque introduced the H6 to the motoring world, and it was widely acclaimed as the most advanced luxury car of its time. The marque was a favorite of Jules 'J.' Heumann, who won the top award at Pebble Beach in 1972 with this Skiff Torpedo and went on to serve as Co-Chairman of this event for decades. He was also the president of the Hispano-Suiza Society. This 1922 Hispano-Suiza H6B originally carried a formal body by Million-Guiet, but the car was rebodied in 1926 or 1927 with this handsome dual-cowl skiff torpedo coachwork by Henri Labourdette, which had been taken from another Hispano-Suiza. Regrettably, the car's history through the next thirty years has been lost. Somehow the car made its way to Sepulveda, California, where Jules Heumann purchased it at a probate sale in 1963. The car had been stored for years in a dilapidated old barn with holes in its roof, and restoring the car was no easy task. Heumann did the work himself over the course of nine years. After his win, Heumann drove this car throughout the United States and Europe. The car is now in the Keller Collection.

1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Cabriolet A - 1973 Winner

Don Williams / Blackhawk Collection, Danville, Ca.

1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Cabriolet A - 1973 Winner

Between 1936 and 1940, Mercedes-Benz produced a total of 419 540Ks - named for the powerful 5.4-liter straight-eight engine. A number of standard bodies were offered by the marque's Sindelfingen factory, including various Cabriolets and a Special Roadster - but this particular 540K bears a Special Cabriolet A commissioned by a client in Paris and combining the classic line of a cabriolet with the raked V windshield of the roadster, lengthening its look and emphasizing the powerful thrust of the front fenders. There is just one other Special Cabriolet A, and it is on a 500K. The car has had several well-known owners, including American operatic tenor James Melton, Tom Barrett and General William Lyon. Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler purchased it in the early 1970s, had it restored by Richard Martin, and showed it at the 1973 Concours. At the time it was a lively two-tone green. Its livery changed to bright red during a later restoration. It returned to the Pebble Beach Concours in 2021 in the care of Don Williams of the Blackhawk Collection.

1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante - 1976 Winner

Jim Patterson, Louisville, Ky.

1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante - 1976 Winner

This Bugatti, built on the surbaisse (lowered) chassis is the first of four with low headlight placement and one of only seventeen with an Atalante coupe body. The known provenance from new includes ownership by the well-known French artist Andre Derain, who collaborated with Henri Matisse in founding what became the Fauvism movement. The Bugatti was first brought to American in 1959 and would eventually be sold to casino magnate William Harrah, who restored it and brought it to Pebble Beach in 1976, winning Best of Show with it. This Atalante (chassis 57551) was a bright mustard and cream when owned by William Harrah, but it has more recently been shown in striking black and green livery. After being in the care of the Patterson Collection for 13 years, the car was sent to RM for restoration in 2014. Amidst the restoration process, some early body modifications were removed, the wood structure for its original tail was discovered, and the Atalante was returned to its original configuration.

1927 Packard 343 Murphy Convertible Sedan - 1977 Winner

Academy of Art University, San Francisco, Ca.

1927 Packard 343 Murphy Convertible Sedan - 1977 Winner

This is one of three Packard 343s fitted with a Murphy Convertible Sedan body, and it is believed to be the only surviving example. The body, designed by the legendary W. Everett Miller, was a Murphy specialist, incorporating remarkably thin 'clear-vision' cast-brass pillars. The completed car was delivered to Carl Henderson's Packard City in Santa Monica, California, on April 16, 1927. The Fairbank family, which was heavily involved in Canada's rail and oil industries, originally purchased this car for $9,200, and it remained in their possession until Phil Hill purchased it in 1967. Hill, his partner Ken Vaughn, and Bob Mosier, who was the first employee of 'Hill and Vaughn,' worked together to restore the car, and their efforts culminated in Hill's second Best of Show in at the Pebble Beach Concours. Its lilac paint scheme was modeled after a well-preserved original Packard that Hill spotted in William Harrah's Collection. It has been in the care of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco since 2009.

1929 Duesenberg J LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaeton - 1978 Winner

Lehrman Collection, Palm Beach, Fl.

