1934 Packard Dietrich & 1937 Talbot-Lago teardrop coupe share
‘Best of Show’ honors
Seeing as Detroit is America’s automotive hub, and America is responsible for building a giant percentage of the world’s automobiles, it only makes sense that the Motor City would host a premier show of automobiles. After all, some of the world’s most premier automobiles have Detroit roots.
Indeed, the greater Detroit area hosts one of the world’s top-ranking concours d’elegance events. 38 years ago, Don Summer and others began hosting a concours at Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester, Mich. Several years, that concours begun by Summer became the Concours d’Elegannce of America when it moved to The Inn at St. John’s In Plymouth, Mich., a fitting venue near Detroit for the worldly vehicles that compete for Best of Show each July.
The Concours d’Elegance of America crowns two Best of Show winners each year, and on July 31, 2016, the 1934 Packard 1108 convertible victoria by Dietrich owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini from West Orange, N.J., took American Best of Show honors. And why wouldn’t it? This car received a confetti shower in August 2015 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance when it deservedly took Best of Show there. It had debuted at Pebble Beach with the magic combination that concours events seek when bestowing Best of Show honors: it was a racy, one-off design; it had not been seen by the vast majority of the hobby in decades (in fact, few people knew this pontoon-fendered Dietrich had even been built); and it sported a stunning restoration by a respected restoration facility (in this case, RM Restorations). So wonderful is the car, it deserved another round of accolades.
Back at the Concours d’Elegance of America, the European Best in Show award went to the 1937 Talbot-Lago Type 150CSS roadster by Figoni et Falaschi owned by J.W. Marriott From Bethesda, Md. The description is a bit of a misnomer, as this Figoni et Falaschi design is actually what we Yanks consider to be a teardrop coupe, a design that always pleases the concours crowd and any other connoisseur of automobile design with a pulse.
“The two Best in Show recipients reflect the overall quality and one-of-a-kind vehicles that were on display at the 2016 Concours d’Elegance of America,” said Larry Moss, Chairman. “An estimated crowd of almost 15,000 had the opportunity to see close to 300 rare and outstanding vehicles that they may never have the opportunity to see again.”
We were on the field to help judge the Jet-Age Travel Truck category, but also snapped other contenders and share them here with you:
Best of Show at the 2016 Concours d’Elegance of America at The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, Mich., went to this duo, a 1934 Packard convertible victoria by Dietrich with one-off pontoon-type fenders and the 1937 Talbot-Lago 150 CSS with “teardrop coupe” coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi.
The domestic Best of Show winner was this 1934 Packard with convertible victoria coachwork by Dietrich. It was displayed in a class of Dietrich-bodied Packard and Lincoln automobiles.
The Dietrich class was bookended by uber rare 1934 Packard coupes. Note how each of these Dietrich-bodied cars, regardless of body style or chassis, wears the split V windshield that was essentially the trademark of a Dietrich-built car during the 1930s. The split windshield on a Dietrich-built car automatically places the price tag of a Packard such as this into the six-figure range.
William Parfet’s Dietrich-bodied 1932 Lincoln KB coupe. In my opinion, the most elegant body on the most elegant Lincoln model of the Classic era. Note the second Dietrich-bodied 1934 Packard coupe at this year’s concours.
Jim Patterson was recognized by the concours this year as the collector of the year and as such, several of his elegant Art Deco cars were displayed, including the 1939 Bugatti Type 57A Aravis with coachwork by Voll and Buhrbeck. The car is unique, from the body design to the waterfall radiator grille that deviates from the typical Type 57 grille. When new, it was used by famous Olympic skater Sonja Heine.
Rear view of the 1939 Bugatti 57A Aravis.
Mr. Patterson’s incredibly beautiful 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalanta, which won the Concours d’Elegance of America’s Best of Show (Foreign) in 2015.
Another car from the Patterson collection, the 1936 Delahaye 135M Figoni et Falaschi. Any car from the Patterson collection is a concours Best of Show candidate today, and also when it was new.
