Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance March 2014
The 19th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance was held at the Ritz Carlton and the Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach, Florida. It is regarded as one of the premiere automotive events in the world and one of the most innovative shows due to its eclectic classes of unique vintage cars. The event showcases cars from private collections across the United States and the world. More than 29,000 automotive enthusiasts were in attendance to view over 330 cars and rare motorcycles, including some of the cars from this year's honoree, Jochen Mass. Mass is one of just 15 drivers to win the 24 Hours of LeMans and a Formula 1 race.
Along with the cars of Jochen Mass, other featured categories at this year's event included Beach Cars, Underslung, BMW CSL, Chrysler Concepts, Packard Concepts of Ralph Marano, Offenhauser Power, 50th Anniversary of McLaren, Cars of Zagato Design, and Porsche 904/962.
Highlights on the field included the presence of BMW's rare 'Batmobiles' racing coupes, which included Alexander Calder's famed 1975 Le Mans 3.0 CSL, 1975 Sebring 12 Hour and 1976 Daytona 24 Hour winners. The rarely seen Maserati 450S Le Mans 'Costin Coupe,' which Sir Stirling Moss raced at Le Mans in 1957 also graced the field, while Chrysler's La Comtesse Concept Car was introduced to the public after an extensive restoration by the Chrysler group. In addition, attendees were entertained by the exceptional Packard concept car collection of Ralph and Adeline Marano, rare beach cars, and Zagato-bodied masterpieces.
The 2014 Concours celebrated Maserati's 100th Anniversary with an array of models, including the 2014 Ghibli, representing the World Champion Italian grand marque's impressive heritage and future of the brand.
Some of the world's most prominent manufacturers had displays at the event, including Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Ferrari, Jaguar and Chrysler. Lamborghini held the North American debut of the company's newest super sports car, the Hurácan LP 610-4, on the Concours' field, following the vehicle's global debut at the Geneva Motor Show and Infiniti chose to celebrate the Amelia Island Concours by wrapping a 2014 Infiniti Q60 Convertible in the same color scheme as Bobby Unser's 1968 Indianapolis 500 winning racecar. The convertible was on display next to the original Indy winning car, courtesy of Infiniti and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.
Enthusiasts also enjoyed two impressive seminars this year, a tradition that has become one of the hallmarks of the Amelia Island Concours. 'The Great Offy Drivers' seminar included such racing legends as Parnelli Jones, Sonny Meyer, Al and Bobby Unser and David Hobbs. Speakers Ray Evernham, David Piper, John Mecom, Bobby Rahal, Alwin Springer and Bob Tullius lead a lively discussion during the 'Merchants of Speed' seminar, which gave a first person look at on-track race management and the sharp-edged business of racing.Packard's Concept Cars
'Ask the man who owns one' was Packard's slogan from the earliest days of the marque.
Ralph Marano, Sr., an orthodox Packard man of long standing, has been seized by one of the most dignified, delightful and elegant obsessions in the car collecting hobby. Ralph really likes Packard show cars. He likes them so much that he has collected all ten.
Marano's Packard collection numbers an astonishing 58 cars. His Packard show car inventory, all ten Packard concept cars from the 1950s, became the class, 'The Packard Concepts of Ralph Marano' at The Amelia.
Touchingly, Marano's newest Packard show car is the 1955 Request, the last of Packard's concept cars. The car earned its unusual name from the unexpected avalanche of letters delivered to Packard headquarters during the fifties asking for a return, or at least a reprise, of Packard's distinctive and famous vertical grill design of the thirties and forties. Packard's Chief Stylist Richard Teague acquiesced.
After a tour of Packard dealers following the 1955 car show season, the Request returned to Detroit just in time for the company to close its doors forever.
The Request was driven out of the factory and vanished for more than two decades. Marano found the car, with accident damage, sitting in a field. In 1983 it was restored and it re-debuted at the Packard Club annual convention in Oakland, CA wearing proper and correct Packard ivory and copper paint.