1929 Duesenberg J LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaeton - 1978 Winner

Identifiable by their distinctive 'sweep panel,' just eighteen Duesenberg J LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaetons were produced, and they are highly prized among collectors. This particular Duesenberg (J-223) was delivered new to the Los Angeles area, and eventually passed into the hands of Texas collector Dave Pennington, who participated with it in various Duesenberg events, so 'Big Red' became well known. Pete Rosi purchased the car in 1973 and painstakingly restored it, taking Best of Show at the 1977 Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club National Reunion before entering it at Pebble Beach. A former marine who became a real estate developer, Pete loved to drive his cars all over. He hailed from St. Charles, Illinois, so the 1978 win at Pebble Beach by his Duesenberg marked the first by an entry from east of the Mississippi River. Rosi sold 'Big Red' to New Jersey collector Robert Rooke in 1981. Thereafter, it went into seclusion for three and a half decades, until its purchase by the Lehrman Collection.

1933 Duesenberg SJ 'Twenty Grand' Rollston Arlington Torpedo Sedan - 1980 Winner

The Nethercutt Collection, Sylmar, Ca.

1933 Duesenberg SJ Rollston Arlington Torpedo Sedan - 1980 Winner

This Duesenberg was built for the Century of Progress Exhibition of 1933-34, better known as the Chicago World's Fair. At a time when most Americans were counting their pennies and many new cars cost less than three hundred dollars, the official price of this Duesenberg was listed as twenty thousand dollars, so fairgoers soon nicknamed the car 'Twenty Grand.' Noted designer Gordon Buehrig drafted the initial design for the body of this Duesenberg and Rollston of New York built it. The platinum metallic paint on the exterior, complemented by matching leather roof and gray cloth interior, was a real showstopper. It was Shreve Archer who purportedly paid full price for the car and became its first owner. Thereafter, the car was in the D. Cameron Peck and the Ben F. Johnson Collections, and over the years, it was painted black and modernized. J.B. Nethercutt purchased the car in the late seventies and restored it to its original condition. In the late eighties, the car was selected to be exhibited in Essen, Germany, as one of the 'The Ten Most Beautiful Cars in the World.'

1930 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A SS Castagna Special Sports Tourer - 1983 Winner

The William Lyon Family, Newport Beach Ca.

1930 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A SS Castagna Special Sports Tourer - 1983 Winner

Eleven fine examples of the featured marque of Isotta Fraschini pulled onto the lawn of The Lodge at Pebble Beach in 1983, and this particular 1930 Isotta Fraschini, exhibited at that time by Dr. Irwin Ginsberg of Buffalo, New York, won that featured class and went on to earn Best of Show. The car's first owner was Mr. Penn of the Lucky Strike Company. Ginsberg purchased the car from his estate, and The General William Lyon Family purchased the car in June 1985. Manufactured in Milan from 1900 through 1950, Isotta Fraschini was a favorite with celebrities and royalty, but it was the introduction of the Tipo 8 that garnered the marque success in greater numbers. The 7.4-liter Tipo 8A, introduced in 1924, increased the engine's capacity to 120 bhp at 2,400 RPM, and it had a stouter chassis, larger brake drums with vacuum-servo assistance, and rode on larger section tires. Spinto and then Super Spinto versions with higher compression ratios and other tuning devices were introduced later. A short chassis 8A SS with sporting body could allegedly exceed 100 mph, and indeed on such car finished admirably, in sixth place, in the very first Mille Miglia.

1929 Cunningham V5410 All Weather Cabriolet - 1984 Winner

Don Williams / Blackhawk Collection, Danville, Ca.

1929 Cunningham V5410 All Weather Cabriolet - 1984 Winner

James Cunningham & Company, of Rochester, New York, began to build automobiles in 1907 and by the late 1920s, he was offering the most expensive cars made in the United States. Cunningham was one of the first to install a V-8 engine in an American car, in 1916, and thereafter the cars were often referred to as the American Rolls-Royce. In its heyday, it was the choice of movie stars such as Hoot Gibson and Mary Pickford, as well as businessmen such as William Randolph Hearst, who kept one as a touring car at San Simeon. When this 1929 Cunningham All Weather Cabriolet (V5410) took the top prize at the Pebble Beach Concours in 1984, it was owned by Ken Vaughn. In the early 1970s, Vaughn had partnered with racing great Phil Hill to establish the Hill and Vaughn restoration shop. The two men worked together to restore Ken's Cunningham for Pebble Beach.

1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster - 1986 Winner

The Keller Collection at The Pyramids, Petaluma, Ca.

1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster - 1986 Winner

On its centennial anniversary in 1986, Mercedes-Benz was the featured marque at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and a special display of 500K and 540K models posed on the front lawn of The Lodge. Appropriately, a 500K longtail Special Roadster, the epitome of German design in the Classic Era, took the show's top award. That 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster was then and is still owned by Arturo Keller of Petaluma, Ca., who is one of the most respected collectors of the marque. He acquired the car from Don Williams in 1984, and he had it restored from the ground up, desiring it to be its very best self. Mr. Keller went home from Pebble Beach with more than Best of Show that year. He had brought six Mercedes-Benz cars to the 1986 Concours, and he went home with six awards; in addition to Best of Show, his cars earned a special award for best Mercedes, two First in Class awards, and two Second in Class awards. At the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours, the Keller's displayed a record ten cars at Pebble Beach.

