Two cars win Best in Show award at Amelia Island Concours

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Amelia Island Concours winners duo Amelia Island Concours winners duo

The 1928 Mercedes-Benz 540K and 1957 Ferrari 335 S shared the honours

The 2019 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance looked like a treat for contestants and punters alike.

Two prestigious Best in Show awards were handed out; Best in Show Concours d’Elegance and Best in Show Concours de Sport respectively.

Best in Show Concours d’Elegance was bestowed upon a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn-Kurier, with Best in Show Concours de Sport given to a 1957 Ferrari 335 S.


Mercedes-Benz’s 540K debuted at the 1936 Paris Motor Show as an evolution of the 500K. The car is powered by a 5.4lt inline-eight cylinder engine with a manually engaged supercharger that boosted power output from 86kW to 134kW.

Most 540Ks wore roadster bodies, though two were built as ‘Autobahn-Kuriers’ with more streamlined coupe bodywork.

This particular car, Chassis 408336, was bought new in 1938 by a Spanish eye doctor, Professor Ignacio Barraquer. The car was broken in with a grand tour through Spain and into North Africa. The Barraquer family retained ownership of the car until it was sold to an American collector in 2003.


The new American owner restored the car in short order with the car subsequently raking in a swathe of awards: first-in-class at Pebble Beach 2016, Best of Show at Villa d’Este 2008, Best of Show at the Louis Vuitton Classic Concours d’Elegance 2011, and Best of Show at the Concours d’Elegance of America 2011.

The Concours de Sport winner, the 1957 Ferrari 335 S was originally a 290 MM Ferrari factory works car, upgraded to 315 S specifications and later again to its current 335 S configuration.

Throughout its various stages in life as a Ferrari works car, it was driven by racing legends such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Alfonzo De Portago, Wolfgang bon Trips, Stirling Moss and many others. It competed for three seasons, racing at Sebring, Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and the Nurburgring. This car aided Ferrari’s World Championship victories in 1956 and 1957.


Just four Ferrari 335 S’ were ever made, including the one destroyed at the 1957 Mille Miglia. The horrific crash took the life of Alfonso de Portago and his co-driver Edmont Nelson, as well as nine spectators and ultimately led to the demise of the Mille Miglia itself.

Rule changes post 1958 rendered the car outmoded and obsolete, with the three remaining factory cars sold to privateer racing teams.


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