Amelia Island Concours d´Elegance 2017 ... the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one second to the other the sky is opening for torrential showers
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Amelia Island Concours d´Elegance 2017 ... the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one se...
Amelia Island Concours d´Elegance 2017 ... the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one se...
Amelia Island Concours d´Elegance 2017 ... the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one se...
Amelia Island Concours d´Elegance 2017 ... the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one se...
Amelia Island Concours d´Elegance 2017 ... the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one se...
Amelia Island Concours d´Elegance 2017 ... the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one se...
Amelia Island Concours d´Elegance 2017 ... the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one se...
Amelia Island Concours d´Elegance 2017 ... the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one se...
Amelia Island Concours d´Elegance 2017 ... the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one se...
Amelia Island Concours d´Elegance 2017 ... the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one se...
Amelia Island Concours d´Elegance 2017 ... the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one se...
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Amelia Island, 11th of March, 2017

The weather in Florida sometimes is a little bit crazy. Although known as a sunny state and therefore place for a retirement of many Americans the rain sometimes gets out of control and from one second to the other the sky is opening for torrential showers. Just like last year the weather forecast for Sunday was not good and with the experience of more than two decades at Amelia Bill Warner and his team did not take any risk and moved the event to Saturday one day early due to “inclement weather”. What this means could be seen this morning when the previewed rain actually set in and one could just imagine the turmoil that would have occurred when thousands of visitors would have had to seek protection from the weather and the about 300 owners of the prized classics had to cover the cars within a minute as nobody wanted to have the concours in the garage of the Ritz-Carlton as a few years ago.

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So it was Friday afternoon when the first cars were set up and fortunately due to good communication in the age of social media and e-mail all of the entrants were there early enough to have the show on Saturday. Only the official auction house of the event, RM Auction might have not been pleased with the new timetable as this meant that the concours was at the same time as their second auction day leaving the room more empty than usual.

One advantage on the other hand was that the concours was held the day before the time change in the US back to summer time so the cars could enter the lawn in good light earlier than in previous years giving the curators and detailers more time to prepare the cars for the judging of the international known jury. With three hundred cars on the field with additionally hundreds of cars on the other fields for the Cars & Coffee meeting the visitors should have more than enough cars to see during the day and although the field seemed full all day certainly the crowd was a little bit more spread out with so many things going on.

The field itself again was a great mix of different classes in a concours that is more sportive than any other concours in the world with several regular race/sports car classes of all ages and a featured race driver in addition to the special classes. This years honored driver was Al Unser Sr. represented by an interesting selection of race cars spanning his career including the most important giving him his 4 Indy500 victories. Unser entered the field early in the morning and was surrounded by many fans old and young all day long.
Just like today with the Indy Car-Series the American drivers had a few local race series they could compete including the popular TransAm and the CanAm series. In the first the Chevrolet Camaro was one of the popular cars beside the Mustang and this year Amelia featured an own Camaro class including the very first production model as well as an Indy Pace Car and one of the famous Sunoco Camaros. The later series (CanAm) also saw the Sunoco colors but also the famous Red-White of the local Brumos Racing team located just a few miles from Amelia in Jacksonville. Wearing the no.58 and 59 Brumos entered many Porsche in different series and the special display featured not only the early 911S/T but also the turbo charged 935, 962 and as mentioned the very 917/10 that was driven into the award arena by nobody less than Hurley Haywood, the original driver of the beast.

But even before Porsche was successful with the 6-cylinder Boxer engine the small 4-can 4-cylinder Carrera engine powered some of the purest Porsche racers of all time, the giant-killing 550 Spyder and 718 RSK. The earlier one certainly became famous by James Dean leading to another interesting class of movie cars.
Hollywood always had cars on the large screen being more than pure transport but supporting act or even leading role. The Ferrari 275 GTB/4 N.A.R.T. Spyder of the Thomas Crown Affair might have only a small gig but it certainly remained in people´s mind and this was not the only famous car of a Steve McQueen movie. Although Bullitt might have one of the best known car scenes in movie history Steve McQueen’s Le Mans movie set the standard for a film about racing and made the Gulf livered Porsche 917 immortal. The actual movie car was at Amelia this weekend just as the Buick Roadmaster of “Rain Man”.

Main feature this year was the gathering of Jaguar D-Type celebrating the 60th anniversary of its final victory at La Sarthe at the 24h of Le Mans. A mouthwatering display of a dozen D-Types and an additional three XKSS (one owned by Steve McQueen connecting the history of Le Mans and Mr. Cool) included both Ecurie Ecosse winning examples of 1956 and 1957 together with the original Le Mans trophy can easily be mentioned within the greatest displays ever at Amelia Island showing Bill Warner’s close relation to the history of racing.

The 1956 winning examples also shares a story with the Concours winning Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Spider Lungo as both cars went over the block last year at RM Sotheby´s Monterey sale.
Today the Alfa is just situated a few miles away in Jacksonville where its new owner obviously spend many enjoyable mile in the car prior to its post-sale concours debuted.

Certainly the Alfa is a superb car and shares its genes with the famous Tipo B P3 but nevertheless it was a surprise that this car won the Best of Show Sport Award (normally reserved to a race car) rather than the BoS Elegance that was given to the Duesenberg SJ Walker LaGrande Torpedo Phaeton of 1935. Obviously the Alfa was intended to win one of the two top prices and due to its history obviously it was considered for either of them leaving the decision whether the second prices should be a race car like the streamlined Maserati T61 Birdcage or a touring car like the Duesenberg. At the end the Birdcage was “only” awarded most significant Maserati on the field.

Although the general view on the concours mostly depends on personal preference (one might like the Jaguar D-Types, someone other would prefer the Japanese Racing Prototypes or even the Marmon class) this year’s edition can certainly be seen as one of the best editions ever. Highlights included the Pebble Beach winning Delage D8S of the Patterson Collection competing against the Art Deco masterpiece Delahaye 145 Franay of Sam Mann or the James Bond “Goldfinger” getting on the stage together with a golden lady during the fashion show.

For now we have put together a preview gallery with no less than 200 images to give you an impression on the concours, a more detailed review of the cars sorted by class will follow the next days after the Goodwood Members Meeting that is just around the corner on the other side of the Atlantic.



Report & images … Peter Singhof
www.ClassicCarPhotography.de