A striking midnight blue 1931 Cadillac 452A owned by 90-year-old Charles Gillet of Lutherville, Md., was awarded the Best in Show at the 2014 Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance at Pinehurst Resort on Sunday.
The car, equipped with a V-16 engine and purchased in 1986 by Gillet and then restored by Pruiett Automotive Restoration, emerged from 119 vintage cars and a strong Class 4 Grand Classics (1925-1948) field to capture the top prize at the second annual showcase.
Gillet, who didn’t attend last year’s inaugural competition, put both hands to his head in shock when notified by Pinehurst Resort caddies – a Pinehurst Concours tradition – that his Cadillac 83-year-old car was judged the day’s best.
“I’m 90 and some of the better things come later in life. This has to be one of those days.” -Charles Gillet
“I’m 90 and some of the better things come later in life,” Gillet said. “This has to be one of those days. My restorer was taking me to lunch one day and I happened to say in a dreamy tone, ‘Someday I would love to have a 16-cylinder Cadillac.’ There was a pause and he said, ‘I know where I can get you one.’ And he did in 1986 and that’s it and we still have it all these years later.
“It is a rare and beautiful car so we knew we had a chance but when we saw some of the other cars — and some cars right next to us on the showfield — we thought, ‘Oh no, this is going to be tough.’ So this really did come as a surprise. I am absolutely bowled over.”
Gillet joined Pinehurst Concours President and CEO Jay Howard for a champagne toast in front of the historic Carolina Hotel, his car situated in front of the “Pinehurst 1895” hedges.
“It’s wonderful to see the excitement on Mr. Gillet’s face and for the Pinehurst Concours to have produced such a magnificently striking automobile as its winner,” Howard said. “The turnout in our second year has humbling and we’re looking forward to improving the event even further next year, but we feel we’ve sort of “teed it up” for Pinehurst heading into back-to-back U.S. Opens in June.”
Last year’s winner – a 1938 Steyr 220 Glaser Roadster – was staged as a display car on the fairways of Pinehurst Resort, as was Steve’s McQueen’s 1956 Jaguar XKSS, which was making a rare appearance on the East Coast from its home at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Both vehicles drew large crowds all day.
“A lot of the collectors I know that came last year and are back this year continue to talk to me about the hospitality of Pinehurst,” said chairman and noted Porsche collector Bob Ingram. “They love the geographic convenience of getting here and the convenience of the set-up at the Pinehurst Concours. I believe we’ve got a winner here.”
Other significant winners included a 1903 Marr Auto Car owned by W. Barton Close of Signal Mountain, Tenn., which captured the HVA Award, and a 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 SS Zagato, owned by Corrado Lepresto of Milan, Italy, took the FIVA award, celebrating vehicles have that survived virtually unrestored.
WINNERS FROM THE 2014 PINEHURST CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE
2014 Best in Show: 1931 Cadillac 452A owned by Charles Gillet from Lutherville, Md.
Chairman’s Award: 1966 Shelby Mustang GT 350H owned by Tom and Pat Cotter from Davidson, N.C.
HVA Award: 1903 Marr Auto Car owned by W. Barton Close from Signal Mountain, Tenn.
FIVA Award: 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 SS Zagato owned by Corrado Lepresto from Milan, Italy.
Robert H. Dedman Jr. Award (Pinehurst Resort member voting): 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster owned by Dr. Rick Workman from Windermere, Fla.
Soldier’s Choice Award (Fort Bragg/Iron Mike Rally voting): 1934 Packard 1104 Sport Phaeton owned by David Peeler from Weddington, N.C.
Class 1 Brass Era Cars 1895 to 1915
- Winner: 1903 Marr Auto Car owned by W. Barton Close from Signal Mountain, Tenn. This car also captured the Historic Vehicle Association award.
- Second Place: 1905 Buick Model C owned by Roberta Holden from Southern Pines, N.C.
- Third Place: 1912 Buick Model 34 owned by Robert Farris from Canton, Ga.
Class 2 Production Pre-War 1916 to 1942
- Winner: 1933 MG J-Type owned by Roy Crowninshield from Asheville, N.C.
