2022 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance judges gave the prestigious “Best of Show” award to a one-of-a-kind 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo. This marks the first time an American car has earned “Best of Show” since 2013 and is the Duesenberg brand’s seventh win.
Owned by Lee R. and Penny Anderson, the droptop has a fascinating story. It was assigned chassis number 2509 and shipped without a body to Motors Deluxe in Paris. This was a common practice in an era when coachbuilding flourished. French coachbuilder Joseph Figoni fitted the Duesenberg with a one-off Sports Torpedo body and returned it to Motors Deluxe owner E.Z Sadovich, who then drove the car in the 1932 edition of the Paris-Nice Rally before delivering it to its original owner, a Peruvian sugar heir named Antonio Chopitea.
Chopitea displayed his new Duesenberg at a concours held in Cannes and won the Grand Prix. What happened next remains a little murky: what’s certain is that the Duesenberg traveled to the United States in 1933 and lost its Figoni-designed body in the 1960s. The chassis ended up wearing a different body for decades while the original body was fitted to another Model J, according to Hagerty. Luckily, both cars found their way to the same collection. Anderson purchased the duo and began the long, meticulous process of rebuilding chassis 2509.
He paid a tremendous amount of attention to even the most minute details. He notably tracked down the original crankshaft fitted to the straight-eight engine; it had been installed in a car located in Vancouver. The owner agreed to provide the part to Anderson’s project.
The diligent restoration paid off: Anderson’s Model J beat 39 cars to earn what many consider the classic car world’s most coveted award.
“All the preparation — the story behind this car is just amazing. There’s only one Figoni Duesenberg, ever ever, and it’s this one right here. So, it’s like all these things coming together to make a real champion. We’re so excited,” Anderson said.
The list of Best of Show nominees also included a 1937 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Figoni & Falaschi Teardrop Coupé, a 1930 Duesenberg J Graber Cabriolet, and a 1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Stabilimenti Farina Cabriolet. As a consolation prize, the 1937 Talbot-Lago took first place in the European Classic Closed category, the 1930 Duesenberg won the Graber Coachwork Early class, and the 1951 Talbot-Lago won first place in the Talbot-Lago Grand Sport category.