One doesn’t really know whether Bill Warner is a happy man – the founder of the Amelia Island Concours decided 21 years ago to establish a relaxed, slow-paced concours d’elégance that was not intended to end up as a huge circus like Pebble Beach. And yet today, tens of thousands of fans visit the small Amelia Island in mid-March to take part in an informal concours with fascinating vehicles. Parking spaces are scarce, hotel rooms in any case, and the telephone network, only designed to handle a few callers, regularly breaks down – to speak to Goethe: „The spirits that I summoned…“
FOTOS: Jürgen Lewandowski
The reason for this success is ironically precisely this, still tangible family-like atmosphere. An event for one day and relatively few, but well-heeled sponsors, and the beautiful 18th fairway of the golf club, conveniently located adjacent to the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Hotel – and which is so large that it can accommodate around 300 vehicles. And since Bill Warner only seems to have friends, even the most extravagant wishes are fulfilled.
Just as from a Batman movie…
is the Phantom Corsair, which was built on a cord chassis as a Coupé for six people. At that time, the car had been priced $24,000. A proud price! Not only the lines, but also details that we find today in many Super cars such as the buttons to open the front door, were modern.
The price …
The exciting 1952 Pegaso Z-102 BS 2.5 Cupula Coupe owned by Evert Louwman received the „Best of Show Concours de Sport“ award. The former dictator of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Trujillo, had this extravagant car build in the workshop of Pegaso. This vehicle with the nicknames „El Dominicano“ was one of 14 sports cars, which were built in Spain in the 1950s and which were shown at the Amelia Island Concours.
The award …
„Best of Show Concours d‘ Elegance“ at the Amelia Island Concours 2016 was awarded to the 1930 Rolls Royce Phantom II Town Car owned by Helen and Jack Nethercutt Sylmar, California. The classic with the sedan body was created at Brewster and once belonged to the 1930s movie star Constance Bennett.
Classic Cars and fashion …
More and more, the historic Concours d‘Elegance idea , presenting cars in conjunction with fashion, is now getting a trend.
Hans Stuck was driving the number 5 „Coke machine“ and won. He drove the car owned by Bob Akin and Jo Gartner with only three wheels over the finishing line in the race at Sebring, after the left front wheel was lost during the last round. A „bizarre“ first place in the international endurance competition.
Consequently, no fewer than 18 cars driven by guest of honour Hans-Joachim Stuck during his long racing career awaited his arrival – not only that, but BMW had also brought the legendary X5 with the Le Mans V12 racing engine, in which Stuck had driven around the Nürburgring in eight minutes. Stuck was visibly moved: „I will only see this once in my lifetime.“
Cord and Pegaso were especially venerated marques – no fewer than 21 examples of the pioneering American front-wheel drive car had gathered here, and of the 84 Pegasos that were built, 18 had made their way to Amelia Island. This is also an assemblage that is not likely to be seen so quickly again – including two quite special models: an unrestored coupe with a Saoutchic body, and the garish-yellow Z102 Cupola coupe belonging to the Dutch collector Evert Louwman, which was once in the possession of Rafael Truillo, the Dominican dictator. It quickly became evident that this would be one of the leading favourites for the „Best of Show“ crown, and Louwman did indeed win the keenly contested trophy together with the immaculate Rolls Royce Phantom II Town Car owned by US collector Jack Nethercutt.
To summarise: Amelia Island offers magnificent vehicles and many prominent visitors – among them around 30 racing drivers alone. However, it has reached the limits of its capacity, it is overcrowded, and it is not cheap either. Price for a normal parking space: $30 – admission ticket: $125. Not to mention the hotel prices and travel costs from Orlando.
TEXT: Jürgen Lewandowski