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A quartet of nominees for The Peninsula Classics 2020 Best of the Best Award has been announced.
It’s the event’s sixth running and pits Best of Show winners from the world’s most prestigious concours against each other, recognising one with the ultimate accolade as the year’s greatest.
The widespread cancellation of events because of COVID-19 means 2020’s shortlist is reduced to just four and with two post-war cars and racers among them, too, it has a very different look to previous years.
Owned by Tom Peck, this prototype wears a body by Scaglietti and is powered by a 3.0-litre, double-overhead cam ‘four’. It topped the ‘Competition and Touring’ class at the all-Ferrari concours before scooping the overall award.
The second finalist was crowned Best of Show also in Florida, at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in March.
It’s a dashing 1929 Duesenberg Model J Town Limousine owned by The Lehrman Collection, with a 420cu in (6882cc) straight-eight engine and a three-speed manual transmission.
This J-218 is one of several resulting from a collaboration between coachbuilder Murphy and wealthy Californian heir and playboy Captain George Whittell Jr, with an angled windscreen, a polished aluminium beltline to split the white roof from the black body, and vents rather than louvres on the bonnet.
The third finalist was the first Porsche to claim overall victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours, achieving that feat in 1970 piloted by Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood.
Half a century after its famous win, this flat-12-engined 917K triumphed again when it was announced as Best of Show at the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace in September, the first major Peninsula Best of the Best-qualifying concours since the pandemic-enforced lockdown.
There is no doubt that it was a richly deserving winner, but for a post-war car – and a competition one at that – to claim Best of Show is a bold, unusual, but also very welcome choice.
Coincidentally, the Concours of Elegance judges also awarded a scaled-down replica of this Porsche 917K the Junior Concours gong at the same event.
And just a few weeks later at Blenheim Palace, Salon Privé bestowed its Best of Show honour on the 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza Spider by Zagato, in which Tazio Nuvolari won the ’32 Coppa Principe di Piemonte for Scuderia Ferrari.
The final car to join the Peninsula Classics 2020 Best of the Best line-up, chassis number 2111044 is powered by a straight-eight, supercharged engine, with drum brakes front and rear.
The Best of the Best programme was founded in 2015 by The Hon Sir Michael Kadoorie and 2020’s 25 judges will include Gordon Murray and Jay Leno.
The winning car will be announced on 9 February 2021.