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Amelia Island, Florida, 10th of March 2013

The 18th Concours d´Elegance of Amelia Island was held on its traditional date, the second full weekend in March at the golf course of the Ritz-Carlton. Being one of the top events of its kind it attracted again more than 250 collector cars from all over the world to the 18th fairway in no less than 35 classes to be judged by the international jury. Although it is a typical American big show the Amelia Island has its very own character, whereas Pebble Beach has a clear focus in Elegance and special coachwork the Concours in Florida is divided in a sport category and the common American and European coachbuild classes resulting in two Best of Show awards. With an annual honoree race driver and this year's featured classes celebrating the 50th anniversary of the legendary Porsche 911, the Ford GT40, Lamborghini, the Corvette Stingray and the race cars of Henry Miller this edition might have been the sportiest ever.

The weekend started on Friday with the seminars on the Stingray and the 911 in addition of the auction of Gooding&Company down the road at the Omni Plantation followed by the seminar on the GT40 and the RM Auction on Saturday.

At 3 pm the field was opened for those who wanted to enter the lawn on Saturday, the first opportunity to have a look at some of the entered cars. As the temperatures were quit low for this season and a lot of expected morning dew most of the cars were covered up soon after being set up on their intended spot. The second Sunday in March is also the date of the change to the summer time in the US so the night before the Concours is always a short one and as the cars are not allowed to enter before the sun is out the few morning hours are usually very busy with the car preparation and the judging before the award ceremony normally starting already at noon.

Our way led directly down to the lake were the featured classes were set up including the display for the honoree Sam Posey. Although the American driver entered in no less than 10 editions of the 24 hours at Le Mans Posey might be less known in Europe. His first finish at the Sarthe was in 1969 with the N.A.R.T. Ferrari 250 LM (the very same car that won 1965 in the Hands of Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt) finishing a respected 8th overall in the 4 year old car. The 250 LM (5893) was entered in one more race before displayed at the Indianapolis Motor Museum in its Le Mans livery and was the centre piece of the small selection of Posey related cars, joined by the Ferrari 512 M (1020) that gave Posey his best finish in the 24 hours, a third place in 1971. After his years with N.A.R.T. he joined BMW to race the 3.0 CSL in the World Sports Car Championship. Posey also raced in various American race series like the CanAm, TransAm and the USAC, his talent in smaller Formula races ever gave him the opportunity to race in two American Formula 1 Grand Prix for the Surtees Team.

Just over the bridge on the other side of the lake was the first of the featured classes, the 50th anniversary class of the Ford GT40, the most successful American race car with four successive victories in Le Mans. After the decision was made to re-enter in the international racing scene and a failed purchase of Ferrari Ford set up an own race department with the intention to beat the European sports cars on their home territory. The formation of the Ford Advanced Vehicles department (FAV) in Slough (GB) started the development of the GT40 based on the experience of the Ford powered Lola GT, experienced team manager John Wyer of Aston Martin fame was running the race program. The first prototypes featured a 4.2 litre engine but the first season was not successful at all. A lack of experience and problems with the Colotti gear box and the front aerodynamics prevented good results, twelve of these prototypes were built including 4 roadsters. Both a closed and an open version of these could be seen in Amelia this year, Chassis GT/104 that came third in the Daytona 2000 Kilometres 1965 when its sister car won the first race for the GT40 and the first of the Roadster (GT/108) that served as a development car when the prototypes were worked over in the winter of 1964/65 by Carroll Shelby. The result was the new series model (known as the MKI) featuring a 4.7 Litre engine, a revised body and a ZF gearbox, at the same time a big block version (the 7,4-Litre MKII) was developed to replace the smaller engined cars at the end of the season. In Le Mans 1965 the entered factory cars including two new MKII failed again to finish when the above mentioned Ferrari 250 LM took the last of Ferraris victories, in 1966 finally the MKII finished development to gain the intended victory for the American company. An armada of no less than 8 MKII (Start Number 1-8) with heavily works supported private teams resulting in a 1-2-3 finish, the number 3 car shown in Amelia was entered by Alan Mann but failed to finish.

