WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — A recent weekend full of horsepower, taillights, smiles and friendships — along with some friendly competition — came to a conclusion when the 1933 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8A Sports Tourer owned by Stephen Plaster of Lebanon, Missouri, was presented with the Best of Show Award at The 2021 Greenbrier Concours d’Elegance. The Best of Show trophy was created on property at America’s Resort by Virtu Glass and went to the finest car on the field of more than 90 cars.
Isotta-Fraschini was founded in Milan, Italy, in 1900. The Model 8A had a 7.3 litre straight-eight engine. This was the most powerful mass-produced engine in the world at that time. The Tipo 8A was only offered as a bare chassis and engine for the first owner’s coachbuilder of choice. The Tipo 8A was Isotta-Fraschini’s signature vehicle and often considered the world’s greatest luxury car.
The winning car’s one-off body was designed by Ercole Castagna. Built to be the company’s feature car at the 27th Salon de l’Automobile Paris in 1933, it was afterward shipped to New York to crown their opulent Manhattan showroom. A long Hollywood career began in 1937, its most famous role being the 1956 epic, “Giant,” during which the car is driven throughout Texas by James Dean. A complete nut and bolt restoration on this famous Isotta-Fraschini was completed by Evergreen Historic Automobiles in 2018.
The rare Isotta-Fraschini wasn’t the only big winner on Sunday. Class champions were named in each of the 10 classes that were showcased on the picturesque show field, surrounding the iconic front entrance at The Greenbrier.
“Every year the judges’ decisions get more and more difficult, because the field of cars keeps getting better and better,” said Phil Neff, Chief Judge, The Greenbrier Concours d’Elegance. “Just making the field is a tremendous honor on its own, and those who took home trophies were the best of the best.”
Class winners included:
American Classics: 1931 Buick Series 96C Coupe (David Landow; Potomac, Maryland)
European Classics: 1952 Bentley R-Type Continental (William Davis; Charleston, West Virginia)
Pre-War Production Cars: 1910 Oakland 30 Model 24 Runabout (Paul Phillips; Marietta, Georgia)
Post-War Production Cars: 1957 Thunderbird F-Bird (Allen Tate; Racine, Ohio)
Sports Cars: 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe (John Rogers; Wheeling, West Virginia)
Jaguars: 1966 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 (Ronald Schotland; Skillman, New Jersey)
Muscle Cars: 1966 Shelby GT 350; John Garnett; Spotsylvania, Virginia)
Preservation: 1962 Chevrolet Corvette (Mark Davis; Landrum, South Carolina)
Pontiac: 1961 Pontiac Ventura Sport Coupe (Gary Doty; Bath, Michigan)
Just for Fun: 1960 Fiat Jolly Convertible (Thomas Zarella; Gloucester, Massachusetts)
In addition to the class awards, 10 special awards were presented at the trophy ceremony, and the winners received hand-crafted trophies made by the craftsmen at The Greenbrier. The awards featured the iconic Springhouse, which has been a symbol of America’s Resort for centuries. The winners included:
Television and Movie Cars People’s Choice: 1979 Ford Econoline Dumb and Dumber Dog Van (Stephen Plaster; Lebanon, Missouri)
Chief Judge’s Award (Selected by Paul Sable): 1929 Ford Model A Roadster (Michael Hamby; Wilmington, North Carolina)
Duke of Windsor Award (Most Elegant Closed Car): 1929 Duesenberg Model J Sedan (Greg Ornazian; Rochester, Michigan)
Princess Grace Award (Most Elegant Open Car): 1951 Ferrari 212 Export Cabriolet (Peter Kalikow; New York, New York)
Dorothy Draper Award (Most Stylish Interior): 1960 Pontiac Ventura Sport Coupe (Tommy Nolen; North Chesterfield, Virginia)
Sam Snead Award (Best Country Club Car): 1930 Cadillac Series 452 V16 Roadster (Dwight Schaubach; Hampton Roads, Virginia)
Eisenhower Award (Best Cold War Era Car): 1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (James Mitchell; Warrenton, Virginia)
Artist’s Award: 1935 SS1 Jaguar Drophead Coupe (Eduardo Zavalla; St. Petersburg, Florida)
Most Historically Significant Road Car: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB Sedan (Dwight Schaubach; Hampton Roads, Virginia)
Most Historically Significant Sports Car: 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL (Atena Rosak; Cockeysville, Maryland)
Sunday’s Concours was the culmination of a weekend full of events for car owners from across the country.
On Friday, The Greenbrier Concours d’Elegance started its engine with The Summit Drive, which took car enthusiasts to the top of Greenbrier Mountain to The Summit at The Greenbrier Sporting Club for brunch. Following the meal, the cars of all eras and varieties embarked on a drive through mountain roads to Roanoke, Virginia, where participants visited the Virginia Museum of Transportation.
That evening’s Welcome Reception at Kate’s Mountain Lodge included food and fellowship and entertainment for judges, car owners, event staff and enthusiasts.
Saturday began with Cars & Cocktails, which featured nearly 100 cars of all types displayed on the world-class golf courses at The Greenbrier. That was followed up with an automotive seminar, and the evening concluded with a Charitable Dinner, which raised more than $60,000 among the three charitable partners — The Mountaineer Autism Project, AACA Library and Research Center and First Responders Children’s Foundation.
All of those events served as appetizers for the main course on Sunday, as the finest collector cars in the world were judged by Neff and his qualified team of concours judges. A featured Television and Movie Cars class drew many interested spectators, and an online vote determined the People’s Choice Award for that class.
“It was simply an incredible weekend from start to finish,” said Cam Huffman, a member of The Greenbrier Concours d’Elegance Steering Committee. “We couldn’t have asked for a better field of cars on both Saturday and Sunday, and the turnout of spectators to come see the cars was amazing. It’s always wonderful to showcase West Virginia and The Greenbrier to a new audience, and celebrating our history is a major goal for The Greenbrier. This event accomplished all of that, and we’re excited about how it can continue to grow.”
Plans have already begun for The 2022 Greenbrier Concours d’Elegance, A featured Preservation Class will be just one of the major attractions for next year’s event, which will be held May 6-8.