Saoutchik Mercedes wins vintage Pebble Beach Concours


Guessing the the Best of Show at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours was a tough call with far more serious contenders for Best in Show than in recent memory.  

After much discussion among the judges, it was Paul Andrews' 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo that came out on top. 

Fresh from a four year restoration by Paul Russell & Co, the interior by Alpina featured 670 lizard skins.

Winner of the Classic & Sports Car's Best open car was Sam Mann's 1929 DuPont Model G Merrimac Speedster. 

Just 273 were built and the Continental-powered roadster was one of the fastest sports cars on American roads in 1929. 

Many regulars felt the 2012 event was a vintage year with spectacular special groups including Mercers, the flamboyant Saoutchik coachwork, cars of the Maharajahs  and Cobras.

Most distinctive exhaust noise on the fabled fairway was Ted Davis' 1911 Franklin D race car. 

The well preserved  air-cooled straight six had 12 exhausts and when motoring up the winner's ramp it sounded like a P51 Mustang fighter.

Highlight of the impressive Ferrari display was a rare outing of the fabulous ex-King Leopold of Belgium 1955 375 Plus Cabriolet. 

Hidden aways for several decades , the Pinin Farina beauty was a multiple winner for the Golomb family from Chicago.

A standing ovation greeted a special award for a remarkable woman, 102-year-old Margaret Dunning who drove the 1939 Packard 740 Custom Eight Roadster that she has owned since 1949 over the ramp to receive it.

Another crowd favourite was a rare appearance in public of Evert Louwman's 1919 Brooke 25/30 Swan Car. 

Featuring in the special Cars of the Maharajas group, it appeared alongside the 1919 Maharaja of Nabha 'Cygnet', an Indian-made electric car that mimicked the Swan Car in miniature and which the Maharaja used on his estate.

Highlight for Mick Walsh was a the ex-Lord Howe 1929 Mercedes-Benz SS-type. 

Recently sold from the Indianapolis Museum's reserve collection, this sleek Barker-bodied roadster was a favourite of Howe.

Novel features included Zeppelin-style running boards for carrying tools.  "I love the sleek body style, and the highly original condition," said Walsh.  




amazing scenery! great pictures.

Sharon Spurlin

Had to look closely at the Swan car picture. It looks like there are 3 or 4 guys behind it cleaning up a mess. Possibly the swan left a present on its way across?

Chris Martin

All too much James, every year one wonders how they will follow it up next time, but thankfully they always do.
From the top, I appreciate the design of the winning Mercedes, but going by that cloud of smoke behind it could need a valve job.
Also, if Pebble is supposed to be about taste, check the dude in the tan suit and dodgy wig, how did he get in?
Next, the DuPont deserves recognition for style, and I love those Woodlite lamps, but again, I ask when exactly did wire wheels first get chrome plating? I know this is a standard Pebble restoration tradition, but check the Mercedes SS below to see not everyone has given in to the temptation.
Neither has the remarkable Mrs Dunning, although I will point out that is a 1930 Packard, not a '39 as stated above.
And the Franklin racer is a new one to me, looks just right though.
The Brooke Swan Car was made with a few gimmicks including amber lights in the eyes, a jet for spraying steam from the beak, and yes, a valve that dumped whitewash from the rear just for laughs. I am guessing that feature still works and that is what the three chaps are cleaning up (although I note Mr Tan Suit is not bending down to help).
So James, how will you adjust to the Putney shopping run in the Hyundai after that?
Chris M.


James Elliott

Sharon, you are 100% right, that is the car's party trick, or one of them at least. It can leave a mess behind, or open its beak and blow steam out of it.

Group Editor, C&SC

James Elliott

Chris, thanks for the comments. To respond to a couple:
Bad taste trousers were the theme of Pebble this year. I am not known for my sartorial elegance, but some of the trousers (and shoes) ion display were technically criminal I think.
The bloke in the tan suit is a star of stage and screen.
The Franklin sounded fantastic. Let's face it: with a special Cobra display and a bunch of other racers, plus more Ferrari V12s than you can shake a stick at, the best-sounding honour should have been hotly contested, but the Franklin walked away with it. Wonderful machine.

Group Editor, C&SC

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