'Ralph Marano's Packard show car collection is something that can't be seen anywhere else,' said Mark Becker, Vice-Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. 'The Marano Packard Concept class is the first time 'Amelia' has featured a class dedicated to the cars of a single personal collection. This is so rare that we even named the class for him. With the Chrysler Concept Cars class and Marano's Packards, there might be a light element of fifties-themed time travel to the 19th annual 'Amelia'.'BMW CLS
BMW not only celebrated its past, but also its future at The Amelia.
The BMW CLS class included both the winners of the 1975 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the 1976 Daytona 24 Hour race. BMW Group Classic showcased the heritage of the BMW 3 Series in a display that featured a first-generation 3 Series in the US, the 320i, as well as the first BMW 3 Series Convertible. The BMW 320 Turbo race car, driven to multiple IMSA wins, poles, and track records in 1977/78 by racer David Hobbs was also a highlight. On display throughout the weekend was the company's very first exotic, the BMW M1, as well as the first generation BMW M3. Another highlight within the class of McLaren cars included the 1996 McLaren F1 GTR race car, with its 6.1-liter V-12 engine conceived and built by BMW M GmbH.
The 3.0 CSL race cars were the first cars to be developed under the then-new BMW Motorsport GmbH subsidiary, established in 1972 and led by Jochen Neerpasch. They were also the first to sport the new official colors of BMW Motorsport—red, purple and blue. Based on the production 3.0 CS coupe, the aluminum skinned CSL (L = lightweight) homologation special, nicknamed the 'Batmobile' by its fans, formed the basis for an assault on Group 2 through Group 5 European touring car racing that would make it one of the most successful production racers of all time.
A limited number of BMW 3.0 CSL models were produced and sold for street use in order to homologate the car for racing. The road-going BMW 3.0 CSLs featured in the class at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance included a car entered by Indy 500 winner and BMW Team RLL team principal, Bobby Rahal.
The BMW 3.0 CSL Group 4 race car that won the 1975 12 Hours of Sebring won Best-in-Class at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. The BMW 3.0 CSL Group 2 race car that won the 1973 European Sedan Championship took second at the Concours. The highlight of the class of BMW 3.0 CSL race and road cars was the Alexander Calder BMW Art Car from 1975—the very first in the now legendary series of BMW Art Cars.Fifty Years of McLaren
The Amelia Island Concours celebrated McLaren's 50th anniversary with a display or rare and significnat McLaren racers from five decades of competition.
McLarens were not only victorious in the world's richest and most prestigious races, the company changed motorsport through a relentless pursuit of perfection and brought a strictly professional approach to a sport that had been more of a glamorous hobby than a true business. Today McLaren is still the only marque to win the Formula 1™ Constructors' Championship, the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Can-Am Championship.
'McLaren's racing record is without equal,' said Bill Warner, Founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. 'The company is about quality and excellence in every component of the car, their execution, preparation and presentation.'
To celebrate 50 years of McLaren, the Amelia Island included 2014 Honoree Jochen Mass' 1977 McLaren M23 Formula 1 racer as part of the 'Cars of Jochen Mass' class. This historic Cosworth-powered M23 took Mass to second place in the 1977 Swedish Grand Prix at the 2.497 mile Anderstorp circuit.
McLaren's racing history includes a list of landmark victories which are a testament to the company's groundbreaking performance. Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd. was created in 1963 by Bruce McLaren after he drove for Cooper Cars, winning the 1959 and 1960 Formula 1 Constructors' Championship and winning the 1962 Monaco Grand Prix. Since the first McLaren raced in Formula 1, at the 1966 Grand Prix of Monaco, the team has logged over 730 Formula 1 races with 182 F1 Grand Prix victories, eight World Constructors' titles and 12 Drivers' Championships.
