The Amelia Island Concours – 21 years
We met a few friends here at Amelia during the weekend. Our friend Judy Stropus invited us to a casual dinner party where I listened to some great stories from Dick Fritz, former NART team manager and Chuck Cantwell, godfather of the Shelby GT350/GT350R program. The Mahi Mahi was okay but the conversation was outstanding. And this is what is great about Amelia Island Concours. It attracts some of the greatest contributors to Motorsport in addition to the opportunity to admire the world’s greatest automobiles.
I must confess that I do not play golf and therefore I can think of no better use for the beautiful greens of the Ritz-Carlton’s 10th and 18th fairways than showcasing some of the world’s most important and historic motor cars. The magician for making all of these cars appear seemingly over night is Bill Warner. “Diverse doesn’t begin to describe Amelia 2016,” said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Concours d’Elegance. “We let our passions shape Amelia, so the field has a unique flavor that even hard core racers tell us they really love.” We thank Bill and his team of literally hundreds of volunteers for making this event possible. And what an event it was.
My personal favorite effort of Bill’s team was assembling a collection of Spanish Pegasos. I am told that around 20% of the entire production of Pegasos were on hand to amaze. Each one in spectacular coachwork. We were surprised to see a Pegaso owned by one of Mint’s neighbors, Keith Andersen. Frankly, Keith has some great cars that he occasionally parks outside his fabulous restaurant, Community Table. I didn’t know a Pegaso was part of his collection. BMW was given the opportunity to share its 100-year milestone giving driver Hans Stuck a chance to reacquaint himself with some of his finest race cars. Lamborghini Miura celebrated a birthday too – 50 years of making incredible music to those lucky enough to hear one run, full chat.
There were concept cars from everywhere but Detroit placed gingerly around a water hazard – most celebrating styling cues from the jet age. Outlandish in concept yet spectacular to look at. I had an opportunity to get up close with the famous Phantom Corsair and actually spotted it driving to the tee it would occupy during the event. Crazy impractical but imaginative. By now you understand Bill Warner’s comment about diversity.
The crowds on Concours day were amazing. Mind you, this is a fund raiser and they aren’t shy about ticket prices. You need $120 to enter and it is worth every cent. I don’t know what the total amount raised is as of this writing. Thankfully, we were able to get on the field on Saturday late afternoon and early on Sunday. One of our favorite opportunities was to get up close to a 1934 SS1 at the Jaguar Heritage display. The SS1 is actually the first sports car produced by SS (to be renamed Jaguar after the war), and was constructed by one of SS’s senior employees. Rare indeed.
The judges had their work cut out for them. Once again, Bill Warner assembles some of the most influential people to review and compare the best of the best. Pete Brock, Derek Bell, Wayne Cherry, Luigi Chinetti, Jr, Ken Gross are just a few of the more than 100 experts on hand. They awarded Best of Show Concours de Sport to the 1952 Pegaso Z-102 BS 2.5 Cupula Coupe owned by Evert Louwman and Best of Show Concours of Elegance at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours went to the 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Town Car from the Nethercutt Collection.
We couldn’t possibly photograph all of the entrees and I encourage you to read other reports like Hagerty.com, Sports Car Market and my fave, Petrolicious. Until next year.