A 1946 Alfa Romeo bodied by Pininfarina took home Best in Show at the fifth annual Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance held near Owen Sound, Ontario this past weekend, beating out a field of more than 100 other classic and exotic cars.
The Alfa Romeo, restored by the Bradford, Ontario-based Guild of Automotive Restorers known for its Restoration Garage television show, has a long and interesting history, beginning shortly after its completion following the Second World War, when it was dressed up and driven to Paris specifically to offend French car show organizers.
It was then sold to, and dissected by, designers with British car firm Austin, who almost certainly used it as a muse for some of their most stylish automobiles. From there it traveled Stateside, and eventually on to Japan, where it disappeared for several decades before being snapped up by the Guild on behalf of current owner Chris Orhstrom in 2008.
The car also took the People’s Choice trophy at Cobble Beach, and was a crowd favourite, too, when it made its debut at the prestigious Pebble Beach concours in California in 2014, though it earned no prizes there, likely due to a slightly inaccurate engine, which has since been replaced.
A concours d’elegance (French for “competition of elegance”) features only the finest, most accurately restored examples of classic automobiles and subjects them to scrutiny by expert judges, who evaluate them based on authenticity, finish and, of course, elegance.
The Cobble Beach concours was presided over by chief judge John Carlson of B.C., and was coordinated by show chairman and founder Rob McLeese.
Other highlights of the 2017 concours included a class dedicated to this year’s honoured collector, Steve Plunkett of London, Ontario, who showed his most recent acquisition, a 1941 Cadillac nicknamed the “Duchess.”
The Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario brought its 1926 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8A dual-cowl (pictured above) which was also recently shown at the Pebble Beach concours in California. A Lamborghini Miura owned by Canadian collector Miles Nadal was flown in from Europe for the event; and an authentic Ford GT40 from the Legendary Motorcar Company collection of Peter Klutt also turned up.
Sponsor Hagerty again offered ride-and-drive tests in a variety of classics ranging from a 1960 Plymouth Fury convertible to a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda with shaker hood.
The fantastic cars – not to mention the gorgeous weather – saw attendance at this year’s Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance spike from 6,000 to about 7,500, with many of the proceeds being donated to charity. Plans for the 2018 event are already underway.