In its inaugural year, The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award brought together six of the world’s finest automobiles from top concours events internationally, to compete for the title of the most exceptional car in the world.
The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, together with award co-founders Christian Philippsen, William E. “Chip” Connor II and Bruce Meyer, created this award in the spirit of celebrating the best of what defines the automotive world for the year. Philippsen is known as one of the world’s most prominent classic automobile authorities, Connor leads the world of international vintage car collecting, while also being a passionate amateur race car driver and Meyer is praised for having co-curated one of the premier vintage car collections in the United States at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Each of the founders are widely heralded as some the world’s foremost international motoring experts, brought together by their appreciation of fine motor vehicles, immaculate restoration and the preservation of their heritage.
The results of the Peninsula Classics Best of the Best was the inaugural award went to the 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS. The car Chassis No. 90106 Coupé aérodynamique ‘Goutte d’Eau’, owned by Peter and Merle Mullin and The Peter Mullin Automotive Museum Foundation was named winner of the prestigious award.
The 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS, Chassis No. 90106 was originally purchased by Woolf Barnato, a financier and Le Mans winning driver who went on to be the chairman of Bentley, and was later raced by American Grand Prix champion Phil Hill in 1978 at the Pebble Beach road races. The T150-C SS is an incredible example of both Art Deco styling and French technological innovation during the interwar period. The Goutte d’Eau featured a powerful 4.0 liter inline six with hemispherical combustion chambers that made it among the most powerful sports cars of its day. It also used the technologically fascinating Wilson pre-selector gearbox which allowed drivers to select what gear they wanted to be in for the exit of a corner, for example, and then merely dip the clutch to shift gears when they were ready.
The Goutte d’Eau’s famous body was designed by French coachbuilder Figoni et Falaschi to resemble the teardrop, a shape that they considered to be perfect. This coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi was previously the “Best in Show” winner at the Goodwood Cartier Style et Luxe and had won prizes at every major concours in pre-war Europe.
“It has been said that the look of the Talbot-Lago Teardrop epitomized speed, aerodynamic efficiency and elegance. Its form was perfect for an object in motion, resembling raindrops as they fall to earth,” said Kadoorie. “We are delighted to have awarded this exceptional motor car with the inaugural The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award.”
The winning automobile was selected after being reviewed by 24 preeminent motorcar experts, designers and notable celebrities in the motoring world.
“I’m thrilled that Peter’s car won this year’s Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award,” said Jay Leno. “The judges were all in agreement that the Talbot deserved the award not only for its incredible look, but because Peter’s cars are always restored as originally intended to a precise level of historic time and detail, and that’s what makes the Talbot so special.”
The other finalists for the award were as follows:
· 1930 Cord L29 Brooks Stevens Speedster: Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
Before taking home Best of Show at the 20th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, this hot rod was heralded as defining the mid-century American aesthetic in the automotive industry.
· 1903 Mercedes 60HP Simplex: Royal Concours of Elegance
The Mercedes is one of only four in existence today, having been preceded by the Mercedes 35hp, which had once been the fastest production car in the world. It remains Mercedes’ top of the range model and was named Best in Show at the Royal Concours of Elegance.
· 1932 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Sport Cabriolet: Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Best in Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2015, this magnificent car has had only four owners from new, and it has lived a quiet life in Switzerland and France its entire life until coming to North America in 2014.
· 1965 Ferrari 166 P / 206 SP Dino 0834: Cavallino Classic
Having most recently won the coveted Scuderia Ferrari Cup for Best of Show at the Cavallino Classic, this one-of-a-kind Dino was first entered by Scuderia Ferrari in 1965 and raced by Giancarlo Baghetti and later by Ludovico Scarfiotti to many wins over its long history.
· 1968 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale: The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering
This model was derived from the Alfa Romeo 33/2 racing cars with the goal of creating a sports car staying as true to its racing heritage as possible. The Stradale is fitted with a 2 liter DOHC V8 producing 230 BHP, while the chassis was extended 10 centimeters for additional driver comfort from the 33/2. Since its restoration in 2004, this Tipo 33 Stradale has won four top honors, including Best in Show at the 2015 The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.
“To be honored with this award is wonderful. It absolutely justifies our commitment to sharing this wonderful car and others with the public,” said Peter Mullin, chairman of the board of directors of the Petersen and founder and chairman of the Mullin Automotive Museum. “The list of judges for this award is filled with individuals I know and greatly respect and we couldn’t be happier that they selected our Talbot as the first winner of what is surely going to become one of the most coveted awards in Monterey.”
The Talbot-Lago T150-C SS ‘Goutte d’Eau’ will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in the Mullin Grand Salon.