The winner of this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is a beautiful 1932 Duesenberg J Sports Torpedo Coach built by Joseph Figoni in 1932.
This year’s lineup at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance was spectacular, making it even more difficult for the judges to pick a winner between the final four cars, two Duesenbergs and two Talbots, but in the end a Duesenberg J out. 1932. Figoni Sports Torpedo claimed the ‘Best of Show’ title. The majestic black and blue convertible of Lee R. Anderson Sr. from Naples, Florida, is a beautiful machine, a hypercar of its time that represents the epitome of 1930s power and style. Designed by the influential French coachbuilder Joseph Figoni, this legal ‘Torpedo’ with its endless hood, low windshield and boat-tailed rear lived up to its name – imagine seeing this casually parked in front of a jazz club on the street of Montmartre in 1932. With its 420 cubic-inch twin-cam 32-valve straight-eight engine, the car was also incredibly agile – it even took part in the Paris-Nice rally before being delivered to its first owner, Peruvian sugar magnate Antonio Chopitea.
Interestingly, the history of the car is more complicated than the polished curves of the body would suggest: After the car arrived in the US in the 1960s, body and chassis were separated. It wasn’t until decades later that the Duesenberg’s current owner traced the original components to reunite them in a painstaking three-year restoration. “This rare Duesenberg combines American power with European style,” said Concours president Sandra Button. “It did well in some early rallies and competitions. Then history took a turn, with the chassis separated from the body. The story of his resurrection is one of pure passion.”
An American car last won Best of Show in 2013, when a 1934 Packard Twelve took first place. Duesenberg has long been the winning American brand at Pebble Beach, with six previous wins; this win brings the total to seven. “We’ve been doing this for years and we’ve come close in the past,” says Lee R. Anderson Sr., “but we’ve never actually won, so it’s overwhelming. All the preparation – the story behind this car is just amazing “There’s only one Figoni Duesenberg, ever, and it’s this one here. So it’s like all these things come together to become a real champion. We’re so excited.”
This year’s race for ‘Best of Show’ featured other strong contenders including Fritz Burkard’s 1937 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Figoni and Falaschi Teardrop Coupé featured extensively on Classic Driver last week, Sam and Emily Mann’s Duesenberg J Graber 1930 Cabriolet, and Merle and Peter Mullin’s 1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Stabilimenti Farina Cabriolet.
Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2022