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The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award – the ultimate best in show

Greg Kachadurian August 10, 2016 All Things Hoon 17 Comments

In our rich and diverse car culture, there are thousands of car shows that bring some of the best cars from the past and present to the limelight. Among those shows, the most pristine examples of the finest cars on earth are always at the world’s top concours events. The things that can turn up at a proper concours event can bewilder and amaze like nothing else can. Typically those events will crown a best in show to recognize a single car as the most exceptional machine among an already exceptional collection of cars. This year’s Monterey Car Week will have plenty of concours with plenty of best in shows, but one concours event will take that concept to a much higher level.

The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award will be presented at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering on August 19th and it’ll be a literal best of the best show. They’re bringing in six best in shows from top concours events around the world onto the same lawn to compete for the ultimate best in show. They’ll have 23 industry legends on hand who will be charged with the daunting task of picking a single best of the best in show and essentially naming the finest car in the world.

Some details on the six cars in the running for this award are past the jump. They’re phenomenal.

Six of the finest cars from around the world, each with a best in show from a top concours event under its belt, will be judged by 23 prominent figures in the automotive world; such names like Peter Brock, Ian Callum, Gordon Murray, Ralph Lauren, Jay Leno, Fabio Filippini (Design Director of Pininfarina), Shiro Nakamura (Senior VP of Nissan), Henry Ford III, and more will be on hand. These are the cars they’ll be judging:

1903 Mercedes 60HP Simplex

1903 Mercedes 60HP Simplex: only four currently exist and it originally replaced the Mercedes 35hp, which was once the fastest production car in the world. This example was named best in show at the Royal Concours of Elegance.

1932 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Sport Cabriolet

1932 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Sport Cabriolet: this car was best in show at least year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and it’ll be coming back for a second helping. It’s only changed hands four times since it was new. It resides in North America now but had previously lived a quiet life in Switzerland and France.

1930 Cord L29 Brooks Stevens Speedster

1930 Cord L29 Brooks Stevens Speedster: this hot rod was crowned best in show at last year’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and was heralded as defining the mid-century American aesthetic in the automotive industry.

1937 Talbot-Lago T150C SS ‘Goutte d’Eau’

1937 Talbot-Lago T150C SS ‘Goutte d’Eau’: this car made Teardrops cool. It’s won prizes at every major concours in pre-war Europe and has won some top-level races. It redefined automtive style and motivated many other French designers to adopt a similar streamlined design.

1965 Ferrari 166 P 206 SP Dino 0834

1965 Ferrari 166 / 206 SP Dino 0834: this one-of-a-kind Dino won the coveted Scuderia Ferrari Cup for Best of Show at the Cavallino Classic. It first competed in 1965 by Scuderia Ferrari and was piloted by Giancarlo Baghetti and later by Ludovico Scarfiotti to many wins over its long career.

1968 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale

1968 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale: returning to its home turf is last year’s best in show at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. The Tipo 33 Stradale was derived from the Alfa Romeo 33/2 race cars with the goal of creating a sports car staying as true to its racing heritage as possible. It’s powered by a 2-liter DOHC V8 with 230 horsepower and has an extended chassis for driver comfort.

So those are the six best cars from the world’s top concours events competing for The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award. The winning vehicle will be chosen next Tuesday before being shown at The Quail on Friday at one of the biggest events in Monterey Car Week.

Obviously they’re all spectacular, but are you able to narrow it down to one? I can’t.

[Source: Signature Events]

  • Sean McMillan

    That Talbot Lago to me absolutely defines automotive beauty. If I ever made it to a concours with that on display they’d have to take out a restraining order.

    • Rover 1

      You can buy a Lincoln LS/Jaguar V8 powered replica, and if you want, also the company that makes them.

