Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is an automotive charitable event held each year during the second weekend in March at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island in Amelia Island, Florida. A New York Times article about celebrity car ownership listed "the nation's top concours d'elegance: Pebble Beach in California, Meadow Brook in Michigan, Amelia Island in Florida and the Louis Vuitton Classic in midtown Manhattan."
A concours d'elegance (French, literally "a competition of elegance") is according to New York Times writer Keith Martin like a "beauty pageant for rare and elegant cars". Each entry is rated for authenticity, function, history, style and quality of restoration by a team of judges that includes specialists for each car type. A perfect score is 100, but any imperfection, no matter how slight, requires a fractional point deduction. Classes are arranged by type, marque, coachbuilder, country of origin, or time period.
Judges select first-, second-, and third-place finishers for each class in the event, and the judges confer the best of show award on one car from the group of first-place winners. In addition, a group of honorary judges—typically individuals who have made significant contributions to the automotive industry or motorsports—give subjective awards to recognize standout vehicles regardless of class ribbons, as well as memorial awards created to honor automotive industry personages.
Businessman and car collector Bill Warner, a photographer and writer for Road & Track magazine since 1971, founded the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in 1996 at the urging of other northeast Florida auto enthusiasts who wanted a classic car show in Florida like the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California. Warner selected Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, which had provided service to his parents as well as his wife, as the beneficiary of the event. The first event was held April 6, 1996 at Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. Warner assembled a group of 163 cars and attendance was around 2,200.
By 1999 attendance had increased to 8,500; 205 cars were exhibited; and $268,000 was raised for Community Hospice. The New York Times assigned a reporter to write a story. In his full-page feature article, Keith Martin stated, "The Amelia Island event, which is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, is the only one in its region to aspire to the same standard of excellence (as the) Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach, in California, as well as the Louis Vuitton Classic at Rockefeller Center".
Show summaries Year Honoree Marque/theme Attendance Best in show 2017 Al Unser Jr. 1935 Duesenberg SJ 582
1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Lungo Spider
2016 2015 Stirling Moss Stutz 32,000 1930 Cord L-29 Speedster
1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spider
2014 Jochen Mass Offenhauser-powered cars; American Underslung; Selections from Zagato 1937 Horch 853
1958 Scarab Mark II Sport Racer
2013 2012 Vic Elford Ferrari GTO; Shelby Cobra; Custom Coachwork Cadillacs 23,000 1962 Ferrari 330LM
1938 Bugatti Type57
2011 Bobby Rahal Duesenberg; Allard; Kurtis 2010 Richard Petty 40th anniversary of Porsche’s inaugural victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona & Le Mans; the last Cuban Grand Prix 18,000 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
1960 Maserati Tipo 61
2009 David Hobbs Bohman & Schwartz 15,000 1931 Voisin C20 Demi-Berline
1923 Miller Special 122 Supercharged
2008 Parnelli Jones 100th Anniversary of GM, Model T &
New York-to-Paris "Great Race" of 1908
20,000 1935 Duesenberg J Roadster
1957 Ferrari 335 Sport
2007 Derek Bell Discontinued road races: Mille Miglia,
Targa Florio, Carrera PanAmericana
and Isle of Man TT motorcycle race"
18,000 1957 Talbot Lago T-150 CSS
1953 Ferrari 375MM
2006 Johnny Rutherford Stanley Steamer 18,000 1931 DuPont Model H Sport Phaeton
Ferrari 250 TRI/61
2005 Bobby Allison Alfa Romeo & 50th Anniversary
of Chevy small block V8
18,000 1931 Bugatti Type51
1953 Porsche 550 Coupe
2004 Bobby Unser 100th Anniversary of Rolls Royce 18,000 1934 Voisin C-15 2003 Jim Hall 50th Anniversary of Corvette and
100th Anniversary of Buick
Rain 1958 Dual Ghia Chrysler-powered 2002 Dan Gurney 100th Anniversary of Cadillac 14,000 1937 Delage D8 120SS Aerodynamic Coupe 2001 John Surtees 100th Anniversary of Pierce-Arrow 11,000 1937 Hispano Suiza Dubonnet 2000 Brian Redman Mercer 8,500 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C02900 1999 Carroll Shelby 100th Anniversary of Packard 7,200 1938 Delage D8 120 1998 Hurley Haywood 50th Anniversary of Porsche 6,500 1932 Lincoln KB Dual Cowl Phaeton 1997 Phil Hill 50th Anniversary of Ferrari 3,500 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster 1996 Sir Stirling Moss Mercedes-Benz 2,200 1938 Talbot-Lago 150SS Figoni & Falaschi
Entrants submit an application for each car, and the Concours field is selected from each year's pool of applicants. Many collectors spend years and hundreds of thousands of dollars purchasing and restoring a car in hopes of being chosen. Once a car is accepted to the Concours, it cannot again be entered in the event for five years, with three exceptions; the ownership of the car has changed, the car has been restored, or if the featured marque is obscure, the Concours car selection committee can reach out to invite cars of varying restoration quality—or cars that have previously been entered in the Concours—in order to provide a healthy representation of the marque for exhibition.
Many of the competing cars are valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, with some worth millions. For this reason, along with its setting and amenities, the Amelia Island Concours is considered one of the premier concours in the world.
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Most of the owners display their cars because they want everyone who appreciates style and beauty to see their project. Most view the weekend as a social gathering rather than a special interest event. The organizers attempt to invite vehicles from varying time periods so that spectators who prefer a certain style of car will always find several examples to examine.
Each year's Amelia Island Concours honors an outstanding person from motorsports, a featured Marque (manufacturer) or theme, plus judging and awards for each class of the Field of Dreams, the showcase exhibition. Events have included a golf tournament, automobile auctions, art and fashion shows, silent auctions of memorabilia, charity raffles and autograph sessions.
The non-profit Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance Foundation was formed in 2000 to organize and manage the workload of more than 300 volunteers. The proceeds of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance have helped support Community Hospice of Northeast Florida with total contributions of over $1.5 million through 2008. The event's goal is to raise at least $100,000 for Community Hospice each year. Other charities receiving funding include The Spina Bifida Association of Florida at Jacksonville, Shop with Cops, Duval County 4-H Foundation and the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society.
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