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

Bryce Womeldurf March 18, 2016 All Things Hoon, Featured, Nostalgia 32 Comments

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

  • CruisinTime

    1938 Phantom Corsair Experimental, What a smooth design.

    • Ross Ballot

      I’ve never seen that before, but it’s got that shocking, evil look to it…I need it.

      But not as much as I need the Cobra.
      (Actually I’d prefer a kit Cobra that I wouldn’t feel bad ragging on)

  • KMNTR

    I love the Italian flair of that little DKW!

    • I’d never heard of it before running across it on Amelia, and I agree. I wanted to take that one home. I first spotted it in traffic, on Saturday, behind a group of Huracans and McLarens. According to its display card, it was found in a California junkyard with the roof ripped off by a fork lift. It’s since been restored by the Lane Motor Museum. Smoky, but cute little car.

      • nanoop

        Nice, looks like the passenger is wearing it as a hat!

  • CraigSu

    I could handle the Pegaso if it weren’t for the red-walled tires. I think that decision was one recreational drug too many.

  • Batshitbox

    Crucify me, but I think Pegaso is there to remind us that builders like Zimmer, Excalibur and Stutz, as well as excrescences like Mansory, come from a long line of expensive yet questionable aesthetics.

    • nanoop

      As a relative of me used to say: “Bad taste doesn’t necessarily have to be cheap.”

    • NapoleonSolo

      I suppose they publish a set of criteria for winning this event, but I think they’d better take another look at it. Something’s not right. Don’t care how far it traveled to the show. Don’t care how rare it is. Don’t care who styled it. Don’t care who built it. Don’t care who restored it. Don’t care what it’s worth.

    • Krautwursten

      I’ll happily accept your invitation because the difference between Pegaso’s stunning extravagance and Zimmer’s gaudy retrofakes is so pressing that it’s almost objective.

  • nanoop

    You wouldn’t happen to have a side view shot of that rusty Saoutchik Berlinetta prototype?
    I’ve never heard of Pegaso before, btw., thanks for bringing that up!

    • Unfortunately, no, just a lower angle of that same angle and maybe a side view from the front tire forward.

      • nanoop

        Oh, any shot of a Pegaso is a fortunate event! Thank you for sharing, and coming back for me!

  • NapoleonSolo

    What wonderful photography!

    • Thank you very much, it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to capture this event. The hardest part was deciding what to include and what not to include. There was just so much there to pick from.

      • NapoleonSolo

        I look at a lot of auto photography, and I want you to know I mean this very sincerely. It’s not just a passing comment. Great work.

  • Henk

    For years, I thought the Lamborghini LM002 was probably the ugliest production car ever made. Having seen this Pegaso, I’ve suddenly come to the insight that the Lamborghini was in fact a wonder of restrained beauty and elegance.
    As the human race, we still might have saved ourselves a little bit of dignity if instead of restoring and showing this Spanish monstrosity, we had sent it straight to the shredder. But now, planet Earth has become the laughing stock of the entire Universe.
    I’m so ashamed of being from the same planet as the perverse creatures who came up with this Pegaso, I’m going to apply for the first manned flight to Mars. Can’t wait to leave. Goodbye to you all.

    • Krautwursten

      The future ain’t what it used to be. Then again American cars did go on to grow to that size, only far less aesthetic.

    • Thank you, Preludacris

    • Vairship

      Well, it seems to have subtlety in styling and outward visibility very similar to the current Camero!

      • There are some very strong parallels, aren’t there?

  • Rover 1

    This event provided further evidence that the Lamborghini Miura may just be the most beautiful car evah.
    http://o.aolcdn.com/dims-global/dims3/GLOB/legacy_thumbnail/750×422/quality/95/http://www.blogcdn.com/slideshows/images/slides/382/895/9/S3828959/slug/l/lamborghini-miura-05-1.jpg

    And now the inevitable(?) Miata based version

    http://i.imgur.com/UrC8De1.jpg

    • HuntRhymesWith

      That replica looks awesome. It’s a shame about the one motor being fake and the other being in the wrong place.

      I kind of want those wheels on my next Miata, even if they aren’t true knockoffs those lug nuts are sneakily hidden.

      Do people make replicas out of MR2s or does everything have to be a Fiero underneath? I imagine you can’t easily fit a 5.0 in an MR2 engine bay, but it’s not too bad in a Miata.

      • Rover 1

        Toyota V6s can be made to fit and the Ford small block is more compact in height, but you have to fit it to a transmission, and fit all that in and since you can get enough horsepower by turbo, probably no-one’s bothered.
        MR2s have long served as the base for Ferrari 355 replicas but their proportions are off a bit for the Miura which,as you’ve seen has, proportions more like a front engined car, hence why it drapes over a Miata so well.