This year’s Pebble Beach Concours once again saw a collection of some of the rarest and most pristine cars in attendance, competing for the coveted ‘Best of Show’ title. However, the title finally went to a one-off car – a 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer owned by collector Bruce McCaw.
The history behind the car’s creation is quite unique, with original owner of the car being race driver Lord Howe, who was also the co-founder of the British Racing Driver’s Club. A winner of both the Mille Miglia and Le Mans, Lord Howe had paid close attention to the building of this car. As a result, the car – which started out as a Mercedes-Benz S tourer – was later upgraded to Super Sports specification with the fitment of a 7-litre Supercharged in-line six cylinder engine. It was also rebodied by noted coachbuilder, Barker of London, with this unique one-off lightweight Tourer body.
Given Lord Howe’s Navy roots, the body of the car carries numerous boating references, such as the pontoon side pods and the boat-tail rear end. The whole body was crafted out of aluminium, with the front end finished in a polished finish, while the rest of the car carries a bright blue hue that also happens to be the Howe family’s colour – Curzon Blue. In fact, there’s a long story as to how the colour came about – apparently, it was inspired by a female relative’s dress in India that was finished in the colour of a peacock’s eye.
Having undergone a fresh restoration, the car retains its original Marchal lighting system and also the original wheels. In fact, the car’s restoration finished just a week before the Concours and yet it managed to finish the 70-mile drive of The Tour without any hiccups. The other interesting story of this Pebble Beach winning tale is the fact there are three McCaw brothers – Bruce, Craig and John – and all three of them have shown their cars at the gathering previously. More interestingly, in this year’s show, the car that gave the closest competition to Bruce’s Mercedes, was his brother John’s 1957 Ferrari 315 S Scaglietti Spyder, which finished second! The car that finished third was a 1932 Packard 906 Twin 6 Dietrich Convertible Victoria – a handful, that name.
With this win, cars from Mercedes-Benz have won the Pebble Beach a total of eight times. The last winner from the brand was the 1928 680S in 2012.