Patterson’s 1933 Delage D8S by deVillars was a past Old Cars Weekly cover car the year it was called Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Jim Patterson’s 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A.
Just two 1932 Chrysler Imperial Custom CL sedans were originally built with a division window, and this is one of them. Owner Paul Engelmann had his work cut out for him when he took on the restoration of this beautiful close-coupled sedan. It had been used as a source of parts car for three different restorations when Engelmann took it on. He completed the restoration just in time for this year’s Concours d’Elegance of America.
A stunning 1931 Marmon Sixteen. LeBaron provided the coachwork for all the Marmon factory designs. This stunning black example is owned by Mike and Joan Huffman.
A stately 1931 Cadillac 452 Fleetwood Imperial, the “Imperial” indicating this sedan has a division window so it can be chauffeur driven.
A racy 1927 Stutz Blackhawk speedster owned by Pete Todo.
This enormous 100-year-old 1916 Locomobile 48 Locke-bodied “three-passenger sedan” is actually a type of coupe. For 1916, the body design was very modern and very sporty, albeit very much overkill for carrying just three or fewer people.
The Franay-bodied 1933 Duesenberg sedan that was once owned by the equally flashy Countess Porceri, who gave herself the name “The Queen of Diamonds” owing to the generous amount of stones she regularly wore.
A 1938 Talbot-Lago T23 with coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi. Thsi car was built by the same coachbuilding firm that creating this year’s Best of Show winner at the Concours d’Elegance of America, but notice the headlamps are not fared into the fenders and the roof is not as teardrop-shaped as the Best of Show winner.
This is why they don’t let me determine the “Best of Show” honors. Yes, I’d pick this 1935 Hupmobile Aerodynamic coupe in a heartbeat. The Raymond Loewy design is a symphony of curves that sings to me. I’ve long been a fan of these, even though last weekend was the first time I had seen one in the steel.
The beautiful profile of the 1935 Hupp.
The Canadian market Ford convertible for 1956, the Meteor Rideau, is still called a Sunliner north of the border. This one was brought by Neil and Lois Porter.
One of the handful of Hess and Eisenhardt-built 1956 Continental Mark II convertibles. Should it have been been a Continental catalog offering?
A beautiful 1959 GMC 100 Carryall Suburban wagon owned by John A. Lostracco. I is powered by a 270-cid six-cylinder. Note the accessory hood ornament, which is similar to the 1955 Olds unit.
The only all-black version of the 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta, of which only 458 were built. Too bad there weren’t more built, and in this color!
Owners Jim and Cathy Holcomb believe this 1963 Corvair Rampside has worn its San-Cruiser camper since new. Holcomb bought the Rampside truck with the intention of ripping off the camper, but it was so kitschy, he decided to keep it. Now he and his wife camp in it during events with a vintage camper group even though it isn’t especially comfortable. Since the camper is in the way of the rear engine access panel, a panel has been made in the rear floor of the camper. Perhaps that explains why so few (if any other) Rampsides were fitted with this camper body.
In celebration of the 1-2-3 finish of Ford GT-40s at Le Mans, the concours set up this incredible display.
This 1971 Plymouth GTX with a super rare sunroof was discovered in a Des Moines salvage yard during 1993 by owners Jeff and Vickie Saewert, who undertook its restoration.
Buick tired of its self-imposed modesty during the muscle car era and threw its Saturn Yellow GSX in front of muscle car buyers for 1970. Years later Tom Abrams joined Buick’s torque party and bought this GSX, which came standard with Buick’s famously torquey 455-cid V-8 that was among the most awesome powerplants of the era.
The drag car class at the Concours d’Elegance of America at the Inn at St. John’s included several big names from the peak of the door-slammer era. This 1971 Challenger pro-stock was famously raced as the Motown Missile by Don Carlton and is now owned by Arnie Klann. In truth, this Challenger was one of many missiles in Carlton’s all-MoPar stable. The 1971 Mercury Comet pitted nose-to-nose against the Motown Missile is one of the cars of famed racer Barrie Poole, who raced it with a 429CJ engine.