Another Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has come and gone, and another Best of Show winner has been etched into the history books. While the 2014 winner, a 1953 Ferrari 375MM coupe by Scaglietti brought speculation that the time has finally come for postwar models to take the spotlight, this year’s winner, a 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Cabriolet brought the event back to it roots, and lavished attention on a gorgeous, bespoke machine built in a time before movies had sound.
While the number of postwar cars continues to grow, including the Ferrari Preservation Class, and a class for period-correct customs (including the gorgeous Leo Lyons Mercury coupe), the big winners were the big, historically-accurate down to the finest detail cars that have spent decades in the care of only the most blue-blooded enthusiasts.
That said, the Concours d’Elegance is one of the most impressive auto shows in the world, and this year’s show was one for the ages. From the 200 invite-only cars on display, here are five of the show’s top winners.
1. 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Cabriolet
While this imposing Cabrio took home top honors this weekend, it wasn’t the first time the car wowed judges. It was brought to Switzerland in 1931, where it was rebodied by coachbuilder Carrosserie Worblaufen. When the work was finished in 1933, the 22-foot long car was shown at the Geneva Motor Show, and won the Grand-Prix d’Honneur in Cannes later that year. In the years before World War II, Isotta Fraschini was one of the world’s most prestigious automakers, with a strong following among Hollywood’s first generation of stars. After the war however, I-F faltered, and left the auto business. Today, its cars are among some of the most sought after prewar classics.
2. 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Kellner Torpedo Phaeton
The Silver Ghost is the car that made Rolls-Royce the company it is today. Advertised at the time as “The Best Car in the World,” this Antique Class-winning Silver Ghost had a custom body by French coachbuilder Kellner, and looked as good as it did when it rolled out of the workshop 101 years ago.
3. 1937 Delahaye 145 Franay Cabriolet
While the Isotta Fraschini may have taken top honors, few other cars on the 18th fairway attracted as much attention as this gorgeous Delahaye, which won in the “European Classic Late” category and was also up for Best of Show. This 145 model car began life as a Gran Prix racer, retired when it became obsolete, and was kept by the French automaker all through World War II. After the war, it was bought by coachbuilder Franay and transformed into this gorgeous roadster.
4. 1953 Abarth 1100 Sport Ghia Coupe
Before it was reduced to a trim level on Fiats, Abarth was a thriving automaker and tuner that competed against the likes of Ferrari. The Postwar Early class-winning 1100 was designed by the legendary design house Ghia – before it too became a trim level on Fords.
5. 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Vanvooren Cabriolet
This Bugatti lost to the Delahaye in the “European Classic Late” category, but won the French Cup, an award representing the most historically-significant car of French origin. Every Bugatti is special, but this one was commissioned by the French government and presented to the Shah of Iran as a wedding present in 1939. After the Shah sold the car in 1959, it changed hands several times before being bought by the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
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