The Louis Vuitton Classic Award is given annually to an automobile judged Best of the Best by the jury of specialists at Louis Vuitton. To become eligible, the car first has to be judged “Best of Show” at one of the top events worldwide, including the Cavallino Classic, Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Concours d’Elegance of America, Quail Motorsports Gathering, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, among others. (The 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K won “Best of Show” at the 2011 Concours d’Elegance of America). These winners are then examined by a jury of specialists and the judging criteria considers the elegance and the refinement of the coachwork, exterior and interior, the mechanical beauty, the form and function appropriateness, as well as the authenticity, the historical importance and the rarity.
In addition to the Keller’s Mercedes-Benz 540 K Autobahn Kurier, other cars nominated for the 2011 Louis Vuitton Classic Award were a 1951 Ferrari 212 Export Vignale (Cavallino Classic), 1933 Duesenberg ‘Twenty Grand’ (Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance), 1968 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale (Concorso d’Eleganze Villa d’Este), 1955 Ferrari 375 America Coupe Speciale (Quail Motorsports Gathering) and 1934 Voisin C-25 Aerodyne (Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance).
The judging panel for the Louis Vuitton Classic Award is chaired by Christian Philippsen; other judges were: Chris Bangle (Chris Bangle Associates); Ian Cameron (Rolls-Royce); Luc Donckerwolke (Volkswagen Group Advanced Design); Matteo Fioravanti (Fioravanti); Fabrizio Giugiaro (Italdesign – Giugiaro); Gert Hildebrand (Chery Quantum Auto); Wahei Hirai (Toyota Group Design); François Melcion (Rétromobile); Shiro Nakamura (Nissan Group Design); Adolfo Orsi (Historical Selecta); Roberto Piatti (Torino Design); Lorenzo Ramaciotti (Fiat Group Design); Michael Robinson (Bertone); Gorden Wagener (Daimler Group Design) and Ed Welburn (General Motors Group Design).
The Louis Vuitton Classic Award ceremony will take place in Monaco on April 23, 2012, where Louis Vuitton will present a specially commissioned sculpture to the Kellers.
2011 Louis Vuitton Classic Award Winner – 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Autobahn Kurier
[Source: Concours d’Elegance of America; photos: Nathan Leach-Proffer]