For the latest classic car news, features, buyer’s guides and classifieds, sign up to the C&SC newsletter here
The Ferrari earned its place in the final with victory at the Cavallino Classic in January 2019 and took on the winners of other top concours events at the final in Paris last night (6 February).
And victory must have been all the sweeter for its owner Andreas Mohringer – the car was one of the losing finalists last year.
It’s been a quite a journey for the Ferrari, which started life in fine fashion with an appearance at the New York International Auto Show in 1959.
It then took to the track at major US circuits including Watkins Glen and Daytona, but a blown motor at Virginia International Speedway in May 1960 led to it being left, unclaimed, at a New York customs facility.
Incredibly, it remained there until 1963 – seemingly the victim of prohibitively high repair costs – until it was bought in April of that year for roughly $1000.
It subsequently moved between owners across the world over the next five decades until Mohringer, its current owner, purchased it in 2013, then commissioned a complete restoration by classic specialists Paul Russell and Company.
The restoration was clearly a success, with the car winning its class at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance then taking Best of Show at the 2018 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, followed by its Best of Show triumph at the Cavallino Classic last year.
It faced stiff competition for the ultimate accolade, with the other seven finalists all having good claims to the title.
Also in the running this year was Robert Kudela’s Figoni et Falaschi-bodied 1948 Talbot-Lago Grand Sport Coupé, star of Classic & Sports Car’s December 2019 issue, which scooped Best of Show at Salon Privé last September.
Nicolas Edel’s 1950 Abarth 205 Monza Berlinetta, which took top honours at last summer’s Goodwood’s Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance, was also a finalist, as was the 1931 Stutz DV32 Convertible Victoria with LeBaron coachwork that was Best of Show at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.
The shortlist was rounded off by Jon Fasal’s 1919 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Torpedo Skiff by Barker, which claimed the biggest prize at Hampton Court Palace’s Concours of Elegance, plus two Bentleys – fittingly, given that last year was the marque’s centenary.
One belongs to the award’s co-founder, Sir Michael Kadoorie, and is a 1931 8 Litre Dual Cowl Tourer bodied by Gurney Nutting that qualified having won at Pebble Beach last summer, while the other is the Chantilly Arts & Elégance-winning 1931 8 Litre Foursome Coupé by Freestone & Webb.
But the judges, including Jay Leno, Nick Mason and Henry Ford III, ultimately decided to make the Ferrari the fifth winner of the prestigious award.
“It is difficult as a judge to choose a winner for The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award because each vehicle has already been selected as one of the best and most prestigious in the world and they’re all immaculate,” said Leno. “For 2019, we selected the Ferrari due to its extremely detailed history, including its racing heritage. Of course, it’s also an incredibly beautiful vehicle.”
And Mohringer was certainly in agreement with that statement: “This Ferrari is the ultimate combination of beautiful Scaglietti coachwork and racing pedigree,” he said. “After restoring this extremely noteworthy car back to its former glory, it is an absolute joy to share it with the world.
“We're thrilled that the judges have recognised how special this vehicle is and it is a great honour to be presented with this prestigious award.”