      • Alff

        A few years back Talbo advertised itself (body molds and spares, mostly) for sale in Hemmings. I think the price was around $150K.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Seems legit. I’ll send the car carrier around tomorrow. I love the brass era for the persistence, and those Italians because, well just look at them…

  • Rover 1

    Robert Cumberford, the designer, columnist, and sometime judge at Pebble Beach Concours wrote a very good article on that Isotta Fraschini and how there was now a trend to ‘over restore’ and subtley modify these cars to bring them into line with current tastes on proportions.

    His chief point being that cars, then, didn’t sit nearly as low as that. The axle line should really be even with the running boards. And chromed wheels in the 1930s ?

    And as a Rover P6 fan, I have to point out that Graber, the Swiss coachbuilder who built that body made his last car on the basis of a P6-punctuating the long line of Alvis special bodied cars he’d made,(after Rover absorbed Alvis)

    • Alff

      Lowering is a concession to modernity I’d make in a daily driven 1932 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Sport Cabriolet

    • Robert Cumberford once accused me, in print, of possessing “cool confidence.” Ever since then I’ve considered his judgment to be suspect.

    • Sjalabais

      I read your comment this morning and kept thinking about it several times over the course of the day. The Isotta Fraschini would doubtless have received my vote for the most interesting car here, but lowering it is like tempering with art – cutting Mona Lisa’s hair does change too much, even if the goofy smile is in place. And we can’t have a stanced car as the world’s “best”.

      So, yes, that was an interesting bit of information right there.

  • Sjalabais

    Here’s a poll:

    I know these cars never meant as a democratic exercise, but still…it’s a competition!

    • Sjalabais

      The restless masses have voted:

  • nanoop

    One of those cars is actually being driven, and the folks on board look like they’re having fun.

  • I think these pageants are pointless. The definition of best is, like, your opinion, man. We don’t need a trophy for some arbitrary ‘winner’ any more than we need trophies for everybody. All it does is manufacture conflict, and distract from appreciating these outstanding works of human hands and minds.

    And it’s not like any of them have a chance against the Alfa anyway.
    As if.

    • Drift Truck!!! DRIFT TRUCK!!1!!!!

    • Rover 1

      And yet that Alfa was rebodied six times on five chassis with other epochal bodies that set design trends
      Bertone’s Carabo.1968.Gandini as stylist.


      Pininfarina’s Coupe Speciale.1969. Fioravanti as stylist.



      Ital Design Iguana. 1969. Guigiaro as stylist.



      Pininfarina Cuneo. 1971.based on the same chassis, No. 108 and replacing the earlier coupe


      Pininfarina Coupe. 1968. rebodied as the Cuneo later. Paolo Martin as stylist.


      Bertone Navajo. 1976.

    • Alff

      In with the Alfa. As they doubtlessly say at an event like this, I like the cut of your jib.

    • 0A5599

      Definitely not pointless. The costs are significant to acquire, maintain, and show a concours-quality car. They tend to be owned by a couple different types of people: those who have net worths measured with two (or three) commas, and those who earn a living finding, restoring, and eventually selling these cars to the people in the first group.
      The people in the first group can afford to buy pretty much anything they desire. But not a trophy (if the judges are untainted). The only way to get one is to compete for it. And that brings this rolling artwork out to a place accessible to the public instead of staying hidden securely deep inside a warehouse-sized vault.
      Oh, that part about not being able to buy a trophy is only partially true. You can buy a car that already won it. Expect to pay dearly, though. And that’s what encourages the guys in the second group to ferret out cars that have been forgotten in barns for decades, meticulously research the history, bring them back to life, and put them on display.
      So perhaps a few people will return to their mansion arbitrarily without a Best of the Best trophy to show off to their trophy wife. But we’ll all be better off for them having tried.

  • outback_ute

    Late to the party here, but several years ago I saw a Ferrari Dino race car like the one above in the pits and on track at Phillip Island; by comparison the normal road-going Dino looks bloated. Mind you all of these cars are pretty fantastic, on the road car front the Cord looks like it could be a lot of fun.

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