Every year, the richest of the rich—titans of industry from around the world—gather around the lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance to show off their priceless cars. What's sort of ironic about the Pebble Beach Concours is that it doesn't matter how wealthy or powerful the owners of the cars are, they're all at the mercy of the judges, who ultimately decide whose car is best. This year, that car was a 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo.
All J Model Duesenbergs came with 420 cubic-inch twin-cam 32-valve straight-eight engines, making 265 horsepower. In 1932, 265 horsepower must have felt as immense as the Bugatti Chiron's 1,500 horsepower does today. With the Sports Torpedo body, coachbuilt by Figoni, Lee R. Anderson Sr.'s '32 Duesenberg Model J is an absolute stunner and was easily pegged as a finalist by attendees the moment it drove up the ramp for the first time.
Duesenbergs, Bugattis, and Talbots always do well in Pebble Beach and, perhaps unironically, the final four cars were two Duesenbergs and two Talbots. Three of which were pre-war and only one was post-war. However, the Duesenberg Model J Figoni Sports Torpedo was probably the correct choice.
It had two things working for it. The first was Duesenberg's incredible engineering for the era. Not only was the Duesenberg J the most powerful car in America in 1932 but it had hydraulic brakes that could be adjusted for dry and wet pavement. And this specific car's Joseph Figoni-designed body not only made it rare but also one of the most breathtaking cars on display at the Concours.
To be the Best of Show winner at the Pebble Beach Concours is an incredible honor any year but this one might have felt a bit more special than others. This year was the first year where it seemed like everyone was back at Pebble, after the Covid pandemic sidelined so many collectors and fans. The Concours was held last year but, compared to previous years, few people attended. This year, the Concours felt back at full strength, so the Best of Show must have felt that much more special. Congratulations to Anderson Sr. for the Best of Show win, it's a gorgeous car.