One of the world’s most-famous automobiles, a 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, won Best of Show honors Sunday at the fourth annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance at the Arizona Biltmore resort.
The magnificent handbuilt car, with prominent front fenders and a narrow aluminum body uniquely joined by rivets running along its fenders and down its spine, is owned by Peter and Merle Mullin and Rob and Melani Walton. The car usually is housed at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, but had been on loan to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles where it has been part of a special display.
Ninety cars were arrayed on the show field for the Arizona Concours d’Elegance, divided into 17 classes. The cars judged to be the best in each class were rejudged to determine Best of Show.
Four class winners emerged as finalists for the event’s highest accolades. In addition to the Bugatti Atlantic, they were:
• A 1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide sport tourer, owned by the Stephens family of San Francisco. The car is one of only 25 Rapides built.
• A 1955 Ferrari 250 Europa coupe with coachwork by Vignale. The car is owned by Kevin Cogan of Louisville, Kentucky, and was the first Europa model produced by Ferrari, debuting at the Paris Auto Salon in 1953.
• A 1933 Marmon V16 convertible coupe, owned by Aaron and Valerie Weiss of San Marino, California, a large luxury vehicle and the last car produced by the Indianapolis automaker best-known for the Marmon Wasp that won the inaugural Indianapolis 500-mile race.
Warner Hall, a senior docent from the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, where the car usually resides, was the Bugatti’s caretaker at the concours. Could he possibly have been surprised when the judges’ decision was announced?
“Maybe a little,” he said. “We didn’t want to count on anything, especially in a field (of cars) this fabulous. This is such an amazing event, and there are some really amazing cars here.”
The Atlantic had won the special class of Cars of Ettore and Jean Bugatti, which included eight spectacular examples of Bugatti artistry and performance, including three historic 1920s Grand Prix cars once raced by famous women drivers in Europe.
The Arizona Concours was held under threatening skies and forecasts of rain, but it stayed dry all day, much to the relief of Concours officials and the car owners who had brought such a splendid assembly of automobiles for the show. A strong crowd of spectators strolled through the picturesque inner lawns of the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix where the cars were displayed.
On Monday, many of the cars from the concours participated in a driving event, the Arizona Tour d’Elegance, that included a free public display of the vehicles at the scenic South Canal Bridge in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The date for the fifth annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance was announced at the end of the show, scheduled for January 14, 2018.
The top winners of the fourth annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance are: Best of Show – 1936 Bugatti Type 37 SC Atlantic coupe
Antique Automobiles – 1909 Renault AX
Pre-War European Sports/Racing – 1938 Jaguar SS-100
Post-War America-Powered Sports Cars – 1960 Chevrolet Corvette
Post-War American Racing Cars – 1951 Cunningham C2
Post-War European Sports Cars/Early – 1956 Lancia Aurelia B24S convertible
Post-War European Sports Cars/Late – 1960 Ferrari 250 GT PF Cab Series 2
Post-War European Racing Cars – 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial
American Classic/Open – 1933 Marmon V16 convertible coupe
Iconic Post-War American Cars – 1953 Cadillac convertible
Iconic Post-War European Cars – 1949 Delahaye 155M
Preservation Cars – 1959 AC Ace Bristol roadster
Avante Garde – 1931 Nash Model 887 touring sedan
Classic Era Lincolns – 1926 Lincoln LeBaron sedan
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Vignale – 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa coupe
Most Elegant Pre-War Car – 1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster
Director’s Choice – 1951 Ferrari 212 MM
Historic Vehicle Association Most Well-Preserved Vehicle – 1933 Lincoln KB Judkins
Historic Vehicle Association National Automotive Heritage Award – 1955 Ferrari 500
Hagerty Youth Judging Award – 1959 Bocar XP-5
Net proceeds from the nationally recognized Arizona Concours, as well as generous donations from participants and spectators, benefit Make-A-Wish Arizona, the founding chapter of the international organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.
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