Photo credit: Peninsula, Hampton Court, Amelia Island, Salon Privé, Hampton Court
5th edition 2019: Ferrari 335 S Spyder
At the gala party held at the Peninsula Hotel in Paris during the famous Retromobile event, the Best of The Best Award 2019 was presented to the youngest of eight competitors who in turn, represented the very best of the international Concours d'Elegance. Although the winner was relatively young compared to the other competitors, it was actually a sixty-year-old Ferrari 335 S, bodied by Scaglietti and built by Ferrari specifically for sports races (hence the ‘S’ designation which stands for Sport, not Spider).
Presented at the 1959 New York Motor Show, the car had a livery that was far from the traditional Italian racing red and, after a masterful restoration by Paul Russell for its Austrian owner, Andreas Mohringer, it had no rivals.
2019 Best of the Best Award winner: 1958 Ferrari 335 S Spyder, coachwork by Scaglietti
The remaining two cars from the post-war era, both of which have significant historical value, were the Abarth Berlinetta 205 from 1950, one of the very first cars from this marque, and the Talbot Lago T26 from 1948. The other five cars, all from the pre-war period, were exceptional in their own right. The brands, including two Bentleys, a Rolls Royce, a Mercedes Benz, and a Stutz, require no introduction. As per tradition, the guests of the Gala were given a complimentary plate with the image of the winning car. This souvenir, along with those from previous years, has become a cult item for collectors.
Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupé Coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi Best of Show at Salon Privé 2019 1950 Abarth 205 Berlinetta Coachwork by Vignale, design by Michelotti Best of Show at Goodwood Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance 2019 1919 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Torpedo Skiff Coachwork by Barker Best of Show at Hampton Court Concours of Elegance 2019
6th edition 2020: Ferrari 750 Monza
Despite the pandemic causing a reduction in the number of entries for the Concours d'Elegance, the Peninsula’s Best of The Best Award was still presented to a car of significant historical interest. The winner of the prestigious Palm Beach Cavallino Classic competition, which is “reserved” for Ferraris, was the 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza, a masterpiece created by the coachbuilder Sergio Scaglietti. The car, which was painted in an unusual colour for a Ferrari but nonetheless looked stunning. It was the clear favourite among the other entries.
2020 Best of the Best Award winner: 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza
The competitors in the race were formidable. The Porsche 917 KH, a dominant force in endurance racing during the late 1960s, the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza bodied by Zagato in 1931, which is considered an authentic collector’s icon, and the Duesenberg Model J from 1929, all had the potential to come out on top.
The strength of the 750 Monza, which now belongs to Tom and Jill Peck, who had it restored to its original livery as it participated in the 1954 Carrera Panamericana, is also evident in its details. Complete and exhaustive documentation, including period photographs, owners’ manual and Ferrari Classiche certification, gave the car an aura of magic that only the best stories possess. It was also driven by a famous driver whose name will forever be linked to the saddest page of the Mille Miglia, Alfonso de Portato, who drove it to success in overseas races.
969 Porsche 917 KH Coupé Best of Show at Hampton Court Concours of Elegance 2020 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza Spider Coachwork by Zagato Best of Show at Salon Privé 2020 1929 Duesenberg Model J Town Limousine Coachwork by Murphy Best of Show at Amelia Island 2020
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