For the 1967 Le Mans Ford built a complete new car with an innovative aluminium monocoque, the so called J-car. Unlike the original design of the GT40 this car was developed entirely in the USA giving Ford an all American victory in the hands of Dan Gurney and A. J. Foyt. In Amelia American Collector Jim Glickenhaus brought Chassis Number J6 of ten built, the car that only competed in one race, the 1967 Le Mans finishing 4th. John Wyer entered an lightweight version of the GT40 that year named Mirage M1 that was shown as well.

At the end of the season the regulation for the World Sportscar Championship changed and the big block 7.4 litre engine was not eligible anymore. Ford left the championship again and the race program was took over by Wyer who entered the MKI in the famous Gulf colours. This is finally the most successful era of the GT40 as these cars won almost every race they were entered. Three successive chassis numbers (1064, 1075 and 1076) were displayed here, 1074 was just sold in Monterey 2012 for an impressive 11,0 Million Dollar but more important is chassis 1075 as this won no less than two Le Mans races plus numerous others. After winning in 1968 in the hands of Pedro Rodriguez and Lucien Bianchi it won again in 1969 giving Jacky Ickx (together with Jackie Oliver) his first Le Mans victory after his famous “walk over” at the start to demonstrate against the unsafe Le Mans start. Back at that time the drivers were running over to their cars usually driving their first stint unbelted, the next year the rolling start was established when Ickx proved that the start is not really important in a 24 hours race.

The double Le Mans winning car was brought by the Rocky Mountain Automotive Museum and was finally judged Best of Show in the Sports category.

But the GT40 is not the only American car to celebrate its golden jubilee, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is also in its 50th year. 60 years ago the first Corvette founded the myth of the only pure American sports car that was always around during these 6 decades. Ten years later the round 1950s design of the C1 was superseded by the C2, the so-called Sting Ray. Together with the latest 2014 Corvette Stingray Concept car several rare Z06 versions were on display plus an even rarer Grand Sport, one of just 5 race versions built. Two one-off versions could be seen with the 1959 Sting Ray Concept and the 1963 Rondine, a design by Pininfarina bringing Italian elegance on the American chassis.
More in focus is the 50th anniversary of the legendary Porsche 911 that is celebrated all over the world this year. After the early history of the 356 for many the 911 is the only true Porsche that helped the company over the last 50 years in sometimes rough times.

Back in 1963 the 901 debuted in Frankfurt as a design of Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche who created an icon whose basic shape might be the most famous of all automotive designs. The story is well known that the number 901 had to be changed to 911 due to the request of Peugeot whose models have the “0” in the middle.

This year Concours featured both a street car class as well as a racing class as the 911 was also the base of the racing efforts of Porsche in various series. The street car class featured some early prototypes, a very nice 911 S Targa and the most sought after 1973 Carrera 2.7 RS.

Being a small company for a good part of its existence Porsches race philosophy was always the supply of race cars for privateers rather than pure factory race projects. After the success of the Porsche 917 in the World Sports Car Championship and Le Mans the rules changed so Porsche concentrated on the GT class and the Carrera 2.7 RS was the base for a race version, the 2.8 RSR. The RSR was very successful even against larger capacity opponents due to its lightweight design and the reliability, one of the factory racers was brought by Porsche collector Carlos Monteverde, the Martini livered RSR (R6) won the 1973 Targa Florio when the favoured Ferrari 312 PB and Alfa Romeo T33/TT/12 retired.

After the normally aspired 3.0 RSR Porsche started the Turbo- Charged era of the 911 with the RSR Turbo 2,14 Litre. Just four of these very rare factory prototypes were built, one of these (R9) was sold last year at the same location for 3.245 million dollar, its sister car (R13) was brought over by Monteverde to line up with his RSR. This is the most important of the 4 examples as it came home second overall at Le Mans in 1974. Even more successful was the final evolution, the 935 that was raced for more than a decade by private race teams all over the world with countless victories. Beside the cars built by Porsche itself many tuners created race versions based on Porsche supplied body shells, just like the Kremer K3 that won Le Mans in 1979 giving another highlight of the superb race car display.

