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Jacksonville, FL, 9 March, 2014

Already for the 19th time the prestigious Concours d’Elegance was held at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Hotel at Amelia Island, again on its traditional date at the second weekend of March.
With over 330 cars and a few bikes in no less than 40 different classes the international jury had the agony of choice to pick the best cars out of a stunning high quality field that is second to no other concours as winning an Amelia Award adds a lot both to the cars value and history.
Being held in the mild climate of Florida spring this is also the first of the annual big car shows followed by St. John and Pebble Beach in summer. Unfortunately the weather the days before the main event was not as warm as expected when travelling to Florida as the Tour d´Elegance on Friday morning was started in drizzly conditions with temperatures in the low 40 degree Fahrenheit so it was not a surprise that just about half of the initially entered cars took the tour to the turning point in Huguenot Memorial Park and back to Fernandina Beach for the lunch stop. Unfortunately the tour itself does not mean that much compared to the counterpart at Pebble so the parade of cars did not say anything about the quality of the forthcoming main event on the lawn on Sunday.

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After some seminars, the silent auction of automobilia in the Ritz and the two big auctions of RM and Gooding the concours cars started to be set up on the golf course on Saturday afternoon. As the clocks were set to summer time the following night the sunrise was again an hour late the next morning leaving a small time window for the line-up before the spectators entered the field. Not few entrants tried to avoid the stress by setting up the car already the day before and although most of them were covered up quit soon one could get a first impression of the field and fortunately the weather improved with every day and the first sunbeams during the afternoon pronounced a very pleasant Sunday weather and with even more great cars to come there was a lot of anticipation.
As expected the following morning started very busy and long before sunrise the first cars lined up in the hotels driveway to wait for the official starting signal to enter the field as soon as there was enough light for a safe set-up. Numerous volunteers directed every single car with a golf cart to its predicted individual spot on the field, the special sports classes around the lake, the American classes near the award ceremony area and the sports and race car classes in front of the club house. With the limited time until the spectators were allowed to come in and the judges began their work the entrants, their curators or mechanics were busy preparing the classics for the inspection by the international jury. In typical American Style the awards ceremony started quit early afternoon as the end of the concours was scheduled for 5 pm. All the photographers ran around to take a few group shots before the cars literally disappeared in between the crowds as this year’s concours was visited by almost 30.000 visitors making this the most successful edition ever. After the mandatory morning prayer and the national anthem it was time to take a closer look at single cars and the different classes. Some of them are the typical classes of every concours with different eras of European and American coach built examples, single marque classes of the most important manufacturers or sports and racing cars over the decades but especially the more interesting special classes for round anniversaries are making every edition unique.

Just like in previous few years this year’s special classes were quit sportive laying the focus even more on the race cars than at every other concours. Therefore Amelia Island is the only big car show with two Best of Show for the classic concours cars and also for race cars and whereas other event sometimes feature a designer or constructor Amelia does also feature a race driver every year, this year’s honoree was Jochen Mass.

The first class (es) to be mentioned is the centenary of Maserati that will be certainly celebrated at every car show in the world this year following last year’s jubilarian Aston Martin. In two classes Amelia featured both the street cars and more important the race cars, unfortunately just one car represented the time before the war. When Maserati started in 1914 the focus was just on race cars and the first successful cars were the straight eight cylinder Type 26 in different displacement, in 1929 finally Maserati created its wildest car with the V4 that consisted of two straight eights combined to a 16-cylinder V engine. With two superchargers the car produced about 300 hp and was the fastest race car of its period, and with just 2 example built even one of the rarest. The car on show was the second one and although sharing the same racing genes with the sister car this was actually a road car bodied by this years featured coachbuilder Zagato and represented in stylish two-tone green livery. After the war Maserati actually started to build production road cars just like its opponent Ferrari to finance racing so in this period the history of the marque could be divided in road and racing cars so there were two classes. The heydays of Maserati were without doubt in the 1950s when the company with the trident was not just successful in sports car racing but also in Formula 1 with the Tipo 250 F. The 250 F was one of the longest serving F1 cars of its period and started development in 1954 and Fangio started the season with two wins before changing to Mercedes-Benz, the W196 was a tough opponent finally preventing Maserati winning their first F1 championship. After Mercedes quit racing after the Le Mans crash in 1955 the final development of the 250 F brought the championship in 1957, again driven by Fangio, the car on show was one of the 1955 works racers as driven by Stirling Moss and Peter Collins. In recent years the car was part of the Donington collection before it was sold to the current owner.
Apart from the formula cars Maserati used the straight six also in its sports cars, ranging from 1.5 litres in the 150S to the 4.5 Litre 450S, in Amelia one example each of the 200SI, the 300S, the 350S and the 450S were lined up making an impressive overview of this sports cars era. The rarest of these and unfortunately not the most successful one was the 350S with just three cars built for the works team. The car in Amelia was entered at the 1956 Mille Miglia in the hand of Taruffi (who should win the final edition a year later) but failed to finish.  The most powerful of the quartet was the 450S with its V8. The car was raced against the Ferrari 290MM and 335S in the 1957 season before the restriction of the displacement in the sports car world championship disqualified this model for European racing. The open version of the 450 S (4508) was produced late in 1957 and therefore has most of its racing history in America driven by Carroll Shelby, Maston Gregory and Jim Hall. But this was not the only 450S on display as the Costin Coupe (4501/4512) was at the Zagato display. Originally raced by Moss in Le Mans 1957 it was later converted for road use and renumbered. Later it was part of the Rosso&Bianco Collection in Germany and today is restored back to the configuration after the conversion including a tan leather interior and the black paintwork.
Zagato also bodied on of the most beautiful Maserati road cars with the A6 G54 Zagato. The G54 was bodied by several different coachbuilders and one could debate which one of the examples in Amelia by Frua, Zagato or Pininfarina is the most appealing. For some the Pininfarina design is the most interesting but this particular body was actually replaced by an open Fantuzzi Spyder early in its life and finally found its way to another chassis were it replaced the original Spyder. So the car in Amelia was an original chassis and body but not matching, maybe this is the reason why the jury preferred the Frua Coupe instead.
The first real street car that was not intended to race any longer was the 3500 GT, it was both available as Coupe and Spyder and most unusual they were not designed by the same designer as the coupe was a Touring design and the Spyder by Vignale. Both cars were long time in the shadow of the counterpart from Maranello but as the prices of especially the 250 Series Cabriolets went crazy during the last months especially the Vignale Spyder gets more into focus. Not few have the impression that the proportions are even more appealing than those of the Ferrari 250 Series 2 Cabriolet.
The arch-rival from Modena was set up on the far end of the field behind the lake with two Ferrari production car classes and a race car class. The first class was reserved for the street cars up to the 250 series including two 212 Inter, both bodied by Ghia (0137EL and 0213EL), the later one still in original condition (except a respray) and in the current ownership for 63 years. More extravagant was the 410 Superfast (0483SA) that was the 1956 Paris Show car featuring a one-off Pinin Farina Coupe body with fins. The car was brought to Amelia by Robert Lee who also owns several finned Ferrari Boanos. More common were the 250 GT Lusso (5211GT), the Boano (0447GT) and the 400 Superamerica (5115SA). A trio of very special examples was displayed in the second production car class, all of them just seen a few weeks earlier down in Palm Beach during the Cavallino Classics. The 330 GT 2+2 Navarro Special (7979), the 365 GT 2+2 NART (12611) and the 365 GTB4 NART (14299) may not be the prettiest coach built Ferrari but certainly some of the most unusual.

