The Peninsula Classics 2022 Best of the Best Award was announced recently, and the winner is the stunning 1938 Delage Type D8-120 S Cabriolet.
The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award was launched in 2015 by Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels (HSH), along with co-founders William E. (Chip) Connor, Bruce Meyer and Christian Philippsen. Sponsored by The Peninsula Hotels, an HSH subsidiary, the award selects a winner from an elite group of exceptional classic cars that have won significant awards at the previous year’s major concours events.
The Delage became eligible for consideration after winning the Best of Show trophy at the 2022 Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace. “This award is truly the highest honour for a car collector like myself,” said Mr Fritz Burkard, owner of the winning Delage Cabriolet. “It has been such a joy bringing this car to numerous concours around the world. To be selected as the recipient of this distinguished award by such an acclaimed group of judges is truly humbling.”
Considered one of the finest examples to emerge from Delage and bodied by De Villars, the Delage D8 is a one-off two-seater model. The sports body coachwork features stunning proportions and distinctive riveted fenders. The car was first shown at the Concours de l’Auto de Printemps in 1938, where it won the Grand Prize – quite a feat, considering it was up against all the major marques of the day.
Also competing for the award this year was a distinguished group of finalists, including a 1932 Duesenberg Model J Sports Torpedo by Figoni, a 1934 Duesenberg LaGrande Convertible Coupe and a 1937 Bugatti 57S Cabriolet by Vanvooren. Other nominees were the 1938 Dubonnet Xenia Coupe by Saoutchik on a design by Andreau, a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe by Zagato, the 1966 Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale “Tre Posti” by Pininfarina and a 1956 Jaguar D-Type racer. These cars all received the highest awards from the most esteemed concours events of 2022.
“The calibre of the 2022 finalist line-up is, quite simply, astounding. Each of these vehicles represents a superlative achievement of automotive engineering and design. For this reason, choosing a single winner for this award becomes more challenging each year. However, I hope everyone will agree with the judges that this car is truly spectacular,” said The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels and co-founder of The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award.
Selecting the winner of The Peninsula Classics 2022 Best of the Best Award was an esteemed group of 25 judges representing a diverse selection of renowned automotive enthusiasts and design experts. Among them were legendary car designer Fabio Filippini, Chief Creative Officer for Genesis Design and Brand Luc Donckerwolke, former Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Dassault Systèmes Vice President of Design Experience Anne Asensio, acclaimed fashion designer Ralph Lauren, Ford Motor Company Board of Directors member Henry Ford III, former Design Director for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ian Cameron, and television host and collector Jay Leno.
Created by Louis Delage in 1905, Delage was one of the most prestigious French car brands of the inter-war period. Delages were dressed by the greatest coachbuilders of the time and won numerous top awards at some of the world’s most preeminent concours. De Villars was launched in 1925 by Frank Jay Gould, a wealthy American who decided to create a small coachbuilder targeting his compatriots living in France. The company’s production was limited and did not survive after World War II.
During those pre-war years, Otto Zipper owned Precision Motors in Beverly Hills, one of California’s first importers of foreign cars and the “dealer to the stars.” While in Paris in 1938, Zipper saw the Delage and fell in love with it. He asked for the price, but the car was not for sale. Twenty years later, he met the then-owner at the Paris Salon de l’Auto by good fortune and purchased the car with 100,000 kilometres on the odometer. After roughly 60 years spent in the USA and winning major awards, the D8 joined an important Swiss collection in 2019.
The Peninsula Classics 2022 Best of the Best Award celebration was hosted for the fourth time on the beautiful grounds of the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, California.