Eventually the rain came down and messed up all that buffing and shining hopeful entrants had been doing to their cars during the judging stage of the 17th Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, November 4. But it didn’t stop the owners or spectators from enjoying what is becoming one of the premier concours events in the country.
Indeed, the steady showers slowed just long enough for the Best of Show winner to be crowned, a swanky 1931 Stutz DV32 Convertible Victoria owned by Joseph & Margie Cassini of West Orange, New Jersey, which was also chosen as the show’s Best Rolling Art vehicle.
Far from stuffy affair, the Hilton Head Concours brought out hundreds of participants ranging from big time collectors to folks with just one prized car in their garage—all of them looking for a class win and possibly more. We dodged the storm long enough to get a decent look at the field, and picked out a few of our favorites.
1967 Ford Shelby GT 350 Fastback
It’s good to see the concours give some finalist recognition to a killer piece of American muscle car history like this Shelby Mustang, which scored the event’s The Paul Doerring Founders Award and with it a place on the podium. Owned by Hunt & Pat Palmer-Ball of Louisville, Kentucky, it was immaculate inside and out and was recently re-sprayed. Ol Shel would be proud of this one, and of course, Shelby signed one of the car’s original documents Palmer-Ball had of his car that’s been a regular winner on the regional concours and car show circuit. Hunt Palmer-Ball bought the car when he was 19 and has had it ever since. It has a little more than 8,600 miles on the odometer and he’s taken it racing.
1979 BMW M1
We had the good fortune of doing a weekend drive with race car royalty Bobby Rahal in this white M1, which has undergone a complete ground up restoration. Rahal says his M1 was an early road-car prototype that the automaker used for demonstration purposes as part of the BMW M1 Procar Championship, a single make series BMW created for the M1 during the car’s short era. It was later bought by Schnitzer racing, who swapped out the engine for a Procar spec version. It certainly felt and sounded like the M1’s M88 3.5-liter inline six had some extra oomph to it during our fun run, and as you’d expect from Rahal, we didn’t go slow. The M1 was represented in a class at Hilton Head as it’s the 40th anniversary of the car.
1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico by Pininfarina
This could be one of the longest names ever for a Ferrari, and it’s possibly one of the coolest Ferraris as well. It stopped us in our tracks thanks in large part to its wild rear deck, which lends it a distinctive hatchback profile and yes, more Aerodinamico! These Superamerias featured a 4.0-liter V-12 with 340 hp utilizing triple Solex carburetors, a four-speed manual, and four-wheel disc brakes. This car is part of the Rare Wheels Collection located in Windermere, Florida.
1959 O.S.C.A. Model 118S Touring Coupe Prototype
This little guy has a truly interesting history. O.S.C.A. was a marque that the Maserati brothers operated for roughly 20 years starting in 1947 and although known more for their race cars, they also produced several sports cars. Designed by the great Giovanni Michelotti, it has his badging on the side and is reportedly the first car to come out of his studio in 1959. It was subsequently shown at the Geneva auto show. O.S.C.A.’s later sports car models were based on Fiats, as was this car, which is powered by a 1.6-liter Fiat four that the O.S.C.A. team further modified. Peter Boyle of Oil City, Pennsylvania, found the car in bad shape in Florida and restored it. We’re glad he did, it’s an interesting piece of automotive history.
1931 Stutz DV32 Convertible Victoria
Back in the days when V-12s and even V-16s were being fitted under the hoods of luxury cars, Stutz decided to keep pushing its inline 8 with four valves per cylinder. It was an innovative engine, especially for the time, Stutz also trumpeted the fact that its 322 cu-in, 156 hp eight would send its top-of-the-line DV32 cars hurtling past 100 mph. This particular example, which underwent a full restoration in 2010, has LeBaron coach built bodywork and was one of the finalists for Best of Show at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It’s a true piece of Americana and a worthy representative of the top spot at Hilton Head.
Other top winners at Hilton Head included a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe that earned the Best Road & Track Award (and was the third finalist for Best of Show), a 1929 Ford station wagon was crowned the People’s Choice Award, and a 1928 BMW R63 scored the Best Motorcycle Award.