1928 Minerva Type AF Hibbard & Darrin Transformable - 1987 Winner

Laura & Jack Boyd Smith Jr., Elkhart, In.

1928 Minerva Type AF Hibbard & Darrin Transformable - 1987 Winner

Minerva Motors, a Belgian firm, first manufactured safety bicycles in the late 1800s, expanding to motorcycles and light cars at the turn of the century. In 1908, it purchased a worldwide license to produce Charles Yale Knight's nearly silent double-sleeve valve engine, and its creations quickly moved to the top of the luxury market. This Type AF is equipped with a 30CV, 5.3-liter, six-cylinder sleeve-valve engine, and it bears a Transformable Town Car body built by Hibbard & Darrin and perhaps slightly customized by Paul Ostruk, who was the Minerva agent and distributor in both New York and Paris by the late 1920s. The car has both Hibbard & Darrin and Ostruk badging. After several early owners, inventor and industrialist Thomas Lester acquired this car in 1985 and restored it for the 1987 Pebble Beach Concours, where it garnered the top award.

1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Spider - 1988 Winner

John & Heather Mozart, Palo Alto, Ca.

1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Spider - 1988 Winner

The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B, introduced in 1937, is said to be the progenitor of the postwar Grand Touring coupe. The engine is essentially the 2.9-liter eight-cylinder supercharged Tipo B that made the marque Alfa Romeo unbeatable in key races of the 1930s. The chassis is a boxed frame with a wheelbase of 2.75 meters, independent suspension, and huge hydraulic brakes. This fabulous first example has a rare Spider body by Touring. McClure Halley of Brooklyn, New York, ordered this car, requesting special instruments, chrome wheels, and details like engraved moldings - and then went to Bologna to make certain the car was built to his specifications. An early photograph records the car's debut at the Milan Motor Show. Richard Paine of Bar Harbor, Maine, acquired the car in the late 1960s, and John Mozart acquired the car from him in the early 1980s. The restored car was named Best of Show at the 1988 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Dave Holls, former director of Design at General Motors who served for years as Chief Honorary Judge at the Pebble Beach Concours, once said of this Alfa, 'If I could have only one car in the world, that would be the car I'd want to have.'

1922 Hispano-Suiza H6B Labourdette Skiff - 1989 Winner

The Keller Collection at The Pyramids, Petaluma, Ca.

1922 Hispano-Suiza H6B Labourdette Skiff Torpedo - 1972 Winner

This win marked the second overall victory at Pebble Beach for the marque of Hispano-Suiza. A 1922 Model H6B serves as chassis, and it bears a fantastic polished metal and wood skiff body created by Labourdette. The French carriage-building firm of Labourdette dated back to the mid-1800s and was one of the first to create bodies for automobiles. A closed body that Henri Labourdette designed in 1899 for Louis Renault was the first of its kind. And in 1912, Henri's son Jean-Henri created the first 'skiff,' which debuted on a Panhard 20HP built for Rene de Knyff. This design met with great acclaim and remained popular for well over a decade. This Hispano-Suiza H6B Labourdette Skiff was restored and shown at the 1989 Pebble Beach Concours by Robert L. Meyer of King City, California. Its early history is little known, but after World War II, it made its way to the United States, eventually residing with explorer Giles Greville Healey who claimed to have purchased the car from the Duchess of Alba who had received it as a wedding gift. The car was restored by Phil Hill and Ken Vaughn. It now resides in the Keller Collection.

1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Brewster Town Car - 1992 Winner

The Nethercutt Collection, Sylmar, Ca.

1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Brewster Town Car - 1992 Winner

Actress Constance Bennett first laid eyes on this Rolls-Royce at the New York Automobile Show of 1936 and immediately bought it. It is said that she paid approximately $17,000 for the car and then recouped that cost by renting the car to filmmakers. It had a substantial role in 'The King and the Chorus Girl' starring Carole Lombard and appeared in several other films. The car was certainly adept at changing roles. Chassis 69 WJ was an experimental chassis produced in 1930, and the factory held onto it for more than a year. In 1931, complete with Trouville Town Car boy, it was sent to a Mr. Fitkin of New York, but the car was rebodied by Brewster in 1935, prior to its appearance at the auto show in 1936. Bennett's ownership ended in the late forties, and the car passed from owner to owner, until J.B. Nethercutt purchased it in the late eighties and completely restored it. The intricate caning effect on the sides was recreated just as it was done initially; each line was drawn by hand with a bead of paint. The restored car debuted at the 1992 Pebble Beach Concours, winning Best of Show.

