History and the weather man were kind to the 2013 edition of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Under perfect skies we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911, Lamborghini and the Ford GT40, each the happy result of the intellect, the power or the obsession of three individuals. The crowd on Sunday‘s Concours field told us that we had made good choices honoring those three history making cars.
In 2013 we were able to expand and enhance The Amelia weekend with a new Saturday show named Cars & Coffee at the Concours. Local car club members displayed more than 100 cars. It turned into a family day as dads and sons brought cameras and had, quite literally, a field day. The new Corvette Stingray was the centerpiece of our new – and no admission -- Saturday Cars & Coffee show: Chevrolet chose The Amelia weekend to display their latest Corvette C7 Stingray to the public here in Florida for the first time since its debut at the North American international Auto Show last winter. We were very flattered and honored.
The Design Analysis of the Revolutionary Corvette Sting Ray presented by Chevrolet kicked off 2013’s trio of Amelia seminars. Pete Brock, who drew the Sting Ray’s original shape more than five decades ago, and Ed Welburn, GM’s VP of global design, played to another Amelia seminar’s packed house.
It was the same story later that day when the Porsche 911 seminar’s all-star panel -- Hurley Haywood, Jack Atkinson, PMNA’s Alwin Springer, Vic Elford, Porsche designer Harm Lagaaij, Brian Redman and former Porsche President and the 911’s savior Peter Schutz -- regaled an audience that also contained a few Porsche 911 legends, like Brumos’ original 911 racer Bill Bencker and George Drolsom, both Daytona class winners in Porsche’s GT flagship.
Saturday’s Ford GT40 seminar also had a star cast with Brian Redman, David Hobbs, John Horsman, Lee Holman, Bob Bondurant and the irreplaceable Dan Gurney telling the inside story of how and why the GT40 won races and championships well after rules were written to prevent it.
Longtime friend Sam Posey was our 2013 Honoree. Sam remains one of American motorsport’s most colorful and articulate ambassadors. Born just a few miles from Lime Rock Park, CT, Sam could have chosen a quiet life of artistic accomplishment rather than becoming one of America’s leading road racers. He’s also a designer, an artist, an author of considerable skill and eloquence and his television broadcast work has won awards. We even included two pages of his art in the event program. An Amelia first.
Sunday morning’s Amelia ritual of driving the cars onto the concours field was made a bit more colorful (and raucous) by a fleet of exquisite vintage Ducati motorcycles. This is just the second time we’ve honored an individual motorcycle marque at The Amelia. There must be something in the air of northern Italy; Ducati exhausts throb with the same Latin spirit as the cars of Lamborghini. We celebrated the cars Ferruccio Lamborghini created because, so the legend goes, he was unhappy with his Ferrari! (I shamelessly admit to using any excuse to be around Lamborghini’s perfectly proportioned mid-engine Miura.)
A fleet of Harry Miller’s creations from the golden age of the American racing car -- before WWII -- honored the life’s work of a genuine American genius. The engines Harry Miller designed and built lived on under the names Offenhauser and Meyer-Drake, and wrote, and then rewrote, the Indy 500 record book. Miller’s ruthless attention to even microscopic details sets his work apart from every other race car builder of his era. He built racers for Barney Oldfield, and his designs won the trophies and earned the big paydays of American championship racing from the Twenties through the Seventies! We’ll follow up 2013’s Miller class by honoring the Offenhauser racing engine for the 19th anniversary Amelia Concours d’Elegance in 2014.
Most will tell you that the biggest day of The Amelia is Sunday. The front gate proved that again this year. We broke attendance records. That led us to the best day of The Amelia, which comes three months after the last car has driven off of the fairways at the Ritz-Carlton. That’s when we present checks to our local charities. Thanks to the support of our sponsors, fans and our group of selfless volunteers, we exceeded the $2.2 million dollar mark in donations in 2013.
The cornerstone of our plan is to continue to make The Amelia the "Fun Concours”, to exceed the expectations of our patrons’ and to present an internationally ranked, world class show and event on Florida’s First Coast; one that is as much about extraordinary people as it is about rare, great and exciting cars.
Bill Warner, Founder & Chairman
Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance