One of just four berlinetta-bodied sports cars produced by Pininfarina, this 1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta is not only the best preserved, it’s the only one to retain its original chassis and body. This elegant survivor of a Maserati beat a strong field of competition for this year’s Peninsula Classics Best of the Best award, just as the race car it’s based on once beat the competition on track.
Chosen for its sensual design, clever construction, and stunning originality, the A6GCS/53 Berlinetta by Pininfarina is based on the Maserati brothers’ successful 2.0-liter A6GCS/53 race car. This example, like the other three A6GCS/53 Berlinettas, were commissioned by Guglielmo Dei, a Maserati dealer in Rome at the time, who had acquired a handful of chassis. This A6GCS/53 was shown at the 1954 Paris Motor Show, and was bought by an Italian count who raced it in the 1955 Mille Miglia.
The other seven finalists included some true powerhouses of classic automobilia: the 1952 Pegaso Z-102 Berlineta Cúpula, 1960 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Coupé Superfast II by Pininfarina, 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta by Touring, 1938 Dubonnet Xenia Coupé by Saoutchik, 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Coupé by Bertone, and yet another Pininfarina creation, the 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Spider by Pininfarina.
“We were all in agreement that the Maserati deserved the award not only for its astounding display of modern innovation, but also because it has been restored in a way that preserves the design as it was intended to be appreciated, with a precise level of care for its historic and timeless automotive implications,” said judging panel member and renowned auto enthusiast Jay Leno.
“The 1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 Berlinetta is a superb example of the beauty of Pininfarina’s designs, which are synonymous with the coachwork that epitomizes classic Italian sports cars,” said Sir Michael Kadoorie, one of the founders of the event. “The sensitive retention of its originality allows this stunning motorcar to emerge as the most elegant preservation among its 1954 counterparts.”
The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award enlists the talents of experts, celebrities, and design luminaries of the automotive world to choose the “world’s most exceptional classic car.” If that sounds an awful lot like the goal of Monterey Car Week’s crown jewel, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, well, it is. But at the same time, it’s not.
The list of big names on the 24-member panel includes Chris Bangle, Peter Brock, Ian Callum, Luc Donckerwolke, Henry Ford III, Ralph Lauren, Jay Leno, The Earl of March, Nick Mason, Gordon Murray, Shiro Nakamura, Ratan Tata, Gordon Wagener, and Ed Welburn—among others. It’s a shock-and-awe fusillade of automotive celebrity superpower.
With that kind of weight behind the pronouncement, the Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award is aiming to become one of Monterey Car Week’s hottest new events.
Founded in 2015 by famed collector Bruce Meyer, Chip Connor, Christian Philippsen, and Kadoorie, the Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award is sponsored by The Peninsula Hotels, Graff Diamonds, and Rolex.
As for the 2017 award winner, we’ll have to wait until next year, after this concours season has concluded.