A bold and impressive 1931 Stutz DV32 LeBaron Convertible Victoria, the only one known to exist, won Best of Show on Sunday at the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance in South Carolina.
Though dampened by the scattered rain showers that rolled in mid-afternoon, the Stutz owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini of West Orange, New Jersey, looked every bit the concours winner as it received its first-place trophy from concours president Carolyn Vanagel.
Cassini’s Stutz won an earlier concours award as Best Rolling Art.
The drizzly weather and dire forecasts of worse to come prompted the concours organizers to shorten the awards program and wrap things up early. But it was a great day nonetheless, with an enjoyably diverse array of more than 200 special collector cars, motorcycles, even some interesting vintage boats displayed on trailers.
The 17th annual Hilton Head Island Concours held up its reputation as an accommodating yet prestigious show of well-selected vehicles, this year with such innovative classes as Life Along the Orient Express featuring a rich selection of elegant cars that might have been driven by passengers who rode on the famous rail line in the 1920s and ‘30s, and through the 1970s.
The winning Stutz looked like the apparent Best of Show victor throughout the day, standing out even among the other exquisite cars in the Rolling Art Salon class of 1925-31 open classics. As it arrived on the podium to receive the prize for best in its class, those in the know were nodding that this was the one.
According to its show placard, the Stutz was originally imported and sold in Argentina, later coming back to the U.S. Its unique features include a “radically raked and shortened folding windshield, only 7 inches high at the center point.” The car also has a 6-foot-long hood, the longest of any known Stutz.
Another top award winner, People’s Choice, selected through spectator ballots, went to a 1929 Ford woody wagon done up as a hunting/fishing camp hauler with a wooden canoe on its roof and a matching tent trailer, owned by Thomas and Donna Fitzgerald. Tom Fitzgerald attracted much attention with his period-appropriate ranger outfit, complete with a rifle and ‘20s radio music, which earned him another award for best male period clothing.
The Fitzgeralds’ woody also was a contender for Best of Show.
Special awards went to renowned car collectors Peter and Merle Mullin of Southern California, who were presented with the 2018 Pinnacle Collectors award, while long-time concours supporter Paul Ianuario of Duncan, South Carolina, was recognized as the 2018 Honored Collector.