A 1937 Cadillac Series 90 convertible with exotic Hartmann coachwork and a Vignale-bodied 1953 Ferrari 250MM formerly owned and raced by Phil Hill took Best of Show honors July 25 at the 42nd Concours d’Elegance of America in Plymouth Township, Michigan.
The Cadillac took honors as Best in Show American, while the Ferrari was selected as the Best in Show Foreign category.
“There is a special language surrounding a concours d’elegance – the setting, the cars, the culture,” McKeel Hagerty, chief executive of Hagerty, which recently acquired the concours, was quoted in the post-event news release. “The Cadillac and Ferrari selected by today’s judges exemplify that language and the level of competition at today’s Concours d’Elegance of America. Congratulations to all entrants, their teams and the winners.”
“Our 42nd concours was indicative of this summer’s car community resurgence,” added Larry Moss, concours chairman. “The record-breaking attendance wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our host, the Inn at St. Johns, as well as the hard work of our volunteers.”
In 1937, Phillippe Barraud, a wealthy paper mill heir in Lausanne, Switzerland, wanted to build the most ostentatious automobile he could imagine. Wanting to outdo the Delahaye Roadsters he’d seen in Paris, he chose the Cadillac V-16 chassis and worked with a local craftsman, Willy Hartmann, on the car’s custom coachwork.
“The result,” the concours news release noted, was “a 22-foot longtwo-passenger roadster, unequalled in both scale and style.”
The current owner, the Louisville-based Patterson Collection, acquired the car in 2015 and had it restored to concours level.
According to the Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile, Hartmann would do only one other custom-car commission, a 1927 Studebaker Big Six.
The 1953 Ferrari was displayed at the concours by the Cultivated Collector of New Canaan, Connecticut. Serial number 0260MM was delivered to Hill in April 1953, soon after it was on the Ferrari stand at the New York auto show, and the future world driving champion steered it to victory in the Pebble Beach Road Race that same year.
Of two Series I Vignale Spyders produced, 0260MM is the only one that retains its original coachwork.
After being staged at two suburban Detroit locations during its history, the concours is moving to a new date (September) in 2022 and to a new location (the Detroit Institute of Arts).
“This new location honors Detroit’s heritage as a hub of commerce, industry, design and culture,” Hagerty said. “We couldn’t think of a better place to recognize the automobile than the Detroit Institute of Arts. It, and its 65,000 works of art, serve as the perfect backdrop as we celebrate the automobile – another signature achievement of mankind.”