But Porsche was not just successful on the race tracks but also in rally sports. With its rear mounted engine and the rear-wheel drive the 911 always had a very good traction like the 911 STR that was entered in the 1971 East African Safari Rally. In the 1980s Porsche was looking for a new challenge and found the Rally Paris-Dakar. The 911 SC/RS and the 953 (the 4x4 version of the 911) were both livered in the famous Rothmans design, the 953 even won the Dakar before he was replaced by the 959.
The last feature were the cars of Harry Miller who built the most successful Indianapolis racers in the 1920s. Together with Offenhauser Miller designed his first Indianapolis winning engine, the Type 183 in 1922. Amelia Island celebrated the 90th anniversary of this first victory with a spectacular class of 21 Miller racers. In this first year the engine was raced in a Duesenberg Chassis, a year later already 11 complete Miller Chassis were racing the Indy 500. The straight eight engines of the Type 183 and 122 (after the cubic inches of the displacement) were dominant in American racing, further developments were the front wheel driven chassis and later a V16 engine, one of them beautifully presented in a naked chassis.

Beside the special classes the usual concours classes included single-marque classes for Rolls-Royce, Ferrari. Cadillac and Duesenberg but also mixed classes sorted by its era. Surprisingly the class of the European Coachwork was of less importance than at other events with just a handful of Bugatti, Delahaye and Delage. Two years after Duesenberg won both Best of Show awards and the Bugatti/Ferrari victory of last year's event the 2013 edition was again in American hands. At the end of the award ceremony the 1936 Duesenberg SJN Convertible Coupe by Rollston entered by the Nethercutt Collection joined the Ford GT40 on the winner shot down at the lake. Two years after its win with the 1933 Duesenberg SJN “20 Grand” the collection of Sylmar added another BoS with the recently restored Duesenberg to its impressive trophy collection. The SJN surely will join the 20 Grand in the marble room to come out on further concours in the near future.

This year's concours was another big success with a noticeable increase in the number of visitors. Soon after opening its doors at 9:30 am the lawn was very crowded, sometimes it was difficult to see the cars between the spectators. The quality of the cars was as good as usual, especially when interested n the race cars, few complained about a smaller number of one-off coachbuilt cars but this is just a question of personal preference, this might change in the next edition with a different selection of special classes.

The concours at Amelia Island is a fixed date in the classic car calendar to escape the cold weather in Europe and on the North- East coast of the US that suffered from the return of the winter with a closure of some airport due to snow complicating the journey to Florida.

Text & images ... Peter Singhof ... www.ClassicCarPhotography.de

Ferrari Entry
Class Model Colour Chassis # Entrant

SP 250 LM Red/ Grey 5893 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame
SP 512 M Red-WB Stripes/ Black-Red 1020 Lawrence Auriana Collection
F 250 Europa GT Dark Blue/ Tan 0405GT John H. Barrett
F 250 GT TdF Berlinetta Silver-Red/ Grey 0903GT Peter McCoy
F 250 GT PF S2 Cabriolet White-Grey Met’/ Red With Hardtop 2489GT Kim & Stephen Bruno
F 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Grey Met’/ Green 3409GT Archie & Maggie Urciuoli
F 275 GTS Red/ Tan 7501 Rodolfo Junca de la Vega Jr. Trust
F 275 GTB/4 Red/ Black 10469 Susan & Henry Wilkinson
F 330 GTC Red Met’/ Black 10125 Clete & Karen Gardenhour RC1 250GT TdF Berlinetta Red-Yellow/ Beige 1321GT Charles Wegner
RC1 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Ivory-Maroon St/ Tan 2033GT Paul E. Andrews Jr.

Ferrari North America Display
California Black/ Brown 189976
FF Silver/ Brown 192736
F12 Dark Blue/Brown 193442

RM Auctions Display
340/375 MM PF Berl’ Red/Tan 0320AM

Driveway Display
250 GT PF S2 Cabriolet Silver/Black 3427GT

Keith Bluemel