It is good. There is better. And then there’s the best. But what about the best of the best? That’s something we know a lot about Robb report. Embodying the tippy top of most successful winners is tough business, a task Peninsula Hotels takes seriously by crowning the top of the league at Monterey Car Week each year from their Quail Lodge & Golf Club property in rural Carmel Valley nominate classic cars from the best concourses in the world, California.
This time around, the selection is predictably epic, covering an eclectic range of exceptional vehicles. First up: the 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione, which received the Best of Show award at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. This nimble Rapscallion is one of nine built and took part in the Mille Miglia just five days after it was delivered.
Next up is another Silver Fox from Maranello, the 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France, originally owned by racer Pierre Noblet. Despite – or more likely because of – its extensive racing history between 1958 and 1960, the car was purchased in 1975 for a whopping $1,500. A full restoration (and many years) later, the Ferrari won the Best in Show award at the Cavallino Classic.
On the even snappier side is the 1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale, which is one of just 500 road cars built for World Rally Championship homologation. Restored by Carrozzeria Dino Cognolato, this HF received the top prize at the Goodwood Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance and is widely regarded as one of the finest examples in the world.
Three of this year’s finalists are 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 Ks, indicating the model’s vaunted status in the concours microcosm. The Mercedes-Benz 540 K Autobahn-Kurier, tuned for high speed, is unique in the world and won the 70th placethPebble Beach Concours d’Elegance; the Mercedes-Benz 540 K Spezial Roadster features a soft top and suicide doors (not to mention its Best of Show award at The Quail, a motorsport meetup); Rounding out the wealth of Mercedes-Benz is the 540 K Cabriolet A, whose supercharged inline-8 engine gave it an impressive triple-digit top speed, which didn’t diminish its chances of winning the Best in Show at the Salon Privé competition.
From the top spot at the Amelia Island Concours comes a stately 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet whose varied ownership history includes the King of Tunisia, founder of the 12 Hours of Sebring and a Long Island postman. Last but not least is the 1934 Avions Voison Type C27 Aérosport Coupé, one of only two C27s built. Miraculously saved from being sold as scrap metal, this example was restored in 2004 by Dominique Tessier, who recreated the Hampton Court Palace Concours winner from just three reference photos of the original.
Which of these exquisite vehicle specimens will stand atop this impossibly elegant dog poo of classics? Tune in on Sunday, August 14th to find out which of these most exquisite finalists will receive the Best of the Best award.
Click here to see all photos of the Peninsula Classics finalists.