The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance: The Living Car Museum of Your Dreams

Despite being threatened by rain this year, the 21st annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance went off without a hitch. Fog and overcast conditions had been recurrent throughout the weekend, so the awards had to be given out earlier than planned. The Amelia is quite a large event with auctions, a Cars & Coffee (we’ll soon have photos from this to show), the Concours d’Elegance, and a host of dinners and seminars. Possibly because the event takes place on an island, classic and exotic cars were around every corner on the green and also on the streets outside the events. From the new McLaren 675LT and 570 to your left to a tiny Audi relic you’ve never seen or heard of to your right, it was all there including more Pegaso sports cars than you’re likely to see anywhere else in the world, not to mention a Phantom Corsair. Past the jump is a fresh collection of photographs from this past Sunday at the Concours. 

Best in Show, Concours d’Elegance and Concours d’Sport

Each year, Best of Show honors goes to two cars, for Concours d’Elegance and Concours d’Sport. This year’s winners were a 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, courtesy of the Nethercutt Collection, and a 1952 Pegaso Z-102 from the Louwman Museum of The Hague, Netherlands.

1952 Pegaso Z-102

Pegaso sports cars are extremely rare, with only somewhere between 84 and 125 examples produced; but this “Cupola” (Italian for dome) body is one of only two. This is the only one which is still in existence.

There’s something wonderfully strange and Dymaxion-like about that domed rear window.

1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II

This Brewster-designed Rolls-Royce had at one time been owned by actor Constance Bennett and features a closed body for the owner/rider with the driver left to the elements. A horseless carriage of sorts in that way. Like all Rolls, quite a regal way to get around town. At the end of the ceremony, a large group of reporters and photographers moved forward from the rope that marked the general viewing area, to see the winners make a toast. Amelia Island Concours chairman Bill Warner popped open the champagne and sprayed it everywhere in celebration.

Pegasos on Display

Attending events like this is a great way to broaden one’s automotive interest and knowledge beyond what you might seek out on your own online. The Pegaso sports cars had come and gone by the time your author was born and were not produced in any great quantity, nor were they very popular here in the United States. But here they were, sitting on a Florida golf course, waiting for inspection and admiration. 15 of the extremely rare sports cars (including one rusty prototype) were out for display on the green.

1953 Pegaso Z-102

This white Touring-bodied Z-102 is one of only three of this model produced. All were made for competition use.

1955 Pegaso Z-102 Coupe Saoutchik Berlinetta Prototype

50 Years of Miura

Another make featuring a large role in this year’s Concours was Lamborghini. This year marks 50 years since the introduction of the Lamborghini Miura, and it’s possibly why in my previous post, I lucked out in seeing Balboni rolling down the road in one. On Sunday, there was not just one, but several of them, including a dark green SV model which Lamborghini had restored to mark the event. Fittingly though, for cars of such high value, they all looked to be in pristine condition.

Running a “little rich”… could describe the cars or the owners. 


The Mad Dash to Capture The Rest of the Show

The one downside to this year’s Concours (the one first for me) may have just been its rushed nature, for which the event organizers can not be blamed. With so many exclamations of “Woah! They have one of those here?” the morning flew by. Many legendary rides that one reads about all the time, sees photos of online, or before that were seen in books and magazines in one’s youth, were actually present and running, filling the air with the scent of unburned hydrocarbons. It’s a smell of the past that one doesn’t come across very often anymore unless you own something that old. The smell was an annoyance in some ways, but comforting in others; like smelling the past. Following the award ceremony, time was quickly slipping away. I’d have spent a week going through many of the cars in detail with my lens, if it were an option. But instead, faced with threats of rain, an effort was made to cover the winners and oddities which had been missed in the morning.

1938 Phantom Corsair Experimental

1959 DKW Monza

1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic

This Fiat 8V won the duPont Registry’s People’s Choice Award, as voted on by the Concours attendees.

“Hey, that guy looks familiar from somewhere…” Walking by the Porsche display, I spotted Jeff Zwart snapping some photos of his own of the collection of Porsche 356s. Below is Hans-Joachim Stuck, sitting in the famous Rothman Porsche 962, waiting to drive it up to the presentation area, for it to receive an award.

1955 Swallow Doretti

This Swallow Doretti’s details gave it a lot of character, from the driving gloves and goggles flung around the shifter to the saddle stitched upper door sills.

1947 Cisitalia 202 SC

If you ever played all the way through Rockstar’s game “L.A. Noire” you might have searched for all of the hidden garages to find a Cisitalia coupe of the same vintage as this Cabriolet.

1965 Lamborghini 350GT

This 350GT actually won an award for being the most troublesome, but to its credit, it did start and run on the day that it was given the award.

1964 Shelby Cobra 289 Mk II CSX-2512

In Florida, I see Cobra replicas all the time, and they’re great for what they are, but seeing a real one is a rare treat.

All too soon, the Concours was over. Well… only “too soon” in hindsight. In the moment, it was actually a very physically demanding show to attend from a photographer’s standpoint. Amelia Island’s golf course and the neighboring Ritz-Carlton hotel are both equally beautiful and massive places to capture through a lens in one weekend. So big that I’m dividing it over several posts. Originally, this seemed like a less physically demanding event to cover, to reserve energy in my final semester for my graduate program. Boy, was that wrong. Not that there is any regret in that decision. It was a big event, but at the same time, we can look forward to next year when I might do it all again. Photos Copyright 2016 Hooniverse/Bryce Womeldurf

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One response to “The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance: The Living Car Museum of Your Dreams”

  1. drift boss Avatar

    So big that I’m dividing it over several posts.