Ask any automotive enthusiast what the biggest award in the world Concours circuit is and you’ll most likely be greeted with the answer “Best of Show at Pebble Beach.” This prestigious award is sought after by the most adamant of collectors and requires a monumental amount of effort to win. With stringent judges and a showfield packed with stiff competition, shooting for the top prize is no easy task.
Enter Steve Babinsky, a lifelong car enthusiast and world-class automotive restorer who is no stranger to Pebble Beach. Babinsky has been working with cars all of his life, with an interest in pre-war cars and full classics, neither of which are in short supply at his shop. Babinsky’s shop, Automotive Restorations in Lebanon, NJ, is well-known in the vintage car world, with a wait list of about a year to get a car in for maintenance or restoration work.
Back in 2016, Babinsky and his team were tasked with restoring the 1929 Mercedes S Barker Tourer before the car’s attempt at taking home the main trophy at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car was built with many unique features including its rich blue color, torpedo style running boards, and low cut before being delivered new to a Captain Miller, on behalf of Earl Howe, founder of the British Racing Driver’s Club.
The 1929 Mercedes S Barker Tourer is now owned by world-class car collector Bruce McCaw, who has owned it for several years, but was unsure on whether to restore the Mercedes. It was not until McCaw worked with Babinsky and his team to heavily research the car and unearthed a large catalogue of old pictures that McCaw decided to have the car fully restored. McCaw told the Pebble Beach Concours “The question was whether or not to restore it. I always hate to restore something that doesn’t need it. But we finally found enough pictures that we knew the car needed to be restored.”
Babinsky will be speaking about the research process he and his team went through while preparing to restore this legendary Mercedes and the challenges they faced at the 2020 Drive History Conference. Their search for primary sources of information regarding the history of the car and reference material to base their work upon lead them on a wild goose chase of a fact-finding journey.
We’re elated to include this presentation among our events as it is an important look into the knowledge of history and research needed for a top-level restoration worthy of winning one of the most sought-after awards in the automotive world. The presentation will take place on the second day of our 2020 Drive History Conference taking place on April 23-25th of this year. Registration for the event closes March 16th, so click here to reserve your spot today!
Photos courtesy of Michael Furman Photography