The 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has been going strong for 64 years already − kinda interesting for a show that often features cars that aren’t yet 64 years old. In the end, it’s the pre-eminent car show in the U.S., if not the world. If you own a car that is considered the best of the best, or maybe it’s a special coach-built one-off example, it just may be Pebble Beach material.
So seeing this 1938 Buick at the Concours was an interesting sight. Buick was below Cadillac in the General Motors pecking order, but that doesn’t mean Buick isn’t welcome when there was an Auburn present − another car that catered to Buick’s segment. But among the million-dollar Ferraris and Duesenbergs? Yeah, why not? Especially when it’s a one-off 1938 Series 80 Limited Opera Brougham designed by Fernandez & Darrin.
You may be familiar with Darrin and the work he’s done with Packard a few years later, but in 1938 the American was in Paris working with banker and furniture maker J. Fernandez. They built this Opera Brougham for the 1938 Paris Auto Salon, meaning it was designed to catch the eye of well-heeled show-goers as well as to show competing coachbuilders what they were capable of.
This very Buick sold for $506,000 at the Gooding & Company Pebble Beach auction five years ago − heavy change for one of the very few Americans designed by a European firm.