Is this the world’s finest automobile?
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance ’Best in Show’-winning 1929 MercedesBenz S Barker Tourer ‘‘boat tail’’ – arguably the finest car in the world – is heading home to the UK for the Concours of Elegance 2018.
Pebble Beach is arguably the top classic-car show in the world, which is why many currently regard this 1929 Benz boat tail as the finest car in the world.
Based on the 1927 Mercedes S-Type, the unique ‘Boat Tail’ was one of the most powerful road-going automobiles in the world in that period, developed as the perfect road-going, race capable car.
Originally owned by racing enthusiast and British Racing Drivers’ Club cofounder Earl Howe, this car was fitted with a revolutionary body which incorporated a lightweight and aerodynamic shell with unique aircraftinspired aluminium side pods crafted by English coachbuilders Barker.
The car was a regular on tours, trials and competition events in the UK before new ownership in 1958 took it to the United States, where it remained.
When it returns to Britain in September, it will be the first time back on its home soil since 1958.
When it was first sold to American owners, the car was repainted in a dark maroon colour and the rear of the car was renovated to sport an additional spare tyre instead of its distinctive boat tail.
But, its most recent owner has just completed a multi-year project of restoring the car to its former glory.
The majority of Earl Howe’s unique specifications were lost until a host of photographs unearthed aspects of the original vehicles.
They revealed the missing boat tail, numerous reflective surfaces, custom touring luggage and a red spotlight which was given to Members of Parliament to alert other road users to their status.
Upon disassembly patches of the Earl Howe’s signature Peacock Blue paint were also discovered, which has now been sympathetically recreated.
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (‘‘competition of elegance’’) is held every year on the Pebble Beach Golf Links in California and is widely regarded as the top classic-car show in the world.
Cars are judged for authenticity, function, history and style. There are a variety of classes but there is always a Best In Show award, chosen from the winners of each class.