Race trio leads The Peninsula Classics 2020 Best of the Best
A quartet of nominees has been announced for The Peninsula Classics 2020 Best of the Best, the award’s sixth running. Winners from the world’s most prestigious concours vie for the ultimate accolade, but the widespread cancellation of events means that the 2020 shortlist is reduced from eight to four. With two post-war racers among them, it has a very different look to previous years.
First to achieve concours glory in 2020 was the1954 Ferrari 750 Monza that scooped Best of Show at the Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach, Florida, in January. Owned by Tom Peck, the 3-litre prototype was bodied by Scaglietti and topped the ‘Competition and Touring’ class at the all-Ferrari concours. The second finalist, a dashing 1929 Duesenberg Model J Town Limousine owned by the Lehrman Collection, was also crowned Best of Show in Florida, this time at Amelia Island in March.
The straight-eight J-218 is one of several examples that resulted from a collaboration between coachbuilder Murphy and wealthy Californian heir and playboy Captain George Whittell Jnr, with an angled windscreen, a polished aluminium beltline splitting the dramatic white roof from the black body, and vents on the bonnet.
The third finalist was the first Porsche to claim overall victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours, achieving that feat in 1970 piloted by Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood. Half a century after its famous win, the flat-12 917K triumphed again when it was awarded Best of Show at the Concours of Elegance held at Hampton Court Palace, London, in September. It was the first major concours and Peninsula Best of the Best-qualifying event since the enforced lockdown. Undoubtedly a richly deserving winner, but for a post-1960 car – and a competition one at that – to claim overall honours would be a bold, but also very welcome choice.
Just a few weeks later at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Salon Privé bestowed its Best of Show trophy upon the 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza Spider by Zagato, in which Tazio Nuvolari won the 1932 Coppa Principe di Piemonte for Scuderia Ferrari. The final car to join the Peninsula Classics 2020 Best of the Best line-up, chassis number 2111044 is powered by a supercharged straight-eight engine.
There is history in a competition car winning the illustrious prize: 2019’s victor was the 1958 Ferrari 335S ‘Super Testa Rossa’. Nor is the Alfa 8C a stranger to the trophy, after David Sydorick’s 8C-2900B Berlinetta won in 2018.
The Best of the Best was founded in 2015 by The Hon Sir Michael Kadoorie, and this year’s 25 judges include Gordon Murray and Jay Leno. The winning car will be announced on 9 February 2021.
Clockwise from left: historic Le Manswinning Porsche from The Monteverde Collection; Duesenberg Model J Town Limo; Ferrari 750 Monza could make it back-toback Cavallino wins; ex-Nuvolari Alfa Romeo
‘There is history in a competition car winning the illustrious prize: the 2019 victor was the 1958 “Super Testa Rossa” Ferrari 335S’