BEACH CARS STORM THE 2014 AMELIA CONCOURS d'ELEGANCE Company press release.
'For an event like 'The Amelia' a class of beach cars is appropriate and ideal,' said Warner. 'After all, when you take a break from the concours field and sit on the veranda at the Ritz-Carlton with a cool drink in front of you, you stare at the ocean and the beach. I just wish we could find a way to make the beach part of the concours field just this once.'
During the La Dolce Vita epoch, the ultimate European playboy's car was neither a Maserati nor a Ferrari. It arrived on sun splashed Mediterranean beaches long before Lamborghini cars existed. The playboy's choice for his prowls along the Med during those golden days was the 'Jolly' beach car, usually based on Fiat's tiny 600.
Modified by Ghia, the mild mannered little Fiat 600 was the perfect platform for the Jolly's wicker seats and the fringed canvas top. As open as a speedboat, the Jollys were little land locked yacht tenders of the rich and, usually, famous. Fiat chairman Gianni Angelli drove one. Even the esteemed styling house of Pinin Farina created the Eden Rock beach car from the humble platform of Fiat's almost comical, forward-control Multipla people mover.
'There was an entire industry built around creating custom bodies for the Fiat 600,' said Bill Warner, Founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, 'The Jollys are the whimsical ones we remember. This is a perfect class for a beach concours.'
Naturally, America got in on the beach car scene. California surfer, engineer and artist Bruce Meyers created the Meyers Manx dune buggy. Meyers sectioned the floor-pan of a VW Beetle and mounted an abbreviated monocoque fiberglass body with massive ground clearance and room to accommodate four fat off-road tires and two people. It broke the Baja 1000 record by four hours when Meyers put the truncated VW-based beach buggy to the test.
But Bruce Meyers' Manx wasn't the first American Beach Car. In 1948 Ford created the Dune Mobile to show off the Great Lakes and its beaches to tourists. Both cars will join Fiat's Jollys and Pinin Farina's Eden Roc on the field of the 19th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance on March 9, 2014.
About The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
Nearing the end of its second decade, the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, 'The Amelia' draws over 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show's Foundation has donated over $2.25 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc., Spina Bifida of Jacksonville, The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, Shop with Cops, and other deserving charities. The 19th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is scheduled for March 7-9, 2014. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org.