1931 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8B Viggo Jensen Cabriolet d'Orsay - 1995 Winner

The Keller Collection at The Pyramids, Petaluma, Ca.

1931 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8B Viggo Jensen Cabriolet dOrsay - 1995 Winner

This 1931 Isotta Fraschini features a rare blend of Italian engineering and Danish design. Isotta Fraschini introduced its famed Tipo 8 between 1919 and 1921, and the ultimate high-performance version of this car, the Tipo 8B, was catalogued in 1931. It is believed that just under thirty Tipo 8Bs were built and only three examples are known to have survived to see the twenty-first century. This example bears a singular body designed by Viggo Jensen and built by Dansk Karosseri-Fabrik of Copenhagen for the then Consul General of Denmark, Carl Glad. Though Isotta Fraschini officials categorize the body as a Ccabriolet d'Oorsay, it is actually a Sedanca de Ville with a fixed rear windscreen and wind-up windows. The car passed from the Glad family to their neighbor Erik Orth to W.K. Haines over the course of several decades. Restoration began in 1991 and was completed in 1995 just prior to its appearance and win at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The car went on to win at Louis Vuitton events in London and Paris and was exhibited at the Centre Internationale de L'Automobile in Paris.

1937 Talbot-Lago T150C Figoni & Falaschi Coupe - 1997 Winner

WSB Preservation, Hong Kong

1937 Talbot-Lago T150C Figoni & Falaschi Coupe - 1997 Winner

The combined efforts of Talbot-Lago and Figoni & Falaschi resulted in many wondrous automotive creations, including the T150C model with goutte d'eau (teardrop) body. Fourteen of these cars were created between 1937 and 1939, and thirteen survive to this day. Just four of the fourteen, including this T150C, have a notched back, making them rare indeed. This Talbot-Lago, owned by William E. Connor, was the first car to win Best of Show at both the Pebble Beach Concurs d'Elegance and the Concours Automobile Classiques at Bagatelle. The latter accomplishment came first, after Connor's initial restoration of the car. Remarkably, the car was completely re-restored for Pebble Beach. Among other things, the motor was rebuilt, non-original parts were taken off the car, proper parts were sought out or created, proper pebble-grained leather replaced flamboyant ostrich skin on the interior, and the exterior was repainted from dark aubergine to the car's original blue and silver. After two years and 4,000 hours of work by restorer Bob Mosier, Connor felt the car was ready for Pebble Beach, and he was right; the teardrop came out on top in 1997.

1937 Delahaye 135 M Figoni & Falaschi Cabriolet - 2000 Winner

Mark Hyman, St. Louis, Mo.

1937 Delahaye 135 M Figoni & Falaschi Cabriolet - 2000 Winner

Picking Best of Show at the fiftieth celebration of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was no easy task, but ultimately the confetti flew over a car that dared to exhibit both dramatic flair and whimsy. The car, a 1937 Delahaye 135 M Figoni & Falaschi Cabriolet owned by Jacques and Betty Harguindeguy, was a delectable gray-pearl and bing-cherry-red affair with no end to its luscious swoops and swirls. Harguindeguy had lovingly done most of the restoration himself. Describing it, he talked his way through the car's flowing lines, its low carriage, the collapsible windshield with the perfect V-shape ('not too little, not too much'), the convertible top that looks good up or down, and the tiny tail on the trunk. And then, of course, there was his favorite detail: 'The piece I like best is the spear that starts at the side of the front of the hood, going all the way down it, then continuing in a circle to the bottom of the door, and concluding with the little spear on top.....That's real Geo Ham artistry. That's what makes the car.'

1930 Mercedes-Benz SS Erdmann & Rossi Roadster - 2001 Winner

The Keller Collection at The Pyramids, Petaluma, Ca.

