For the second year, ClassicCars.com has selected five exceptional cars from the Arizona Concours d’Elegance show field at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix to be voted upon by the website’s social-media audience.
“As a proud sponsor of the Arizona Concours, we saw a fantastic opportunity to connect a wider audience with these incredible cars through an award voted for on Facebook,” said Roger Falcione, CEO and president of ClassicCars.com. “The award is a unique opportunity for those unable to attend the event to learn about these historic vehicles and vote for their favorite.”
Selected for the 2016 ClassicCars.com award is a 1949 Fiat Topolino Panoramica 750MM, 1935 Duesenberg SSJ, 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano Competizone, 1958 Lister/Jaguar Sports Racer Knobbly B, and a 1954 Cadillac Coupe DeVille.
The cars selected were shortlisted by members of the ClassicCars.com Editorial and Management teams.
They are described as:
1949 Fiat Topolino Panoramica 750 MM
Owner: Scott Gauthier – Scottsdale, Arizona
According to the concours listing of the vehicle, when Italian styling house Zagato emerged from World War II, founder Ugo Zagato began experimenting with ways to make car greenhouses more spacious. The result was the “Panoramica” body style, which Zagato applied to everything from Ferraris to the small Fiat Topolino seen here.
This particular vehicle is one of only four Fiats built in this style. The 1949 750MM finished fourth in class in the 1949 Mille Miglia in Italy, returning to run the Mille Miglia Historica in 2012. The car was shown at Pebble Beach in 2007 and 2012 (winning second in class) and at the Greystone Mansion Concours, where it won the People’s Choice award.
1935 Duesenberg SSJ
Owner: The Revs Institute for Automotive Research – Naples, FL
It is widely accepted that when Duesenbergs were new, they tended to be purchased by people who were rich and famous. Duesenbergs were considered America’s most expensive luxury car with a cost of $8,500 for the chassis alone.
This particular vehicle was bought new by Hollywood actor Gary Cooper. According to the Revs Institutes, the car is one of only two examples of the “super-short” 125-inch SSJ chassis, and equipped with a higher-performance engine than the “standard” 320-horsrepower SJ. Its race-inspired straight-eight engine boasted more than twice the horsepower of its nearest American competitor.
“What kept this car in this condition for so many years was that in the last 60 plus years of its life, it’s only been owned by two people, Briggs Swift Cunningham and Miles Collier,” the Revs Institute said, adding that both of them had museums where the car was displayed while being kept in excellent running condition.
1956 Ferrari 250GT Boano Low Roof PF, Competizione, alloy
Randall Smalley – Ocean Ridge, FL
The special early Boano-bodied “low-roof” 250 GT Berlinetta is considered an evolutionary link bridging the Pinin Farina 250 GT prototypes and the Boano-bodied “series-production” cars.
According to the concours listing, its first owner, Guido Cantelli, the famed orchestra conductor, took possession of the car but passed away three months later. The car was exported to the U.S. in virtually unused condition, acquired by a Pennsylvania owner and fell out of sight until Ferrari collector Frits Kroymans bought the car in 1992 and retained it for nearly 20 years, when it was acquired by the current owner.
According to the current owner, the car competed as #453 in the 1956 Mile Miglia and has been shown under previous ownership at Cavalino, and the Carmel Street Show. “Since its not been shown often nor seriously, I entered into the Arizona Concours” the owner said. “It is a beautiful car and I want to share it with others.”
The owner added that “not only does it look good, it is an equally impressive driver,” and he plans to drive it Monday on the Arizona Tour d’Elegance.
1958 Lister/Jaguar Sports Racer Knobbly B
Edmond F. Notebaert – Paoli, PA
According to the concours listing, in 1957 Jaguar decided to withdraw from their racing program after winning five of the previous seven Le Mans races. The Lister Jaguar carried on the Jaguar name in racing. Famed Jaguar chief development test engineer Norman Dewis helped develop these cars.
The listing also says that this Lister is shown as being imported to Carroll Shelby in Texas in 1958. Its early history is unknown until it was found in 1972 north of Dallas.
1954 Cadillac Coupe deVille
Phil Terry – Phoenix, AZ
The Coupe de Ville was introduced by Cadillac in the 1949 model year as part of the Series 62 line. It is a closed, two-door coupe that was Cadillac’s first pillarless hardtop. Intended as a prestige model, it was one of the most expensive body styles of the Series 62 line. The 1954 chassis had a new look made possible by a longer wheelbase. The lower, sleeker body featured a new grille design as well as “Dagmar” bumper guards. Originally priced at $4,261, Cadillac sold a total of 17,170 Coupe de Villes in 1954.
Terry describes his Coupe deVille as a true “desert find” which he found in a friend’s back yard in 1997. He spent 12 years restoring the car and has driven it since its completion in 2009, with road trips have all over Arizona, to Palm Springs, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Santa Fe, New Mexico and even back to the original dealer in Lubbock, Texas, where the owner describes meeting Jack Alderson, who sold the car when new.
Terry says the coupe has been in nearly 100 events and has earned many awards, including several “Best of Show” trophies, with the most recent being at the Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art’s 2015 “Ultimate Fins” vintage car show.
This Cadillac has been judged nationally and displays a Senior Badge from the Cadillac & LaSalle Club and a Senior Wreath from the Antique Automobile Club of America.
Terry told Classic Car News that on one of his trips to a car show in northern Arizona, he was approached by someone who worked with the Arizona Concours who said he loved the car and wanted to see it displayed on the show field, “I told him my car was not a concours car and he told me about this special class they have this year that he thought my car would be perfect for (Iconic Postwar American). So I submitted an application past the deadline, per his instructions, and here we are.”