'McLaren's unblinking quest to improve upon what many called 'perfection' is what made them the most successful racing team in history,' said Warner. 'No one can match their successes across such a broad range of racing disciplines. Only Ferrari has won more Formula 1 titles than McLaren, but they had a 17 year head start.'
Bruce McLaren's talent for auto sports and business paved the way for McLaren's future success. He personally won two Can-Am titles in 1967 and 1969 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, alongside countryman Chris Amon in 1966, driving a Ford GT40. McLaren won 43 Can-Am victories between 1967 and 1974, even though Bruce passed away testing his new McLaren M8D Can-Am racer in 1970.
McLaren cars went on to secure three Indianapolis 500 victories between 1972 and 1976 and claimed victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995 with the F1. The F1 was never meant to be a racer and won Le Mans upon its debut. With this victory, McLaren became the only marque in history to claim motorsport's famous Triple Crown - victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Cars of Zagato Design
The cars wearing Zagato's 'lightning Z' badge have become classics and icons. The Amelia honored the brilliance and creativity of Ugo Zagato and his heirs with a class of Zagato-bodied cars from the likes of Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Hispano-Suiza, FIAT, Rolls-Royce, Lancia, Lamborghini, MG, Bentley, Porsche, Spyker and even British supercar builder Aston Martin, for whom Zagato created their masterpiece, the landmark DB4 GT Zagato.
'The most beautiful car is the one that wins,' said Enzo Ferrari. As leader of Alfa Romeo's racing department during the 1930s, Enzo Ferrari saw fleets of Alfa Romeo racers wearing Zagato's functional and beautiful coachwork win scores of legendary road races.
Sons Elio and Gianni Zagato instantly grasped their father's elegant and simple philosophy; 'When we design and build something functional, it is always beautiful.'
Ugo Zagato signed his work with justifiable pride. His 'lightning Z' badge still rides on the flanks of many of the world's most exotic, desirable, successful, beautiful and fast cars. Zagato coachwork cloaked the first Formula 1 World Champions in 1950. They wore the winners' laurels in Enzo Ferrari's favorite race, the brutal and grueling Mille Miglia, where Zagato-bodied cars earned their global reputation from the very first '1000 miles' in 1927.Beach Cars
'For an event like 'The Amelia' a class of beach cars is appropriate and ideal,' said Bill Warner, Founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. '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.'
European and American beach cars were on display, include the Meyers Manx dune buggy created by California surfer, engineer and artist Bruce Meyers. 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.Best of Show
A 1937 Horch 853 and 1958 Scarab won the Best of Show honors at The Amelia.
The Horch 853, owned by Bob and Anne Brockinton Lee of Sparks, Nevada, took home one of the most sought-after trophies in classic car pageantry, the prestigious Concours d'Elegance award. This fully restored automobile is one of only two Horchs ever to have been bodied by coachbuilder Voll & Ruhrbeck, which created custom coachwork for Bugatti, Maybach, Mercedes-Benz and Cord among others. Exhaustive efforts were made to restore this silver 853 to original standards, with no part going un-researched as to authenticity or originality by the restoration team.
The highly coveted Concours de Sport award was presented to the 1958 Scarab, owned by Miles C. Collier and presented The Revs Institute for Automotive Research of Naples, Fla. The three front engine Scarab sports racers built by Troutman and Barnes for Lance Reventlow, were created to contest the road courses of America against the great European marques, such as Ferrari and Maserati. Reventlow originally tried an Offenhauser engine in this car but the engine, designed to run on alcohol, never was successful running on gasoline as required by the sports car ruling body. It was then fitted with a small block Chevrolet V-8, which was perfect for the American road and airport circuits of the late '50s and early-'60s.
'I want to congratulate our panel of esteemed judges on this year's best of show selections,' said Bill Warner, Chairman and Founder of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. 'Both cars are excellent examples of unique pedigree and provenance and are well deserving of their awards. We worked hard to bring the best in automotive elegance and sport to this year's event, and judging by our winners and the crowd I think we achieved our goal.'