1930 Mercedes-Benz SS Erdmann & Rossi Roadster - 2001 Winner

When this Mercedes-Benz SS bodied by Erdmann & Rossi was named Best of Show in 2001, the Kellers joined the ranks of those few entrants who have earned the top prize multiple times. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche, the SS was one of three supercharged models that garnered racing fame and fervent support for Mercedes-Benz in the late 1920s, but production of the SS ended in 1930, so few examples exhibit the beautiful coachwork we now associate with classics from the mid-to-late-1930s. The Keller car, which was rebodied early in its life, is a rare exception, pairing an SS chassis with a unique Erdmann & Rossi special sport roadster body. The SS was initially created in June 1930 by special commission for the purpose of racing, and it was given initially to famed Mercedes-Benz team racer Rudolf Caracciola, then passed to this teammate Hans Stuck. It was Werner Lups who commissioned Erdmann & Rossi to build a new body for it, and the car was then shown at the Cannes Concours d'Elegance, where it won the 'Prix d'Honneur.' Soon thereafter, Bud MacDougall purchased the car for his private museum in Canada, and there it remained for nearly six decades. Arturo Keller was able to purchase it in 1999.

1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic - 2003 Winner

Merle & Peter Mullin and Melani & Rob Walton, Los Angeles, Ca.

1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic - 2003 Winner

The 2003 Best of Show trophy was awarded to one of the featured cars - a 1936 Bugatti Type 7SC Atlantic owned by Peter D. Williamson, a respected neurologist with one of the best Bugatti collections on the planet. In the mid-1930s, Jean Bugatti sought to build the ultimate high-speed, high-performance sports cars, and it has been said that he went beyond that with his designs for the Type 57S and SC automobiles. Exactly 42 such chassis were sold, and just three of those bore the now-legendary Atlantic body, which derived from the Aerolithe prototype. This particular Atlantic, the oldest of the original three (built on chassis 57374), was first registered to Lord Victor Rothschild in London, England, in September 1936. It was initially a Type 57S with a beautiful silver-blue body, but it had its problems: the side window didn't open and there were no vents on the hood so it was impossibly hot to drive. So the car was returned to the factory and front-facing louvers were cut into the doors. In 1939, the factory added a supercharger and hydraulic brakes. Williamson purchased the car in 1971, and it remained as it was until he decided to restore it to its early configuration for the celebration of Bugatti at Pebble Beach.

1937 Delage D8-120 S Pourtout Aero Coupe - 2005 Winner

Sam & Emily Mann, Englewood, NJ.

1937 Delage D8-120 S Pourtout Aero Coupe - 2005 Winner

When the confetti flew over the awards ramp at the 55th Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, it descended on a one-off Delage owned by Sam and Emily Mann. The winning car was a prototype originally commissioned by Louis Delage, the man who founded the French car company bearing his name in 1905. By 1937 that company had been purchased by Delahaye, but Delage was still involved and he wanted to show off the innovative new D8-120 chassis, so he approached Marcel Pourtout to create very special coupe for the Paris Auto Salon that October. An innovative streamlined body was penned by Pourtout's Chief Stylist Georges Paulin, who was at the forefront of aerodynamic design, and it was built on an experimental D8-120 S (for surbaisse, or 'lowered') chassis with a 4.7-liter engine. The windscreen, just one of the coupe's notable components, is a curved ribbon of glass that wraps around the car. It was among the first vehicles to be tested in a wind tunnel, and it is said to be a delight to drive at speeds of up to 100 mph. Its win was the fourth car shown by the Manns to take the top award. The Manns are now tied with William Harrah for having the second-most wins of any entrants; only the Nethercutt's have surpassed that number, with six wins in total.

1931 Daimler Double Six 50 Corsica Drophead Coupe - 2006 Winner

Anne Brockington Lee / Robert M. Lee Automobile Collection, Reno, Nv

1931 Daimler Double Six 50 Corsica Drophead Coupe - 2006 Winner

Daimler, one of the earliest British marques and one with a reputation for excellence, introduced the Double Six at the 1926 Olympia Motor Show, just a year after Rolls-Royce introduced its Phaeton. Its 7-liter Double Six 50, the ultimate Daimler, was a masterwork of engineering merging four banks of three cylinders in a 60-degree V, delivering 150 horsepower. This Daimler Double Six 50 rests on a special chassis modified by Reed Railton of Thompson & Taylor to allow for the lowest possible profile; it is underslung with a compact rear and elongated front. It was initially thought that perhaps two or three such chassis were created, but more research suggests there was just this one - and it has borne three bodies. An initial open tourer was rapidly followed by a close-coupled closed car. Then, after an early accident, the car was rebodied by Corsica with this Drophead Coupe - a magnificent, slightly menacing creation that might have suited Cruella de Vil. 'I bought this car because it made my heart skip a beat,' said Lee on the awards ramp. 'I guess the judges today agreed with my heart.'

