The 2013 Best in Show winner at the 63rd running of the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance was a truly unique 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini of West Orange, NJ. This gave its owners their second win at what is to be considered the world’s most exclusive and competitive car show, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car’s owners, previously won the best of show award in 2004, with their 1938 Horch 853A Erdmann & Rossi Sport Cabriolet. Apart from a 2007 win by the 1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster known as the Mormon Meteor, this win marks the first for an American car in nearly twenty years.
The car itself a giant open touring car, as it features a 140 plus inch wheel base was a one-of-a-kind car. The Packard not only has the rare Dietrich Convertible Victoria custom bodywork but the body was further customized by the first owner, who specified teardrop fenders and dual rear-mounted spare tyres. The engine a pristine, L-head V12 engine rated at around 150 horsepower was certainly more of a stroller than a sprinter.
“That makes this win even more special,” said Joseph Cassini III. “It’s nice to see that even the European judges found this car significant enough to win Best of Show.”
“This Packard is the epitome of American style and grace in the Classic Era; it embodies that period,” said Concours Chairman Sandra Button. “It is understated but elegant, and it has a striking but quiet presence. When it drove onto our show field this morning, and I stepped forward to greet the Cassinis, I could barely hear the engine running.”
“This win is more emotional,” Cassini told the event’s organisers, comparing the win with his 2004 success. “This is the Olympics of car shows, and you would never think you could win the Olympics twice.”
The Cassinis bought the car in pieces in 2010 and in that time it had been meticulously restored with over 10,000 hours of restoration work. The car was deemed best of show after excelling in the judging areas of authenticity and originality, and the more subjective areas of styling, design and elegance. Best of show was not the only award this car won at Pebble – the Packard also took home the ribbon for most elegant convertible.
The judging process at the Pebble Beach Concours is two-fold: Class Judges focus primarily on originality and authenticity, while Honorary Judges direct their attention to design, styling and elegance. To be eligible to win Best of Show–the event’s top award–a car must first win its class.
The Cassini’s Packard Twelve began to turn heads and gain notice in the competition when it participated in a related event, the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex.
Other nominees for Best of Show included a 1932 Lincoln KB Murphy Roadster owned by John and Heather Mozart of Palo Alto, California; a 1934 Hispano-Suiza J12 Vanvooren Coupé owned by The Honorable Sir Michael Kadoorie of Hong Kong; and a 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Van den Plas Belgium Torpedo owned by Dr. Terry Bramall CBE of Harrogate, England.
Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, also had a good day at Pebble Beach. His 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Pinin Farina Berlinetta won him the Enzo Ferrari Trophy.
The Pebble Beach week is about far more than people winning awards it is a celebration of motoring, which was reflected this year in a display featuring 30 of the 110 remaining Alfa Romeo 8Cs gather on the lawn at Pebble Beach. This was the largest recorded gathering of these iconic sports cars ever assembled. With the ending of Pebble Beach the cars will then head off on a challenging 1,000-mile tour of the Rocky Mountains.
Of the original 230 Alfa Romeo 8Cs built between 1931 and 1939, a total of 110 remain in existence. These Alfa Romeo’s hail from some of the most highly regarded car collections in the world and their owners are some of the most respected collectors in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
After the Pebble Beach Concours, the Alfas headed to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and began a special Alfa Romeo 8C Tour of the Rockies organized by enthusiast Tom Price of Belvedere, California. The tour took them up to British Columbia, Alberta, through Glacier National Park and along Going-to-the-Sun Road before concluding in Whitefish Lake, Montana.
Rare and valuable, the Alfa 8C has a reputation as the ultimate race car of its time. Created by Vittorio Jano, chief engineer at Alfa Romeo, the avant-garde design for the 8C featured an 8-cylinder, 2300 cc engine comprising two blocks of four cylinders with a single camshaft drive mounted between them. The four-speed manual gearbox and a Roots-type supercharger married agility with strength, and the resultant power-plants were bodied by coachbuilders, including Zagato, Touring, Figoni and Pinin Farina.
One interesting thing to note about the event is that if a car is invited by organizers to be shown, it will not be eligible for another 10 years. Which helps make it interesting for yearly attendees. Tonight Show host Jay Leno made a guest appearance at the event, offering tickets to his show and tours of his Big Dog Garage and quickly raised $25,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County.
This year’s event showcased nearly 250 cars from 36 states and 12 countries and raised $1,277,007 for charity and remember the 64th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance will take place on Sunday, August 17, 2014.