For 364 days out of the year, the 18th fairway at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Monterey, California, represents one final, daunting test to cap off what is, for most guests, their dream round of golf.
But on Sunday, the fairway held a different type of tension for the owners and handlers of 200 stunning automobiles. As the California sun kept Monterey’s misty marine layer far out to sea, one car – a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster – stood above the rest, taking home one of the greatest honors in the world of concours: The Pebble Beach Concours Best of Show.
The voluptuous Benz, which hailed from the European Classic Touring Class – one of an array of 27 classes represented here this year – is owned by Jim Patterson from Louisville, Kentucky. It’s one of just three 540K Long-Tail Special Roadsters remaining in the world today. The Sindelfingen-bodied beauty was originally delivered to then-23-year-old King Mohammed Zahir Shah of Afghanistan in 1937, before being stored in the Afghan Embassy in Paris for the duration of World War II.
When Patterson acquired the car in 2022, it was a deep maroon color. During an extensive restoration at the hands of RM Auto Restorations, the car was repainted in the gorgeous black seen here. It’s the second consecutive Best-of-Show winner to come from RM’s restoration shop.
Confetti and streamers covered the car and surrounding area as Patterson turned to address this prestigious honor.
“[Winning Best of Show] is the ultimate thrill for a car collector,” explained Patterson in between blowing kisses towards the Pebble Beach Lodge to those cheering his success. “The competition was extremely difficult, and this was an extremely tight choice, I’m told.”
Patterson’s Benz bested three other remarkable finalists, including a 1930 Mercedes-Benz SS Special Roadster, an unrestored 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Corto Figoni Cabriolet, and a 1939 Delahaye 165 Figoni et Falaschi Cabriolet.
The win moves Mercedes-Benz into the lead for most Best-of-Show victories for a single marque, edging the Germans ahead of Bugatti, another brand heavily represented on the fairway this year.
Patterson, however, was focused on a different number:
“Being from Kentucky, we are in the horse racing world,” he explained. “Very few horses ever win the Triple Crown. This is our third win.”