Once unclaimed 1958 Ferrari takes ‘Best of Best’ honors

335 S Spyder with racing provenance and concours trophies adds Peninsula hotels-sponsored title at Retromobile

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This 1958 Ferrari 335 S Spyder went from race tracks to being left unclaimed in a customs facility, but has been restored and judged the 'Best of the Best' of concours d'elegance winners | Peninsula awards photos by Peter Signhof

A car that has done well both on the race track and the show circuit has won “Best of the Best” accolades in the annual contest staged by The Peninsula Hotel group, it was announced Thursday in Paris during the annual Retromobile celebration of collector cars.

The 1958 Ferrari 335 S Spyder was selected by an international judging panel from among a group of 8 finalists, each of them a Best of Show winner at a major concours d’elegance in the previous year. The judges included the likes of Jay Leno, Henry Ford III and Nick Mason.

“It is difficult as a judge to choose a winner for The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award because each vehicle has already been selected as one of the best and most prestigious in the world and they’re all immaculate,” Leno was quoted in a news release. “For 2019, we selected the Ferrari due to its extremely detailed history, including its racing heritage. Of course, it’s also an incredibly beautiful vehicle.” 

The Scaglietti-bodied Ferrari was displayed originally at the 1959 New York International Auto Show, and afterward raced at Waktins Glen and Daytona, among other tracks. Its engine blew during a race in 1960 at Virginia International Speedway and because repair costs were so expensive, the car was left unclaimed at the New York customs facility, the award organizers noted.

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“Fortunately, the Ferrari found a new lease on life when it was purchased from the customs facility in April 1963 for roughly $1,000,” the news release continued. 

“Between 1963 and 2013, the classic car bounced between owners from multiple countries before finding its current home with Andreas Mohringer of Salzburg, Austria.”

It was Mohringer who commissioned the car’s restoration to original condition by Paul Russell and Company of Essex, Massachusetts. The car won its class at Pebble Beach in 2017, won Best of Show at the Concorso d’Eleganza d’Este in 2018 and the Cavallino Classic in 2019.

The victory at Lake Como in 2018 earned the car a finalist berth in the Best of the Best competition in 2018, but the trophy went to a 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Berlinetta by Touring that had won at Pebble Beach. 

“This Ferrari is the ultimate combination of beautiful Scaglietti coachwork and racing pedigree,” Mohringer said when notified of his car’s victory this time. 

“After restoring this extremely noteworthy car back to its former glory, it is an absolute joy to share it with the world. We’re thrilled that the judges have recognized how special this vehicle is and it is a great honor to be presented with this prestigious award.” 

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The presentation was done at The Peninsula Paris hotel after a gala dinner. 

“As the automobile industry continues to evolve, not least technologically, with each passing year, celebrating the beauty, innovation, and craftsmanship that defined a century of automobile manufacturing takes on an ever-greater significance” said William E “Chip” Connor, co-founder of The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award.

The other finalists for the 2019 award were the 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport coupe (Salon Prive), 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn-Kurier (Amelia Island), 1950 Abarth 205 Berlinetta (Goodwood), 1931 Bentley 8-liter Foursome coupe (Chantilly), 1919 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Torpedo Skiff (Hampton Court), 1931 Bentley 8-liter dual-cowl tourer (Pebble Beach) and 1931 Stutz DV32 Convertible Victoria (The Quail). 

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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