Of particular interest was the racing class including the Cavallino Classic winning 166 SC (016I) that also won its class at Amelia leaving the price for the best sounding car on the field to the 335S (0764). The pontoon fendered “blown-up” Testarossa design shared the same fate as the Maserati 450S. Being built at the end of the big capacity class in the sports car world championship the 335S became obsolete with the introduction of the 3 litre limit at the end of 1957. After winning the Mille Miglia the big engine was just usable in the overseas racing from the next season and this particular car was built in 1958 purely for this purpose. Whereas in Europe the 250 TR dominated the following season its body design was adopted in this on-off Scaglietti Spyder and although it does not feature important racing history (compared to the others) the sound and the power (about 400 bhp) are very impressive.
Within just a decade the styling of the Le Mans race cars changed completely and the prototype era started. With the 250 LM the engine went from the front to the back and the following years the 4 litre P3 and P4 was used by the Scuderia. The car on show (0846) started life as P3 and was converted to P3/4 later to win the 24 hours of Daytona before it was scrapped by the factory. Parts of the car went into a replica built by David Piper and when the current owner acquired this car he found parts of the (scrapped) chassis surviving in the reconstruction. Over the last years there was a lot of discussion in the Ferrari scene whether this would be enough to claim this chassis number for the car and the story behind the car seemed to irritate the jury as the P3 was not awarded in his class. Still it was great to see such a car on the field and the owner and his mechanic were chatting to all interested spectators and were keen in opening up the engine compartment more than once to give a look on the heart of the beast.
With the different races in Europe ranging from the fast Le Mans circuit to the twisty hilly roads of the Targa Florio not only Ferrari was using different racers depending on the track. Especially on the Targa Florio the 312 PB was used, the car on show (0894) was entered in 1973 in the hands of Jacky Ickx and Brian Redman but did not finish the race. Now for three decades in the current ownership it was once more shown after some appearances several years ago.

The early 1970s were also the time of the change of power in the Sports Car Championship were the small company from Zuffenhausen started its victory series at Le Mans. Until the present day Porsche is still the most successful manufacturer at La Sarthe but the last overall triumph dates back to 1998 just before Audi started their series. As Porsche is going back this year to fight the recent dominator this was reason enough to recap the story of the Porsche prototypes with an own class starting with the 904. In the 1950s the Fuhrmann Engine with 4 cams started its triumphal march in the lower capacity classes in the 550 Spyder and the RSK. To start in the popular GT category Porsche decided to build an entire new car around the 2 litre version of the engine using the latest technology of fibre glass to safe weight, the result was the 904 GTS. Especially at the Targa Florio Porsche dominated even with the smaller cars in previous years so the new 904 had to live up to the earlier success and the car on show (904-005) did exactly what was expected with a first overall in its debut race in 1964. The 904 was very successful in the hands of privateers and the works team itself but certainly the main goal to win Le Mans was impossible with this car. Although the following 906 was originally designed as Berg-Spyder (hill climber) the coupe became the weapon for the sports car series. Although still in the 2-litre category it used the new 6-cylinder boxer engine introduced with the 911 in further development, again very successful at the Targa Florio but also with class wins on many other events against the Ferrari 206 S Dino, the car on show (906-155) started as a works entry at Le Mans but did not finish.
Following the 906 was the 910, the first car that was not street legal any more as it was just intended for the works racing department and not for privateers. Still with 2 and 2.2 litre engines it was still not powerful enough for a LM victory. In 1968 finally the engine capacity was reduced to 3 litres in the WSCC and Porsche introduced the 907 that should bring success in long distance racing. The first overall victory was achieved in 1968 at the 24hours of Daytona, although still with 2.2 litre engine the chassis 005 (that was just sold at Gooding) led a 1-2-3 for the long tail racers. The car at Amelia (023) is a short tail version and was entered in Sebring were it did not finish.
With the following 908 different versions were introduced to compete at the different race tracks and the short 908/03 was especially designed for the Targa Florio but also for the NĂĽrburgring. Also in this period the famous livery of Martini Racing and Gulf entered the Porsche world as could be seen at the displayed model (90803-002).
Finally Porsche achieved their goal to win Le Mans in 1970 with the all-new 917, the most radical prototype up to date. In the following year the 917 battled the Ferrari 512 S as seen in the movie Le Mans with Steve McQueen and the car at Amelia (917-015) is the actual Daytona 24h winner, at the end of the career of the 917 a supercharged version (917/30) was used in the CanAm series by Mark Donahue, the 917/30 was the most powerful sports car for decades, the displayed model was one of the unused spare cars (it was for sale at Paris earlier this year with RM)
A decade later Porsche again created a car that should dominate the scene for years with the 956; the car in Amelia is one of the most successful of all of them. After the second place at LM in its debut race in 1982 the car (956-003) won no less than 5 successive races including Le Mans 1983.

