Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. (August 15, 2017) – At a highly-anticipated private gathering during the famed Monterey Car Week, a 1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta by Pinin Farina, from the Monaco-based Destriero Collection, was named winner of the prestigious second-annual The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award .
Only four Berlinetta-bodied sports cars from Pinin Farina were ever produced, and this exquisite model is considered to be the best preserved, as it is the only one that retains its original chassis and body. Custom ordered by the Roman dealer of the marque, the sports car is based on the very successful 2-liter racing car developed by the Maserati brothers. Its uncompromising sporting style is highly representative of the coachbuilding artistry of the 1950s, helping it win Best in Show at last year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Originally debuted at the 1954 Paris Motor show, the automobile was first owned by Count Alberto Magi Diligenti of Italy, who entered the vehicle in a number of races, including the 1955 Mille Miglia.
Now in its second year, The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award brought together eight of the world’s finest race cars from the top international concours events to compete for the title of the most exceptional car in the world. The prestigious event is sponsored by The Peninsula Hotels, Graff Diamonds, and Rolex.
The founders of the award are each internationally known as some of the world’s foremost motoring experts, and were brought together by their shared passion for fine motor vehicles, impeccable restorations, as well as the preservation of tradition and heritage.
The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, parent company of The Peninsula Hotels, together with award co-founders Christian Philippsen, William E. “Chip” Connor II and Bruce Meyer, created the award that debuted in 2016. Philippsen is regarded as one of the world’s most prominent classic automobile authorities, while Connor leads the world of international vintage car collecting as well as being a passionate amateur race car driver, and Meyer is a founding chairman of the Petersen Automotive Museum. The gentleman each cite a passion for automotive excellence as the inspiration behind the creation of The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award.
“The 1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta is a superb example of the beauty of Pinin Farina’s designs, which are synonymous with the coachwork that epitomizes classic Italian sports cars. The sensitive retention of its originality allows this stunning motorcar to emerge as the most elegant preservation among its 1954 counterparts,” said Sir Michael Kadoorie. “We are thrilled to award this exceptional vehicle with the second annual The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award.”
The winning vehicle was selected after being reviewed by 24 motorcar experts, designers and notable celebrities in the motoring world, including:
- 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, recognized for his work on the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe and Corvette Sting Ray, he now leads his 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, as former Chief Creative Officer at Pinin Farina, Filippini created many award-winning concept cars. His most recent works are the concepts Fittipaldi EF7 Vision Gran Turismo by Pinin Farina and Hybrid Kinetic H600 by Pinin Farina, presented at the Geneva Motor Show in 2017.
- 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, who 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 organization.
- Ralph Lauren, the 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, the 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 Earl of March, the eldest son of the Duke of Richmond, owner of Goodwood in West Sussex and 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 cars, 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 One race cars and the McLaren F1 road car.
- Shiro Nakamura, Former Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer for Nissan Motor Corporation.
- Ken Okuyama, who is 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 well-known auto historian and grandson and son of Adolfo and Omer Orsi, owners of Maserati between 1937 and 1967.
- Rana Manvendra Singh, a member of the erstwhile royal family of Barwani in Madhya Pradesh, India, is a famed classic and vintage car expert in the country.
- Ratan Tata, best known for his role as Chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group.
- Dato Seri Jean Todt, who is famed for having led Scuderia Ferrari to win 14 Formula One World titles and 106 Grand Prix victories before assuming several esteemed positions within the Ferrari-Maserati Group. He was also elected President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) in 2009, and again in 2013.
- Gordon Wagener, the 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, who retired from General Motors Design after 44 years of distinctive service, Welburn 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 prestigious Automotive Hall of Fame.
“I couldn’t be happier that the 1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta won The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award this year,” said Jay Leno. “We were all in agreement that the Maserati deserved the award not only for its astounding display of modern innovation, but also because it has been restored in a way that preserves the design as it was intended to be appreciated, with a precise level of care for its historic and timeless automotive implications.”
The other finalists for the award were as follows:
- 1952 Pegaso Z-102 Berlineta Cúpula: Amelia Island Concours de Sport
- 1960 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Coupé Superfast II by Pinin Farina: The Gran Turismo Ferrari Cup, Cavallino Classic
- 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta by Touring: Chantilly Arts & Elégance Richard Mille
- 1938 Dubonnet Xenia Coupé by Saoutchik: Concours of Elegance UK
- 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Coupé by Bertone: Goodwood Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance
- 1936 Lancia Astura Cabriolet Tipo Bocca by Pinin Farina: Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
- 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Spider by Pinin Farina: The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering
"Classic cars provide a unique display of nostalgia, creative innovation, and preservation,” said Nick Mason, former Pink Floyd drummer and classic car enthusiast. “For me, judging The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award is both a privilege and a passion, and provides a perfect opportunity for displaying these masterpieces in a manner that enthusiasts, aficionados, owners and designers can revel in.”
Following tonight’s announcement, the winning vehicle will be on display and recognized at the 15th annual The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering on August 18, 2017.
The Peninsula Hotels, owned and operated by The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, is proud to sponsor The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award, a natural extension of the group’s passion and appreciation for luxury, travel and the motoring lifestyle. With 10 hotels in global gateway cities throughout Asia, USA and Europe, The Peninsula Hotels celebrate glamour in travel, and aims to showcase the ultimate in sophistication, innovation and design. Known for its timelessly elegant hotels, discreet integration of technology and functionality, and extensive fleet of luxury transport, the group aims to bring its heritage and expertise to celebrate the very best in the world of motoring.
For more information, please visit http://peninsula.com/bestofthebest.
About The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award
The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award is among the top automotive awards in the world. In its milestone development of the international motoring world’s top accolade for most exceptional classic car, The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, launched the award in 2016 with co-founders Christian Philippsen, William E. “Chip” Connor II and Bruce Meyer. The award, sponsored by The Peninsula Hotels, brings together eight of the concours circuits’ elite best of show winners from around the globe.