A Ferrari rushes into uncharted territory

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The winning 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti coupe rolls through the confetti shower to claim its prize | Bob Golfen
The winning 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti coupe rolls through the confetti shower to claim its prize | Bob Golfen
The winning 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti coupe rolls through the confetti shower | Bob Golfen

Everything seemed pretty normal Sunday afternoon at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, until they announced the winner of Best of Show and the crowd knew that something momentous had just happened.

This year, the judges’ choice for the top prize fell far afield from the convention established over decades, when you could pretty much count on the winner being some lush pre-war classic.

Instead, Best of Show went for the first time to a Ferrari, the brand most valued at the high-end collector-car auctions happening just up the road.

The Ferrari’s body was beautifully hand-crafted | Bob Golfen
The Ferrari’s body was beautifully hand-crafted | Bob Golfen

The winning 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti coupe is a rare and very special car, and it does share the coachbuilt tradition of many Pebble winners. But with that, its victory feels much like passing the torch to a new generation.

“This changes everything,” concours veterans were heard saying as the finely crafted Ferrari rolled up on stage to claim the prize won by so many Packards, Bugattis and Duesenbergs in the past. Like them, the Ferrari is beautiful, graceful and hand-crafted. For today’s car enthusiasts, it is also elegant.

The last time a post-war car was chosen as the Pebble Beach Best of Show was in 1968, and 1954 before that. Pebble Beach sets the tone for all other concours d’elegance, so that now the gates have opened for great Ferraris and similar top-tier cars built after World War II to win Best of Show awards at those events, not just class awards and special prizes.

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Things do change and grow. This award could raise fears that those big older classics might fall by the wayside, so it becomes up to the connoisseurs and champions of great automobiles to make sure that doesn’t happen.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

1 COMMENT

  1. There must be a story here somewhere…but it didn’t get told. Why bother with the financial details when what (I would hope) readers care about is “what about the car”?

    And why are we supposed to give a damn about the “value” of the cars sold, anyway? Is there some kind of auction fan club I haven’t heard about?