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The Ritz Carlton

11.01.2013, 13:53:50 cet

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Amelia Island, 10 March, 2002

Quality In Quantity
Auction Prelude
Concept Cars
Concours Celebrations
Ferrari Class
And The Rest

Ferrari Class
Apart from the previously mentioned ”Daytona” plus a 250 GT Lusso in the Sports Cars (1960 –1974) class, and the 250 GTO of Bernie Carl in the Race Cars (1960 – 1980) class, there was also a Ferrari only class for cars built between 1947 and 1959.Within this latter group of six cars was what is reputed to be the second Ferrari imported to the USA, a 166 Inter Stablimenti Farina coupe, chassis # 0041M, although its Rosso Corsa paintwork looked a trifle out of place on a Ferrari of this vintage. Strangely enough this was the only Ferrari in attendance with red paintwork. Much more in keeping with its vintage, was the glistening black of the 212 Export Vignale cabriolet, chassis # 0110E, with nicely complimenting tan leather upholstery. The class was completed by a 212 Inter Pinin Farina coupe, a pair of 250 GT ”Speciale” models, and a 410 SuperAmerica.

Auction Prelude
As a prelude to the concours, RM Auctions held an auction in the grounds of the hotel on the Saturday afternoon. Within the entries there was the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza, chassis # 2211125, well known in European historic events for many years in the hands of the late owner Terry Cohn, from whose estate the car was being sold. After fierce bidding from someone in the marquee and a telephone bidder, it eventually went under the hammer at $2.3 million. Another high bid car was the Ferrari 375 MM Spider Scaglietti, chassis #0366AM, which was driven onto the podium by legendary American racing driver Bobby Unser, three times winner of the Indy 500 and an incredible 14 time winner of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. The hammer went down on this at $1.75 million, after what seemed like interminable $50,000 dollar increments from the $1.5 million mark. There were also fifteen cars from actor Nicholas Cage’s collection, which were a diverse selection, including a 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante coupe, a 1955 Jaguar D- Type and a 1981 Kremer Porsche 935 K4.

There was little on offer for Maserati fans, apart from a replica of a Tipo 151 Le Mans coupe finished in British racing Green. The replica was built on chassis # 18427565, with a V8 Mexico engine # 258, and featured right hand drive, in keeping with the original Le Mans cars.

Quality In Quantity
Whoever said that quality and quantity don’t mix, had obviously never visited the Amelia Island Concours! Now in its seventh year, the event has really made its mark on the classic scene, and draws a truly broad spectrum of stunning vehicles from all eras. Thus there were over two hundred and fifty cars and motorcycles spread across the ”Field of Dreams” on the lawns of the Ritz Carlton Hotel at Amelia Island in north-east Florida, on Sunday 10th March, all vying for honours in the numerous categories and classes. Last year over 30,000 spectators passed through the gates, and judging by the much larger crowds this year, that figure was comfortably exceeded.

Concours Celebrations
Each year the concours has one or more themes as a celebration, and this year there were two. The first was ”A Century of Cadillac” with a special class for the marque, and the second was ”The Cars of Dan Gurney”, the renowned American racing driver, whose career spanned the period from the mid fifties through to 1970.

During that time he was a Ferrari works driver in 1959, had four F1 Grand prix victories, including one in 1967 in a car bearing his own name, the Eagle/Gurney-Weslake V12, has won endurance races at the Nurburgring, Sebring, Daytona and Le Mans, whilst also notching up numerous victories in other major league categories. To celebrate his achievements there were a number of cars that he had either raced or built on display. These ranged from a 1960 Maserati Tipo 60 #Birdcage, loaned by the Indianapolis Museum, through a 1962 Porsche 718 F2 car, to the famous, or should that be infamous, Ferrari 365 GTB/4 with which he and Brock Yates won the coast to coast 1972 Cannonball Run, completing the 2900 mile run in 35 hours and 54 minutes. That’s as close to an 80mph average as makes no odds, and when you consider the time included fuel stops, then the true average is even higher!

Concept Cars
As part of the their patronage of the event, General Motors displayed four concept cars, which were making their first public appearance on the East Coast, having previously only been shown at the Detroit and Los Angeles motor shows earlier in the year. The models on display were the retro look Chevrolet Bel Air, the youth orientated Saturn Sky, the off-road Saab 9-3X, and the Pontiac Solstice roadster, which it is hoped will be marketed at below $25,000. There was also the 1959 Cadillac Cyclone ”laboratory on wheels” concept car, with its prominent bullet wings that incorporated parking sensors, and glass bubble roof that retracted into the body to provide open-air motoring.

And The Rest
Maseratis were thin on the ground, as apart from the ”Birdcage” there was only one other example, this being a superb 450 S entered by Bruce McCaw. There were other examples of Italy’s sporting heritage, including an Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 MM, a 1952 Stanguellini 1100 Sport plus a 1959 Formula Junior car from the same manufacturer, a 1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM, and a Bizzarrina 7000 GT.

The range of other marques was truly eclectic, naturally they were predominantly American, although there were examples of Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Delage, Delahaye, Mercedes Benz, Rolls Royce and Voisin, to name but a few, with even a class for hot rods. Porsche racing cars had their own class, and looked very attractive with examples of 904 GT, 906, 907, 908, 917, 956 and 962 models on display. The award for the most audacious exterior went to a lurid orange Boano bodied Lincoln Indianapolis, that was first shown at the 1955 Turin Salon, this was a really wild looking creation and fully justified its ”honour”.

The Amelia Island Concours is one of those events where you think that it can’t possibly get any better the next time, but always seems to surprise with the array of fine automobiles presented under the Florida Spring sun.

Keith Bluemel

Bizzarrini 7000 GT
Porsche 908 LH
Cisitalia 202 SMM s/n 011SMM
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 "Cannonball" s/n 14271
Ferrari 166 Inter Stabilimenti Farina Coupe s/n 0041S
Ford MK IV over Eagle Indy Car
Cadillac Cyclone
Ferrari 375 MM Pinin Farina Spyder s/n 0366AM rebodied by Scaglietti
Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza s/n 2211125
The Ritz Carlton
Ferrari 166 Inter Vignale Coupe s/n 0065S
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