A striking 1933 Delage D8S De Villars Roadster from The Patterson Collection in Louisville, Kentucky, was named Best of Show at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
Photo by Ron Kimball

My Journey to Best of Show

By Jim Patterson

I recently began to reflect on the whole Best of Show experience. What an interesting journey! It began in a lot of different places, but the real beginning was Pebble Beach. Everything seemed to always end up there. Why would anyone “collect” if not to climb the highest mountain? To me it was always the star in space, I saw it, but never consciously believed it was attainable. Subconsciously I wanted it, but it was “way back there” somewhere.

When I found the Voll & Ruhrbeck Bugatti (the Waterfall Car) I began to believe I had a chance, only to lose out at the finish line. I remember a seasoned collector reassuring me that there were other chances out there somewhere. “Don’t lose faith,” he told me.

Sure enough, this Delage appeared, and my subconscious took over. I never remember that I thought it was a Best of Show winner. I don’t even remember the moment at the auction when it was decided this was my car. When I “awoke” the winning bid was mine, and the restoration was then in front of me.

I was initially advised to change the color from white. No white car ever successfully competed for Best of Show, I was told. I held firm. It was to be a “triple white” car, later changing the interior. Then I learned there were hundreds of whites…but I saw a Duesenberg at Pebble Beach (Parfet’s car) that I thought was what I wanted, and he gave me his formula.

I kept hearing from the restorers that my idea was "way out there” but “go for it!” More and more people began to enthuse about the car, and it gave me confidence. We took our time and refined our recipe until we got it right.

Then, as in the auction, something took charge that was almost an out-of-body experience. Why did Sandra select me for the CBS interview and filming? Why did Jay Leno spend close to an hour filming our car? Why did Sandra switch from traditional white roses to red? Why was I confident but not cocky, when I sat there before the announcement?

Does all of this seem outlandish? Childlike? Ridiculous? I have always wondered why a brown cow ate green grass and gave white milk. Couldn’t explain it, just knew it happened.

So Best of Show at Pebble Beach did happen, and I am so pleased and so thankful to have been aboard.