In 1982 one of the drivers was this year’s honoree Jochen Mass who also spans the bow to the other manufacturer from Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz. Back in the late 1980s Mercedes was back in the Group C with its partner Sauber and after some successful races the Sauber C9 finally returned to Le Mans in all silver to give Mercedes the first (and last) victory of an Silver Arrow at La Sarthe, later attempts with the CLK-GTR failed. The winning Sauber was on the Jochen Mass display and Mercedes celebrated the 25th anniversary of this victory as well as 120 year of its motorsport history in general. The oldest Mercedes on show was the winner of the French Grand Prix one hundred years ago in 1914.
The pre-war Mercedes-Benz class was rather small with just three more cars but they were extraordinary. Led by the Pebble Beach winning 680S Saoutchik Torpedo that was sold last year at the same place (see here) its sister car (35903) was standing next to it. Although just a hand full of the Saoutchik Roadsters were made also in the year of its Pebble Beach BoS another one was presented alongside. The class was rounded of by a 540 K Special Roadster that was just sold last year at the same auction and that was seen earlier this year at the multi-marque concours of the Cavallino Classics.

But although Jochen Mass is today mostly known for his sports car career he was also active in Formula 1 and even achieved one victory with McLaren that celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Beside the M23 F1 in the Mass display a line-up of 15 CanAm, Indy and GT cars celebrated the round anniversary in style.
Further special classes were dedicated to Concept cars from Chrysler and Packard (the later class featured 10 show cars brought by one single owner, Ralph Marano), the history of the Offenhauser engine, the American Underslung and the BMW CSL Batmobile. In this class three of the original works entered Batmobiles were reunited. Whereas the private entered cars featured sponsor liveries from Jägermeister or Gösser Beer the Bavarian works entries featured the white paintwork with the red and blue stripes, the line-up included the 12h of Sebring and the 24h of Daytona winning car. But they were outshone by the first BMW art car, the CSL by Alexander Calder. Although the car did not finish at Le Mans it became the first of a series of 17 art cars until today, the car was presented as a piece of art at Amelia in a special made glass box.

Finally at the end of the day the judges had to choose the Best of Show both in the Elegance class and the Competition class. Whereas the BoS winning Horch 853 with Coachwork by Voll&Ruhrbeck was not unexpected the wining Scarab was a bit of a surprise considering the Maserati, Zagato, Ferrari and Porsche entries. The Scarab was constructed by Lance Reventlow with a Chevy V8 engine to compete with the European manufacturers Ferrari and Maserati at the end of the 1950s. With the limitation of the engine capacity the Chevy engine was not usable anymore and the Scarab appeared with less success with an Offenhauser engine in Europe. Back in the US it was raced with more success again with the larger Chevy V8 so the value of this car can be maybe more appreciated in the US than in Europe and as Amelia still is a big American show the history of this underdog has its own appeal as it brought the Americans to the European race tracks before the Shelby Cobra and the Ford GT40 became common sight.
The Horch on the other side is without any doubt a show stopper, the flamboyant art deco lines of the 5-litre straight eight powered colossus made the car looking much lighter than it actually is. On the wet ground of the golf course the Horch sunk in leaving marks due to its heavy weight all along its way to the winners’ parade and back. The car brought over by Robert Lee was already crowned Best of Show in Pebble Beach in 2009 and with this year’s award in Amelia it is one of just very few cars having won the both most important trophies.

