The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Blog

1962 Best of Show Winner

April 29, 2020

1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost London to Edinburgh Tourer shown by Alton H. Walker

This 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is the oldest car to have won the top award at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. In fact, it is the only car built in the antique era (before World War I)  to have been named Best of Show. (Next oldest among our winners are two Hispano-Suiza H6B Labourdette Skiffs dating to 1922.)

This Rolls-Royce took top honors when it was shown by Alton Walker in 1962.

Walker lived just blocks from The Lodge at Pebble Beach, and he was instrumental in starting the Concours. After enthusiasts successfully lobbied for real European-style road races to be held at Pebble Beach in 1950, he worked with company publicist Gwenn Graham to add a European-style concours d’elegance. In fact, he served as its founding Chairman that first year.

Walker loved a wide variety of cars, ranging from early antiques to a then-new Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, and from its start, he ensured that the concours showcased old cars alongside the new cars that were initially the focus and inevitably won Best of Show. He himself often brought a handful of cars in the early years, and he continued to show cars nearly every year right up to 1984 when age 80 he competed with a 1926 Locomobile. 

Despite his ecumenical taste, it is evident that the marque Rolls-Royce was Walker’s favorite. And in the 1960s and ’70s, it was the favorite of many concours entrants, organizers and judges too — particularly head judge Lucius Beebe, who once wrote a paean to Rolls-Royce for Esquire magazine. 

This Rolls-Royce is currently owned by enthusiast Sam Mann, who has recorded four Best of Show wins with cars that he has restored.