By Mike Daly
Dominated by the Star and the Laurel, Prancing Horses, and a little-known World War I aviation engineer from France named Gabriel Voisin, the 61st annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance concluded with the Best of Show award going to Los Angeles collector Peter Mullin’s 1934 Voisin C-25 Aerodyne. The award was Mullin’s first Best of Show win in 27 appearances at Pebble Beach, most certainly a gratifying moment for the man often regarded as the country’s preeminent collector of prewar French automobiles. Extremely rare and generally confined to the exclusive circles of collectors, Voisins are treasured for their advanced engineering, function-over-form aerodynamics, and unabashed art deco styling.
Pebble 2011 principally celebrated the 125th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz, with five different categories of judging that encompassed everything from antique touring cars to postwar Gullwings. But the real crowd pleaser came with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ferrari’s iconic 250 Gran Turismo Omologato. Twenty-two of the 36 GTOs built were assembled for a scintillating display of the model that is rightly considered one of the greatest Ferraris ever produced.
The contingent of Prancing Horses was appropriately prefaced the night before with a record auction sale at Gooding & Company’s official Pebble Beach auction. Setting a new world record price for a collector car sold at auction, a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa prototype crossed the block for a hammer price of $14.9 million, and a total price of $16.39 million including auctioneer’s premium.