After the traditional winners pictures down at the lake the 330 cars disappeared quit fast from the lawn leaving the green keeper a little bit more work than usual due to the soft ground with the rain the days before. But the cars did not just leave marks on the ground but also deep impressions of another memorable Amelia Island weekend with a selection of cars that is hard to top in the years to come. Plans are already under way for the 20th annual concours in March 2015 and with the jubilee one could expect another great show, maybe a few highlights from the last 20 years might be displayed on the green, we are all looking forward to see what Bill Warner and his team will set up next year.

Images ... Peter Singhof

Ferrari Entry
Model Colour Chassis # Entrant

Class FP
212 Inter Ghia Coupe Pale Blue Met’/Beige 0145E D. Nelson
212 Inter Vignale Coupe Black-Silver/Beige 0213EL R. Junca de la Vega Jr.
250 GT Boano Coupe Red-Silver/Tan 0447GT D. Nicotra
410 SA Superfast White-Pale Blue Met’/ Black 0483SA B. & A. Brockington Lee
250 GT S2 Cabriolet Featured in FNA Display – See Below 2473GT F. Ricciardelli
400 Superamerica Dark Red/Red 5115SA D. & C. Murray
250 GT Lusso Red/Beige 5211GT J. Dobbs Class FP1
330 GT 2+2 Drogo Gold/Black 7979 Goodman Collection
275 GTS (Black Hardtop) Red/Black 07767 D. & S. Nelson
275 GTB4 (Alloy) Blue Met’/Tan 09501 G. & S. Schaevitz
275 GTB4 Blue Met’/Beige 10803 P. Klutt
275 GTB4 Silver/Black 10533 J. Capasso
365 GT 2+2 NART Spider Red/Black 12611 Goodman Collection
365 GTB4 NART Spider Blue Met’/Tan 14299 J. Barrett
365 GTB4 Red/Black 13231 J. & S. Campion

Class FR
166 Spider Corsa Red/Red 016I Collier Collection
340 MM Vignale Spider White-Blue/Blue 0324AM M. Leventhal
335 S Spider Red/Beige 0764 A. Mohringer
330 P3/4 Red/Blk-Red 0846 J. Glickenhaus
312 P(B) Red-Green/Blk-Red 0894 J. Jaeger

Class Z
250 GT LWB Zagato Coupe Grey Met’-Silver/Red 0665GT L. Herrington

Ferrari North America Display
250 GT Cabriolet (Hardtop) Red/Black 2473GT F. Ricciardelli
FF Blue Met’/Beige-Tan 197977

Auctions America Display
365 GTB4 Red/Beige-Red 16393

Entrance Area Display
212 Export Touring Berlinetta Dark Red/Beige 0088E

RM Auction
250 GT S2 Cabriolet Red Met’/Beige 2093GT Lot # 162
365 GTB4 Red/Beige-Black 15569 Lot # 176
365 GTC4 Blue Met’/Beige 15859 Lot # 112
Dino 246 GTS Silver/Red-Black 08286 Lot # 127
512 BBi Red-Black/Black 44881 Lot # 145
512TR Black/Black 98634 Lot # 178
360 Challenge Red/Red 123439 Lot # 106

Gooding & Company Auction
250 Europa GT Silver-Red Met’/Red- Grey 0409GT Lot # 62
365 GTB4 Yellow/Beige-Black 15117 Lot # 74
365 GTB4 Dark Red/Black 15741 Lot # 34
Dino 206 GT Red/Black 00378 Lot # 70
Dino 246 GT Red/Black 04970 Lot # 45
Dino 246 GTS Purple Met’/Black 08070 Lot # 5

Keith Bluemel