- Second Place: 1935 Ford Standard owned by Tommy Harper from Bedford, Va.
- Third Place: 1920 Stutz Series Model H owned by Jim Aldrich from Raleigh, N.C.
Class 3 Production Postwar 1946 to 1982
- Winner: 1958 DeSoto Firedome owned by Brad Jones from Greensboro, N.C.
- Second Place: 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III owned by Gerald Miller from Albemarle, N.C.
- Third Place: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air owned by Bob Agee from Grovetown, Ga.
Class 4 Grand Classics 1925 to 1948
- Winner (tied): 1931 Cadillac 452A owned by Charles Gillet from Lutherville, Md., and Best in Show.
- Winner (tied): 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster owned by Dr. Rick Workman from Windermere, Fla. This car also was awarded the Robert H. Dedman Jr. Award.
- Second Place: 1936 Rolls-Royce Sport Saloon owned by Thomas Wright from Sneads Ferry, N.C.
- Third Place: 1937 Lincoln V-12 Touring owned by John Fisher from Bald Head Island, N.C.
Class 5 Sports and GT Cars 1946 to 1964
- Winner: 1964 Jaguar E-Type owned by Avery Wise from Waxhaw, N.C.
- Second Place: 1951 Porsche 356 owned by Pete Archibald from Hilton Head, S.C.
- Third Place: 1954 Jaguar XK120 owned by Ronald Schotland from Skillman, N.J.
Class 6 Ford Mustang 50th Anniversary
- Winner: 1967 Ford Mustang owned by Jack Williams from Graham, N.C.
- Second Place: 1966 Shelby GT 350 owned by Stan Simm from Winston-Salem, N.C.
- Third Place: 1978 Ford Mustang II King Cobra owned by Bill and Kelley Maddox from Fayetteville, Ga.
Class 7 Porsche Turbo 40th Anniversary
- Winner: 1994 Porsche (964) 911 Turbo 3.6 owned by Michael Mulligan from Toms River, N.J.
- Second Place: 1996 Porsche (993) GT2 owned by James Edwards from Show Low, Ariz.
- Third Place: 1996 Porsche (993) 911 Turbo owned by Karl Boegner from Dahlonega, Ga.
Class 8 Sports and GT Cars 1965 to 1976
- Winner: 1972 Datsun 240Z owned by Robert Speights by Nashville, Tenn.
- Second Place: 1965 Porsche 356C owned by Tim Herman from Hickory, N.C.
- Third Place: 1970 Porsche 911S owned by William C. “Rusty” Russ from Jacksonville, Fla.
Class 9 Wood-bodied Cars 1915 to 1950
- Winner: 1947 Chrysler Town & Country owned by Mark and Hilary Becker from Jacksonville, Fla.
- Second Place: 1946 Ford Master Deluxe Station Wagon owned by Jeff McKain from Virginia Beach, Va.
- Third Place: 1937 Dodge Brothers Westchester Suburban owned by Christopher Lawrence from Virginia Beach, Va.
Class 10 Limited Production Cars
- Winner: 1969 Iso Grifo owned by Darren Frank from Charlotte, N.C.
- Second Place: 1963 Studebaker Avanti R-2 Supercharged owned by Joseph Parsons from Raleigh, N.C.
- Third Place: 1963 Porsche Carrera owned by Thomas Zarrella from Gloucester, Mass.
Class 11 American Muscle Cars 1961 to 1974
- Winner: 1960 Chevrolet Corvette owned by Bradley Bean from Miramar Beach. Fla.
- Second Place: 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS owned by Robert Stumpf from Orland Park, Ill.
- Third Place: 1967 Pontiac GTO owned by Thomas Zarrella from Gloucester, Mass.
Class 12 Race Cars
- Winner: 1972 BMW 3.5 CSL Group 2 owned by Scott Hughes from Sunset, S.C.
- Second Place: 1969 McLaren M6/G owned by James Edwards from Show Low, Ariz.
- Third Place: 1960 Chevrolet Corvette owned by Tommy Bradshaw from Clinton, N.C.