The 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 spider and 1934 Pierce-Arrow 840A share the stage at Radnor Hunt. Photos courtesy Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance.
Each September, Radnor Hunt, a Malvern, Pennsylvania estate that boasts the oldest foxhunt in the United States, plays host to its own concours d’elegance. Now in its 19th year, the venue awards dual Best of Show trophies, with one going to the most outstanding sporting automobile and the second going to the most elegant classic. This year, a Touring-bodied 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 spider owned by Gordon Barrett of Indianapolis, Indiana, took top honors in the Sport category, while a 1934 Pierce-Arrow 840A convertible sedan owned by Charles Gillet of Lutherville, Maryland, was the non-sporting Best of Show Winner.
Barrett’s Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 spider was first shown at the Paris Auto Salon in 1932, wearing the same Carrozzeria Touring body it carries today. Beneath its lengthy hood was a supercharged inline-eight cylinder engine, displacing 2.3 liters and producing just over 140 horsepower. With its four-speed manual transmission, the Alfa was surely among the most entertaining sports cars of its day.
Sold to its first owner in England, the car was reportedly enjoyed on both road and track, as designer Vittorio Jano intended. In 1940, the car was purchased by an American and shipped to the East Coast, where it would remain until acquired by Barrett in 1991.
As purchased, the car was hardly in show-ready condition, and Barrett spent the next 12 years on the carefully executed restoration. In a 2007 interview with Autoweek, he explained that the Alfa was never restored with the thought of concours competition in mind; instead, Barrett simply wanted the car to be as correct as it possibly could be. His dedication to detail was rewarded in 2005, when the car won its class at Pebble Beach, scoring a perfect 100 points (plus an additional .5 points for “elegance”). In the years since, the Alfa Romeo has taken awards at Amelia Island (2010) and Keeneland (2011), to name but a few.
The Best of Show Sport trophy at Radnor Hunt is a testament not only to an exceptional car, but to the care lavished upon in by an owner obsessed with even the smallest detail.
Charles Gillett’s 1934 Pierce Arrow 840A Convertible Sedan, the other Best of Show winner, is having a very good year. In addition to capturing top honors at the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance, his Pierce-Arrow was the recipient of the 2015 Bernard J. Weis Trophy for the most authentically restored example at this year’s Pierce-Arrow Society meeting in Buffalo, New York.
Look for a complete list of category winners to appear on RadnorConcours.org in the coming days.