1935 Duesenberg SJ 'Mormon Meteor' Speedster - 2007 Winner

Harry Yeaggy, Cincinnati, Oh.

1935 Duesenberg SJ Mormon Meteor Speedster - 2007 Winner

In the mid-1930s, Duesenberg, long a winner on the track, decided to make a concerted push for speed. So this Duesenberg Special, later known as 'The Mormon Meteor,' was conjured into being. It is powered by a supercharged SJ engine with special camshafts and huge duplex Stromberg UU-3 carburetors. Its body is a massive yet streamlined creation, with steeply angled radiator up front and tapered tail at back. A single headlight up front illuminated its way through the darkness of night, as Ab Jenkins established a new world speed record with it, averaging 135.47 mph for 24 hours on Bonneville Salt Flats on August 31, 1934. And more records followed. The car was first shown at Pebble Beach under the ownership of Knox Kershaw. It sold for a record $4.45 million at the 2004 Pebble Beach Auction conducted by Gooding & Company, and the car's new owner Harry Yeaggy, returned it to its early race configuration. 'In my opinion, this is the most significant American car ever built,' said Yeaggy. The car's win at Pebble Beach underscored the judges understanding of its historic importance in addition to their appreciation of its style.

1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta - 2008 Winner

Private Ccollection, Geneva, Switzerland

1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta - 2008 Winner

The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B, with its straight-eight 2.9-liter engine with twin superchargers and twin overhead camshafts, is considered by many collectors to be the ultimate classic touring car. This very special Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B (chassis 412035 and engine 422030) with its Superleggera (super lightweight) body first appeared in several Alfa ads. It is one of six similar couples but is subtly different from the other five. Moreover, the car holds an important place in racing in the United States; it won the very first race at Watkins Glen in 1948 - a full decade after its creation. The car was first registered to the Societa Anonima Montecatini in Milan, then passed through the hands of M. Wehrli, M. Berchtold, Adolf Scherz, Frank Griswold (who brought it to the United States from Switzerland and piloted it to the win at Watkins Glen), David Park, Paul Hatmon, Donald Vershley, and David Cohen before being purchased by Jon Shirley in 2005, who resorted it and brought it to Pebble Beach, taking the top prize in 2008.

1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbeck Sport Cabriolet - 2009 Winner

Anne Brockinton Lee / Robert M. Lee Automobile Collection, Reno, Nv.

1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbeck Sport Cabriolet - 2009 Winner

August Horch was initially employed by Karl Benz, but founded his namesake company in 1899 and Audi a decade later. The 850, with a 5-liter straight-eight engine developing about 100 horsepower, was first offered in 1935. The shorter, sportier 853, with DeDion rear suspension, followed about a year later, and the 853A, with an engine delivering 120 bhp debuted in 1937. While these cars were not supercharged, their transmissions were equipped with overdrive, and they competed for market share with the Mercedes-Benz 540K. About 950 to 1000 853s and 853As were made before war put an end to their production. This particular 853 is believed to be the second Horch bodied by the German firm of Voll & Ruhrbeck. The early ownership of this car is unknown, but it was claimed at one point by the French Army during World War II and was found thereafter in Switzerland. It was largely complete when found thereafter in Switzerland. It was largely complete when acquired by Robert M. Lee, but new fenders and bonnet had to be recreated in accord with period photographs - and the long sweep of the front fender lines is a wonder to behold. The restoration was done in house, so the cabriolet's win in 2009 was particularly sweet.

1933 Delage D8 S de Villars Roadster - 2010 Winner

Jim Patterson, Louisville, Ky

1933 Delage D8 S de Villars Roadster - 2010 Winner

A Delage D8 S with a de Villars Roadster body bested more than 250 competitors to take the top prize at the Pebble Beach Concorus d'Elegance in 2010. 'This Delage has a short wheelbase that makes it look more rakish, but it still has a long and elegant look,' said Concours Chairman Sandra Button when describing the winning automobile. 'It did 110 miles per hour in its day, it could race, and it was stunningly beautiful. This car could do it all. It embodies style, speed and comfort.' Delage added the sports version to the D8 range in 1930. To make the S more aerodynamic than its predecessors, a new radiator shell was used, which required a special hood and firewall that made the D8 S even more visually distinct. And this particular D8 S graced the 1933 Salon de Paris at the Grand Palais. It was owned during the 1950s by the Grand Hotel Velasquez in Madrid, Spain, and was used as transportation for its discerning guests. It was purchased by Jim Patterson in 2007 and has been freshly restored when it was named Best of Show.

1935 Voisin C 25 Aerodyne - 2011 Best of Show

Peter & Merle Mullin, Los Angeles, Ca.

