You may have heard of the Peninsula Hong Kong and the Peninsula Paris (among others), world-famous luxury hotels known for their impeccable style and fleets of custom Rolls-Royces. Classic car enthusiasts also know that Peninsula Hotels annually bestows the world's most prestigious prize in the field: The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award.
The award selects one supreme vehicle from the Best of Show winners from the world's top nine concours d'elegance events: Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Cavallino Classic, Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille, Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace, Goodwood Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Salon Privé, and The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.
This year's winner, just announced, is an impossibly beautiful 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza with coachwork by Scaglietti, chosen "both for its impressive racing history and its exacting restoration." It became eligible for Best of the Best after winning Best of Show at the 2020 Palm Beach Cavallino Classic.
The winning 750 Monza, one of the most beautiful Ferraris ever built, made its original debut at the first Grand Prix of the Imola Autodrome in June of 1954, where Scuderia Ferrari driver Umberto Maglioli won first place. It then went on to compete in several other major races, to great success, through the early 1960s. It then spent nearly 50 years in pieces until a full restoration was begun in 2016, taking nearly two years to complete.
A team of restoration experts including Ferrari Classiche in Maranello, Italy, went to great lengths to ensure perfection, including using the vehicle’s preserved original documents and instruments, the original owners’ manual, toolboxes, build sheets, and a "treasure trove" of original photographs of the car.
Computer modeling of the photos was used to "repair flaws in the body from the car’s racing days." Meanwhile, 3-D printing technology was utilized to duplicate some parts that were irreparable. Finally, the vehicle’s livery was restored to that which it sported in its first Carrera Panamericana race in 1954.
Once fully restored, the 750 Monza won the Enzo Ferrari Award at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and then 2020 Best of Show at the Cavallino Classic. To win the Best of the Best award it triumphed over a 1969 Porsche 917 KH Coupé, and a 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza Spider by Zagato, among others.
The Best of the Best Award was co-founded in 2015 by The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (owner and operator of The Peninsula Hotels), along with fellow world-class car collectors William E. (Chip) Connor, Bruce Meyer and Christian Philippsen. The winner is selected by The Best of the Best Award’s esteemed panel of judges, which this year included, amongst others, McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray and Jay Leno.