A household name in luxury hospitality, The Peninsula Hotels group oversees a number of lauded properties across the globe. Upholding a reputation that extends far beyond five stars, The Peninsula hosts a number of anticipated events throughout the year, including this year’s The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Awards. The prestigious competition features classic vehicles that emerged victorious from last year’s concours events. Eight vehicles competed for the Best of the Best title, each of them boasting a significant role in automotive history, impeccable artisanship and age-defying technology.
The winning vehicle is chosen by a team of 25 judges, their participation based on expertise, passion and prowess in fields ranging from design to engineering. This year’s notable names included fashion designer Ralph Lauren, comedian Jay Leno, Ford Motor Company board member Henry Ford III and Dassault Systems’ Vice President of Design Experience Anne Asensio. Each judge brought their own angle to the awards, contributing to the diverse debate on what exactly makes the best of the best when it comes to the world’s top classic cars.
The event took place at California’s Quail Lodge and Golf Club on Sunday, August 14th just before Monterey Car Week, the region’s renowned motorsports event. It was the first time in five years the event was hosted at this venue, which is well known for hosting Monterey Car Week’s most prestigious showcases- The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering and The Quail Rally, all Peninsula Signature Events, took place immediately after.
“With such an illustrious selection of finalists this year, the judging process was especially challenging,” said The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, founder of the Peninsula Hotel Group. “Our group of eight classic automobiles represents the pinnacle of automotive craftsmanship, artistry and engineering. All of them are excellent representatives of automotive history, but one rose to the top to receive our highest honor and recognition with the Peninsula Classics 2021 Best of the Best Award.”
With auto enthusiasts already in the area to attend the upcoming festivities, the Best of the Best Awards were a way to kick things off and honor vehicles that took first place in concours awards from across the world last year. Despite being a separate event, the Awards complemented the atmosphere seamlessly, drawing guests early and setting the scene. Participating cars spanned decades and included a 1926 Suiza H6B Cabriolet, a 1934 Avions Voisin Type C27 Aerosport Coupe, and 1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale. After considering each candidate, the judges ultimately settled on a silver 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione in pristine condition, one of only nine ever built.
Driven in the 1959 Tour de France and Mille Miglia, the iconic winner contains Ferrari’s prototype 12B V12 engine, rendering it truly one of a kind. The vehicle’s wealth of history contributed to its first place title just as much as its physical attributes and recent restoration, undertaken by Italian experts Bacchelli & Villa. The vehicle now belongs to proud owner Brian Ross, who was well aware of the Ferrari’s full potential as he oversaw years of intense restoration efforts.
“Winning the Best of the Best Award is a great achievement and a true honor,” said Mr. Ross. “It is a magnificent recognition of the multiple years spent trying to get my hands on this 250 GT and the hard work that went into the years-long restoration process. All of the other nominees have fantastic vehicles so I am incredibly humbled to be selected by the acclaimed judges for this award. Winning Best of the Best is a true dream.”
Hosting the Best of the Best Awards comes as second nature to The Peninsula Group, which emphasizes not only luxury accommodations, but historical value, relationships that span generations and an eye for prestige that applies to everything from stunning properties to international automotive excellence. The Awards remain a Peninsula Signature Event, raising standards year after year and celebrating all that is rare, expertly crafted and absolutely, undeniably unique.