1935 Voisin C 25 Aerodyne - 2011 Best of Show

Gabriel Voisin was among the earliest aviators, developing a plane that undertook a controlled and circular flight as early as 1908. He is also credited with creating the first commercial aircraft factory, with his brother Charles. Voisin turned his hand to producing automobiles after World War I, but he continued to put his aeronautic expertise to good use; his company specialized in crafting cars of lightweight materials and exhibiting streamlined designs. The C-25 Aerodyne featured a 3-liter sleeve-valve type motor with two carburetors developing 100 horsepower and delivering a top speed of over 85 mph. The transmission was a semiautomatic Cotal. Restoring this Voisin was a labor of love for Peter and Merle Mullin, who had focused much of their collection on French coachwork and Art Deco design; they spared no expense in making certain that even the signature pattern of the interior cloth was faithfully recreated via loom. 'The Voisin is a four-door closed car, so it's actually an unexpected winner,' said Concours Chairman Sandra Button. 'However, the car's remarkable attention to detail brought it forward during the judging and it became a real crowd-pleaser.'

1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo - 2012 Winner

Craig McCaw, Santa Barbara, Ca.

1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo - 2012 Winner

This 1928 marries a spectacular Mercedes-Benz 680S chassis with the latest avant-garde coachwork. Jacques Saoutchik made perhaps a dozen Torpedo Roadster bodies, each differing in their details, and this Mercedes-Benz 680S is thought to be the only remaining survivor of three low-windshield Torpedo Roadsters. The combination of chrome accents with low windshields makes this Torpedo, shown first at the 1928 New York Auto Show, both a sports car and a luxury touring car. 'The car is really everything,' said Concours Chairman Sandra Button in describing the Torpedo's win. 'it has fantastic German engineering, elegant French styling, and a wonderful restoration by Paul Russell. It's a car you can imagine racing as well as touring. It's just a marvelous embodiment of everything that is Mercedes-Benz.' Paul Andrews, the car's owner when it was named Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2012, stressed the whole package: 'There's not a bad line on this car. It was the sports car, the high-performance car of its era, and then Saoutchik gave it style and grace. It has power and it has beauty.'

1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria - 2013 Winner

Rob & Kim Coretz, Tulsa, oklahoma

1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria - 2013 Winner

The Packard Twelve is considered to be one of the finest automobiles produced by Packard and one of the most significant creations of the Classic Era. From 1933 to 1930 over 335,000 examples were produced, and most of these Twelves received factory bodies. Just a handful received custom coachwork by such greats as LeBaron and Dietrich. This unique example has semi-custom features including the distinctive Raymond Dietrich-styled teardrop fenders. Dietrich used a Custom Victoria body as a starting point for the design, which was built by Packard as an in-house special. The car was in the hands of Joseph and Margie Cassini when it was named Best of Show in 2013.

1954 Ferrari 375MM Scaglietti Coupe - 2014 Winner

Private Collection, Geneva, Switzerland

1954 Ferrari 375MM Scaglietti Coupe - 2014 Winner

Many competition versions of the Ferrari 375 MM were built, but this is one of just five road-going cars and probably the most famous. It was ordered by film director Roberto Rossellini, one of Ferrari's best customers, and started life as a Pinin Farina-bodied competition Spyder (0402AM). Rossellini drove it sparingly but then an accident occurred. The original body was beyond saving and the chassis was sent to Carrozzeria Scaglietti in Modena for a replacement. This car became Scaglietti's first passenger car design for Ferrari, a unique and finely sculpted Coupe Speciale. After Rossellini, the car passed to Mario Savona of Palermo and then Charles Robert of Paris in 1970. It was later discovered rather unloved in an underground garage in a Paris suburb, and sold. Jon Shirley first restored the car in 1995, and it won numerous awards, including a First in Class at Pebble Beach in 1998. But subsequent research turned up details of the car that were previously unknown, and Shirley restored it again before bringing it back to Pebble Beach in 2014 when his efforts were rewarded with the top prize - the first given to a postwar car in well over four decades.

1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A F. Ramseier & Cie Worblaufen Cabriolet - 2015 Winner

Jim Patterson, Louisville, Ky.

1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A F. Ramseier & Cie Worblaufen Cabriolet - 2015 Winner

A 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A was acquired by Carrosserie Worblaufen around 1931 and used as the basis for a Sport Cabriolet they had envisioned on the long-wheelbase, 145-inch chassis. The finished car was displayed at the 1932 Geneva Auto Show and won the Grand-Prix d'Honneur at Cannes in 1933. The well-balanced proportions of the chassis, with its long hood and low windshield, belie its true size. And the appearance of the close-coupled body on the long-wheelbase is enhanced by the dual rear-mounted spares. This magnificent car has had only four owners from new; it lived a quiet life in Switzerland and France before coming to North American in 2014. It won top honors at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2015.

