Mercedes 540K Is Best of Show at 2023 Pebble Beach Concours


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Read everything else we have to say about 2023’s Monterey Car Week and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

  • A 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster won Best of Show at Pebble Beach in the traditional festive atmosphere of the Concours d’Elegance on Sunday afternoon, August 20.
  • The 540K is one of only three Long-Tail Special Roadsters with a covered spare that still exist worldwide, according to the Concours program notes.
  • The car was purchased by its current owner in 2022.

A 1937 Mercedes-Benz Special Roadster just took the Best of Show prize at the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car is owned by known collector and concours winner Jim Patterson of Louisville, Kentucky, and Palm Beach, Florida.

“We recognized and bought this car because it was a rare vehicle,” Patterson said on the judges’ stand just after accepting the trophy. “Its condition was almost virginal. It had never been separated [from its drivetrain], never restored, and had only 13,000 miles on it.”

Michael Simari|Car and Driver

The car, already an icon of engineering with its advanced, high-power supercharged straight-eight, is an exquisite example of Streamline Moderne styling, exemplary of this era.

Patterson has owned the car since early 2022, having purchased it from an RM Sotheby’s auction. The car was complete, but Patterson’s team still worked to make it perfect. “We redid everything about it,” he said. “But we didn’t have to order or make any parts.”

This car is exactly the type of vehicle to win in the concours, which tends to privilege uniquely designed pinnacle iterations of the so-called Classic era between the World Wars. As such it reinforces recent trends at Pebble, where such cars have continued to dominate, especially special, coachbuilt cars styled with an imminent menace, reflecting the years leading up to the Second World War.

best in show at pebble beach 2023

Michael Simari|Car and Driver

“Historic elegance prevails,” said Ken Gross, a veteran Pebble Beach judge and noted automotive author and curator. “People think the concours should be rapidly moving toward awarding postwar cars, but even in a year of incredibly tight competition, this was a breathtaking example.”

Whatever the reasoning behind this vehicle’s win, we remain delighted, as always, that enough people are passionate enough about owning, maintaining, showing, and paying witness to these paragons of rolling sculpture that Pebble continues to draw crowds. And if, one day, Best of Show is awarded to a 1978 Stutz Blackhawk, or a 2005 Mitsuoka Orochi Nude-Top, we will celebrate that as well.

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Contributing Editor

Brett Berk (he/him) is a former preschool teacher and early childhood center director who spent a decade as a youth and family researcher and now covers the topics of kids and the auto industry for publications including CNN, the New York Times, Popular Mechanics and more. He has published a parenting book, The Gay Uncle’s Guide to Parenting, and since 2008 has driven and reviewed thousands of cars for Car and Driver and Road & Track, where he is contributing editor. He has also written for Architectural Digest, Billboard, ELLE Decor, Esquire, GQ, Travel + Leisure and Vanity Fair.   

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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