Are these the eight best cars in the world?
Which do you think will win the title of Best of the Best in the world-renowned Peninsular Classics award? The winner will be announced during the Rétromobile show
The eight finalists for The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award, for the world's most exceptional classic car, have been revealed – and the winner will be announced in Paris on 8 February, during the Rétromobile show.
The eight cars were all winners at leading concours around the world during 2017: Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance; Cavallino Classic; Chantilly Arts & Elégance Richard Mille; Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este; Hampton Court Palace Concours of Elegance; Goodwood Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance; Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance; and The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.
The winner will be selected by a panel of expert judges, listed below, and announced at an exclusive private dinner at The Peninsula Paris on Thursday 8 February 2018. The hotel is the only five-star property in the city with a subterranean garage, so the lower level will also serve as the venue for the exclusive reveal after-party for additional guests following the private announcement.
'We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award to Paris in 2018, which I trust will further promote this distinguished honour on the concours circuit,' said The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, co-founder of the award and Chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, owner and operator of The Peninsula Hotels.
'Concours d’Elegance originated in Paris in the 17th century as a gathering of horse-drawn carriages, and we are delighted to bring the modern-day equivalent back to this beautiful city; a fitting venue for such a distinct honour. The award recognises excellence in masterful craftsmanship, attention to detail, tradition and ingenuity, and we look forward to celebrating the world’s most exceptional motor car at this prestigious event.'
The finalists under consideration for the award are as follows:
1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Spider by Touring
Amelia Island Concours de Sport
One of the most technologically advanced cars of its time, this impeccably restored vehicle belongs to the most sought-after Alfa models of the 1930s. Closely derived from the dominating racing version, with coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, the elegant grand tourer is one of just seven Touring Spiders built on the long-wheelbase 2.9-litre chassis.
1951 Ferrari 212 Export Cabriolet by Vignale, design by Giovanni Michelotti
The Gran Turismo Ferrari Cup, Cavallino Classic
Based on a model constructed primarily for competition, this small-bodied, right-hand-drive, open-top Ferrari was built for the Portuguese Ambassador in France, Jorge da Cunha d’Almeida Araujo. Its simple charm and elegance was brought to fruition by Vignale, after a sketch drawn by consultant stylist Giovanni Michelotti.
1936 Bugatti Type 57 SC Coupé Atlantic, design by Jean Bugatti
Chantilly Arts & Elégance Richard Mille
Powered by a supercharged engine and considered by many to be the first supercar ever made, the iconic rivets on this automobile penned by Jean Bugatti, Ettore’s son, are a result of the inability of the magnesium-alloy body panels to be welded for fear of them catching fire. Under the care of the Mullin Automotive Museum, this car, of which three were made, remains one of the most elegant crown jewels on the automotive circuit.
1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale Prototipo by Bertone, design by Franco Scaglione
Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
The extraordinary dark red streamlined prototype was shown at the Turin Motor Show in 1957. Its historical calibre lies in its famous place as a link between Franco Scaglione’s legendary Alfa Romeo Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica design studies and the production version of the Giulietta Sprint Speciale models that followed. Complementing the fluid body lines was a highly-tuned lightweight aluminium 1.3-litre engine delivering 100 horsepower.
1933/35 Lancia Astura Aerodinamica Coupé by Castagna
Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace
Lancias were brilliantly engineered cars and Vittorio Mussolini, son of Benito, wanted to enter their latest model, the V8-engined Astura, in racing. He ordered a body built by Castagna, initially planned for an Alfa Romeo, to replace the original body fitted on this car after having suitably modified its chassis. This true one-off is now fresh from a seven-year restoration and has recently won several awards on the concours circuit.
1957 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet by Pinin Farina
Goodwood Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance
The 250 series established the Ferrari legend. Berlinettas and spiders dominated racing, whilst coupés and cabriolets were sold to prominent clients who enjoyed their Gran Turismo capabilities and did not mind displaying their wealth. Pinin Farina had become Ferrari’s favourite coachbuilder and penned this supremely elegant open two-seater that was a perfect match for the music of its 3-litre, V12 engine.
1929 Mercedes-Benz S Roadster by Barker
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
This stunning car is the result of German engineering combined with British craftsmanship. Built with lightweight tourer coachwork by Barker of London clothing a Ferdinand Porsche-designed 7-litre supercharged engine, it is the vision of the British race car driver Lord Howe; which explains the striking Curzon Blue hue, the Howe family colour. It has since been restored by the current owner to the exact specifications of the noble family.
