Pebble Beach: Rare Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik wins show’s highest honor

This 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo won the prestigious Best of Show award at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
(David Undercoffler / Los Angeles Times)

The vintage car world’s most prestigious car show culminated this weekend with a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo winning Best of Show at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Sunday evening.

Amid a dense wall of celebratory fireworks, tiny gold car confetti shot out of cannons, and before a cheering crowd, owner Paul Andrews and famed classic car mechanic Paul Russell drove the car onto the stage on the 18th green at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

“You always hope and you always try to put forth the effort where you can win or have a chance of winning, but for it to actually happen is just amazing,” Andrews said shortly after winning. “We’re excited, we’re tickled to death and what a great day to be here.”

It’s been a good week for the man from White Settlement, Texas. His wife wasn’t able to attend this car show because their daughter gave birth just a few days earlier. Thus it was decided that Russell would accompany Andrews in driving up to collect the trophy.


Andrews’ car was chosen from more than 220 vehicles on display after beating out 11 other vehicles in the Saoutchik Coachwork class.

Saoutchik was a French coach-building company in the first half of the 20th century known for extravagant designs. Its bodies appeared on chassis made by companies like Cadillac, Bugatti and Delahaye.

This car is powered by a 6.8-liter supercharged Mercedes-Benz engine and was shown at the 1928 New York Auto Show. It then was purchased by Frederick Henry Bedford who drove it until his death in 1952. The car was then stored for more than thirty years before being restored by his family. It was sold at auction in the 1980’s, Andrews said, and he bought it from that buyer in a private sale in mid 2010.

After buying the car, Andrews then started a complete restoration, though the car was already well sorted, he said. Both the Mercedes stampings on the mechanicals were all correct, as were the Saoutchik stampings. The car is fitted with completely correct pieces, down to the nuts and bolts that hold the car together.

“We spared no expense in trying to get it back absolutely correct,” Andrews said. “We wanted no shortcuts at all and we wanted it to be as original as it could possibly be.”

When asked what the restoration cost him, Andrews chuckled. “Well, I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll tell you when I get the last bill.”