The Amelia, A Beautiful Weekend in Florida
Volume 47 Issue 06
Mar 19, 2022
The Amelia concours is an feast of automobiles especially Ferraris. While the quantity was limited, the quality was superb.
Could it be March already? If it is March, then it must be time for the Amelia Concours d ’Elegance. Well almost.
Founder Bill Warner has passed the torch to Hagerty and the event is now known as The Amelia. With the new ownership there were some changes and I believe most of the changes were positive.
Auction companies were there in full force. Bonhams held their auction near the Fernandina airport on Thursday. I could not be there to enjoy but Rick Carey will follow next issue with the two Ferraris there along with others from Gooding and RM Sotheby’s.
Friday it was up early to drive to Amelia Island. While the five hours passed quickly there is always the anticipation of seeing Ferraris and people I’ve missed from other events. Amidst all the excitement surrounding the Ritz-Carlton hotel we arrive to pick up our passes before rushing off to the Gooding auction.
The Ferraris have already crossed the block by the time we got there, and we just missed watching a 1937 Talbot-Lago Teardrop Coupe sell. Even from the outside we could tell something exciting was getting ready to happen. As we were walking in, the crowd was gasping as the announcer’s voice was in an ever-rising pitch. As the gavel fell and the cheers died down there was a mass exodus from the tent.
Without knowing what just sold, someone mentioned the thirteen-million-dollar price tag. I assumed it must have been a Ferrari, but I was not aware of anything Ferrari in that range being at this auction. The Talbot was a beautiful car and I can see why it was much desired.
We watched several more lots and talked with some friends. Gooding is always a good way to kick off the Amelia weekend.
We find our hotel and walk the streets of downtown Fernandina looking into shops and restaurants before finding our way to the Pelican Bar for dinner. It was good to walk out the kinks; tomorrow will be some serious walking.
Saturday at The Amelia is Cars & Caffeine. The lawn is filled with cars, a bit of everyday but still special. Porsches abound. If you are observant, you will spot a few Ferraris mixed in among the others.
This part of the show appears disorganized but that is the fun part of the event. As you walk through various Fiat, Jaguar, Volvo and Lancia, suddenly there is a Ferrari. Kinda like hide-and-seek if you were only looking for one brand, but I like seeing them all.
As I have said before, I like the fact people love their car. No matter what kind of car, the point is they love it, cherish it and care for it, as if it was the most valuable car on the planet. Would they like to own a Ferrari? Of course they would, but while we are fortunate enough to own and cherish a Ferrari, others must work within their means.
Around the lake was a nice display of Supercars owned by ones who have the means. Next to a street version of a Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SCG) GT3 was a Sergio spider in Azzurro Lolo with black interior. We have seen this car before at Cavallino but with its unique styling it was right at home between the SCG and a silver La Ferrari.
Farther down around the lake was an F40, a 512 Boxer and a Daytona with other exotics thrown in between.
Across the street the show continues. There is a vendor showing a modern rendition of a Mustang. Who would have thought it would be possible to get a 1965 Mustang with modern up-to-date mechanicals?
Need a trailer to haul your pride and joy? Yes, there was one on display and they would be happy to take your order.
The best vendor was the Adobe Road Winery handing out samples of The Racing Series, featuring Shift, Redline, The 24 and Apex wines. The same crew was in Sebring for the FCA National meet. The bottles alone are worth keeping on a prominent shelf in your bar.
None of the above was paid advertising, but it does set the stage for the whimsical. New this year was the Concours d’Lemons. To earn an award in this concours requires the right vehicle, a certain amount of chutzpah, and the ability to take a fair amount of automotive abuse.
Awards like “Most likely to catch fire” or “Ugly is only skin deep” are coveted. Mom’s 1973 Ford Granada that has been in the back yard since 1990 won’t even get you an Honorable Mention. Creativity rules.
A 1990s one-off Lincoln Town Car convertible by Sawzall won an award. Watch those sharp edges! A Ford pickup truck chassis mated crudely with the top half of a 16-foot ski boat won best (worst) of show. The clincher was when driven up to receive the award, the crew threw a real anchor overboard.
Clearly, the judges had a difficult time scoring with such a diverse array of automobiles to choose from. The only Ferrari, a 3.2 Mondial Cabriolet, in the Needlessly Complex Italian class, didn’t have a chance.
On to Sunday.
As we walk through the dewy grass, rows of cars are being wiped off. Overnight the lawn has been transformed. Yesterday’s cars are gone and today there is a new group to see.
Along one row are tall radiators and gas lamps. Shiny brass is muted under the dew. In front of them is a row of stately Rolls-Royce and Duesenberg.
Here is a section of race cars that won Daytona and Sebring. Nearby is a row of cars that defined NASCAR from David Pearson’s Mercury to Dale Earnhardt’s Chevrolet.
And Ferraris. Fourteen to be exact. All red. The first is a 166 MM Touring Barchetta, S/N 0006 M, the third one made. The 166 MM helped to put Enzo Ferrari’s new company on the map. This one and others won races like Le Mans and Spa.
Next was a 250 GT LWB Berlinetta, S/N 0931 GT. This model won the Tour de France and would forever be known as the TdF. These won many races throughout the late 1950s.
The 250 GTO would surpass the previous models in reliability and wins. With only thirty-six made, the GTO would become both rare and desirable. Serial number 3527 GT was displayed.
To prove Ferrari could also make beautiful street automobiles a convertible version of the TdF was made creating the 250 GT SWB California Spyder. While most of these were meant for boulevard cruising, a couple were made as all-out racing machines proving it was suitable to excel in both roles. The last one built was S/N 4137 GT, and was displayed here.
The 275 GTB was introduced as Ferrari’s new car for 1965. The sleek body lent itself to racing. Ferrari made a few competition models but then near the end of production created a limited number of lightweight competition cars. The one displayed was S/N 09067. Raced once in-period it remains one of the most original unmolested examples around.
The 1970s were represented by two iconic shapes: the 365 GTB/4 Daytona and a 246 GTS Dino. The Dino, S/N 06310, has never been restored and while showing some of its age is in great original condition.
The 512 BBi is an iconic shape unto itself. Crossing the line between the front-engine era and the mid-engine supercar era, the Boxer was a huge change in the future of Ferrari. This model would spawn the Testarossa, another iconic Ferrari.
When it comes to any great Ferrari line-up, a row of supercars can’t be beaten. Displayed was a 288 GTO, an F40, F50, Enzo and La Ferrari. Any one of these cars would be a spectacular display. To have all of these together was stunning.
And today? The current model that embodies performance and fun is the Monza SP1. As the SP1 implies, it is made for one to enjoy. The sleek shape with no windscreen provides a trilling ride for the few who can indulge this track-only car. Since they are not street legal it invites one to enjoy a bit of raceway pleasure.
The Amelia is alive and well. There was a lack of automobiles overall, too many areas were empty. People were everywhere, the crowd was substantial. I really liked the wider space between each car. It made photography easier.
The expansion to the Concours d ’Lemons and the addition of 1980s and 1990s future classics with RADwood are great additions. Overall, it was a positive experience and remains one of the must-attend events each year.