1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer - 2017 Winner

Bruce R. McCaw, redmond, Washington

1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer - 2017 Winner

This car was delivered to Mercedes-Benz of London as a Model S before being uprated to full SS specifications, with a 7-liter supercharged engine, and fitted with lightweight tourer coachwork by Barker of London. It was then delivered to a Captain Miller on behalf of Earl Howe, the British racing driver and co-founder of the British Racing Drivers' Club. Howe was a regular Le Man's entrant between 1929 and 1935, and he won the 24-hour race in 1931, driving an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300. He was well known for having one of Europe's finest collections of racing cars, and this SS perfectly suited his sporting lifestyle. This car still retains its original Marchal lighting equipment and chrome-plated wheels, and these are complemented by low-cut door sand unusual torpedo-style running boards containing tools and other ancillary equipment.

1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta - 2018 Winner

David & Ginny Sydorick, Beverly Hills, Ca.

1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta - 2018 Winner

The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 was probably the most technically advanced, modern, and compelling sports car that money could buy in the 1930s, and this particular 8C 2900B (chassis 412020) Lungo Berlinetta with Superleggera coachwork was a seminal work for both Alfa Romeo and Carrozzeria Touring. It was revealed to the world at the 1937 Paris Auto Salon, then appeared at the 1937 Milan Auto Show and the 1938 Berlin Motor Show. It was also featured in many period magazines and in the Alfa Romeo sales brochure, where it was called the 'Coupe Leggero.' It differs from the later 8C 2900 Berlinettas by having a more steeply raked aerodynamic front grille and no running boards. The car is believed to have remained in Germany to the mid-1950s; it was brought to the United States in 1956. This historic Alfa Romeo was first restored in the 1990s and was named Most Elegant Closed Car at the 2001 Pebble Beach Cocnorus d'Elegance. The Sydoricks restored the car to its 1938 Berlin Motor Show specification and took the top award in 2018.

1931 Bentley 8 Litre Gurney Nutting - 2019 Winner

The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, Hong Kong

1931 Bentley 8 Litre Gurney Nutting - 2019 Winner

The Bentley 8 Litre was basically an enlarged version of the Speed Six with a new and lower chassis. Designed to go head-to-head with the new Rolls-Royce Phantom II, the first 8 Litres appeared at the Olympia Motor Show in October 1930 and created a sensation. At the time of the 8 Litre's launch, W.O. Bentley wrote, 'I have always wanted to produce a completely silent, 100 mph car, and now I think we have done it.' Such was the power of the car's 7,983cc, straight-six engine that the company guaranteed ti would be capable of over 100 mph regardless of the coachwork. This Sports Tourer with its dual cowl and detachable rear windscreen is one of the two short chassis 8 Litres built with this particular Gurney Nutting body style. The body of the other car was transferred to a Rolls-Royce Phantom chassis many years ago, making this the sole surviving example. The car has been driven on many tours and rallies over the years and received its first full restoration in 2004. The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie acquired the car in 2010.

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier - 2021 Winner

The Keller Collection at The Pyramids, Petaluma, Ca.

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier - 2021 Winner

With its long, sweeping hood and aerodynamic design recalling the famous Silver Arrow Grand Prix cars that were then dominating racing, the Mercedes-Benz Autobahn Kurier caused a sensation when it was unveiled at the 1938 Berlin Motor Show. It was applauded not only for its styling but also for its advanced engineering and superlative performance, having been built to rule Germany's newly constructed Autobahn. In fact, the very name, Autobahn Kurier, means 'Highway Kurier,' conjuring up images of a speedy and reliable messenger traveling the fastest roads. Germany had led the way in the development of aerodynamic bodywork beginning in the 1920s, when airplane and airship designers, short of work after Germany's defeat in the Great War, applied their expertise to the development of streamlined cars. They soon learned that the optimal shape was that of a teardrop. And their efforts to lower air resistance became apparent when Germany began constructing a nationwide network of roads designed for motorized traffic - moving at high cruising speeds. In total, Mercedes made four 500K and two 540K Autobahn Kuriers, but this is the only one still in existence and still porting its original equipment.

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Past Best of Show Winners at The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Photo credit: Daniel Vaughan
Daniel Vaughanv
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