1964 ATS 2500 GTS Coupé by Allemano, design by Franco Scaglione
The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering
The ATS is a landmark because it was the first Italian GT mid-engined car. It was developed by ex-Ferrari engineers who had left after a row with Mrs Ferrari. In parallel they ran a Formula 1 team but results were not up to the expectations and backers soon retired. Between seven and ten road cars had been produced, all sporting tasteful Allemano coachwork, of which this is an even rarer lightweight version with a 2.5-litre, V8 engine.
The Best of the Best judges
The 24 judges – experts, designers and notable celebrities in the motoring world – include the following:
- Anne Asensio, who has played an influential and executive role in the automotive industry for nearly 20 years and has won numerous accolades.
- Chris Bangle, best known for his work as chief of design for the BMW Group, where he was responsible for bringing the designs of the BMW, Mini Cooper, and Rolls Royce into the 21st century.
- Peter Brock, best known for his work on the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe and Corvette Sting Ray, now leads Aerovault to manufacture aerodynamically efficient single-car trailers.
- Ian Callum, director of design for Jaguar Cars.
- Ian Cameron, previously serving as design director for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and brand ambassador for BMW Group Classic, Cameron is now a retired aficionado who spends time working on classic cars.
- Luc Donckerwolke, designer for Hyundai Motor Group’s Genesis luxury brand.
- Fabio Filippini, a passionate Italian car designer with a 30-year international career working with Italian, Japanese, French and German car companies. He is best known for his work as chief creative officer at Pinin Farina S.p.A.
- Henry Ford III, the great-great grandson of Ford Motor founder Henry Ford.
- HRH Prince Michael of Kent, a paternal first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, has personal interests in autosport, aviation and travel. He currently holds the Presidency of the Royal Automobile Club, one of the world’s foremost private members’ clubs and the United Kingdom’s oldest and most prestigious motoring organisation.
- Ralph Lauren, global fashion and lifestyle designer, famed within the automotive sector for his world-renowned car collection.
- Jay Leno, acclaimed TV show host on CNBC Television series Jay Leno’s Garage, which debuted in 2015. The show has garnered several Emmy Awards and nominations for Outstanding Special Class Short-format Nonfiction Programs.
- Flavio Manzoni, automobile designer best known for his work at Ferrari, Lancia and Volkswagen. His latest work includes the F12 Tdf (Tour de France), the most extreme version of the F12 Berlinetta, the first Ferrari with four-wheel steering and the GTC4Lusso, introduced at the 2016 Geneva show.
- The Duke of Richmond and Gordon, owner of Goodwood in West Sussex, England’s greatest sporting estate. He is the founder of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival. A highly successful photographer, he is also President of the British Automobile Racing Club.
- Nick Mason, former Pink Floyd drummer and classic car enthusiast. Despite his 50-year career as the drummer in Pink Floyd, Nick has managed to compete regularly in a wide variety of racing events, including five times at Le Mans.
- François Melcion, managing director of Rétromobile chez Comexposium, is regularly invited to judge at concours, including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the former Louis Vuitton Classic, and Chantilly Art & Elegance.
- Gordon Murray, best known for his work as a designer of Formula 1 race cars and the McLaren F1 road car.
- Shiro Nakamura, former senior vice president and chief creative officer for Nissan Motor Corporation.
- Ken Okuyama, widely known for his work as design director for Pinin Farina S.p.A., where he designed and supervised projects such as the Ferrari Enzo and Maserati Quattroporte.
- Adolfo Orsi Jr., a historian of Italian motorsport and staunch advocate of preservation, and judge at many leading concours events.
- Rana Manvendra Singh, a member of the erstwhile royal family of Barwani in Madhya Pradesh, India, is a famed classic and vintage car expert.
- Ratan Tata, best known for his role as chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group.
- Jean Todt, is famed for having led Scuderia Ferrari to win 14 Formula 1 World titles and 106 Grand Prix victories before assuming several esteemed positions within the Ferrari-Maserati Group. Recently re-elected President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), he will now hold this position until 2021.
- Gorden Wagener, chief design officer of Mercedes-Benz and all brands of Daimler AG. Under his leadership, the design philosophy of “Sensual Purity” was created, which is now being continually developed to define modern luxury and express an essential aspect of the brand.
- Edward Welburn, retired from General Motors Design after 44 years of distinctive service, has recently received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the College for Creative Studies for his rich career in design. He has also been inducted in the esteemed Automotive Hall of Fame.
For more about the award visit the Peninsula website.