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Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

Amelia Island Concours d^Elegance May 2021
Moved from March to May in light of the global pandemic, the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance returned to the Golf Club of Amelia Island and the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island to host a world-class motoring event. The weekend's 2021 celebrated honoree was racer, writer, broadcaster, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker Lyn St. James. Like previous years, 'The Amelia' assembled a group of cars associated with the honoree. For the 26th celebration of the event, eleven of the cars that Lyn St. James drove throughout her racing career graced the manicured lawn of the show field, including the 1985 Ford Mustang displayed by 3 Dog Garage. Lyn's first Daytona 24 hour class victory would come behind the wheel of this historic pony car in 1987 when she shared driving duties with Daytona 500 winner Bill Elliott, Trans-Am Champ Tom Gloy, and then-reigning IMSA GTO Champion, Scott Pruett.

'Chevy Thunder' celebrated the Chevy-powered cars that made history, invested the average American motorist with the luxury of power on demand and created a muscular aura around Chevrolet's 'bowtie' emblem. Two classes of these V-8 powered cars graced the showfield. Friday's seminar of the same name featured two-time Daytona 500 winner, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The Amelia celebrated the 'all-conquering Porsche 935' with a lively seminar and 13 examples of the iconic race car on the show field. Porsche's 935 debuted 45 years ago in a world reeling from the Oil Embargo. The German manufacturer would create the Porsche Turbo, a more powerful and luxurious version of their 911. A new set of rules that shifted the emphasis of endurance racing from pure prototypes to modified 'silhouette' GT cars led to the creation of the 911 Turbo based Group 5 935.

The 1895 Morris and Salom Electrobat IV from the America on Wheels Museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania anchored The Amelia's 'It's Electric' class. Believed to be the oldest electric vehicle in existence, the Elecrobat provided perfect symmetry to Sunday's first-ever 'Taking Charge Parade.' The rolling display featured new EVs from nine manufacturers.

Other 2021 highlights included a wildly entertaining class of 'Weird and Wonderful' vehicles. Hispano-Suiza was the 'honored classic.' The Shadow class included the 'the two-dimensional car', the dramatic AVS Shadow MKI. And a class of 80s and 90s Supercars, highlighted by the 1995 McLaren F1 from the Miles Collier Collection, took to the main showfield for the first time.

'The global pandemic led to challenges unlike any other in The Amelia's history but the staff, volunteers and board of directors worked tirelessly to produce another world-class event,' Warner said. 'We were thrilled to honor the inspiring Lyn St. James. I think we borrowed a little of her unmatched tenacity and grit to make number 26 a reality.'

Best of Show
The Best in Show Concours d'Elegance Trophy was awarded to a 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet displayed by Jill and Charles Mitchell of Stuart, Florida.

A brief history of the 2021 Best in Show, Concours d'Elegance winner:

'Emilio de la Cuadra, a Spanish army Captain, started La Caudra in 1898. He hired Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt. Ownership would change hands, bankruptcy would occur and in 1904 a group of industrialists led by Mr. D. Damián Mateu and Mr. Francisco Seix would restructure to found LA HISPANO-SUIZA.

By 1905, they were producing four and six-cylinder engines. During World War I, they provided airplane engines. Birkigt designed engine innovations that included a cast engine block, reduction gearing and a hollow propeller shaft. When the War ended, they resumed production and developed a reputation for building luxury automobiles.

Hispano-Suiza produced 2,350 H6 cars from 1919 to 1933. The H6 featured an aluminum, overhead camshaft 403 cubic inch straight six cylinder engine. It was half of Birkigt's V12 aviation engine. The brakes were power assisted four wheel light-alloy drums, an industry first technology that was licensed to other builders including Rolls-Royce.

This Hispano-Suiza H6B was given Cabriolet Le Dandy coachwork at the Henri Chapron Works in 1931. Several Delage D8's received Le Dandy bodies, some with full flowing fenders and others with cycle fenders.'

A 1974 Shadow DN4 displayed by James Bartel of Key West, Florida took home the Best in Show Concours de Sport Trophy.

A brief history of the 2021 Best in Show, Concours de Sport:

'DN4-1A is the Championship winning Shadow racer from 1974. It was driven by Jackie Oliver and won four out of five races from the final shortened season of the original Can-Am. It would have scored a clean sweep of the series but suffered an engine failure in the final race, only four laps from the end. The DN4 was an all-new car for 1974 and used many components from the DN3-F1 racer. DN4-1A was retained by Don Nichols in an unrestored condition until purchased by its current owner in 2014. It was restored and raced in historic races from 2016 to the present. It has finished first in every historic race entered. The DN4-1A has been newly restored following an incident at the 2020 Road America historic races in July 2020. This is the first time it is being displayed since its latest restoration.'

'The 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet and 1974 Shadow DN4 both represent the excellence we strive for at The Amelia,' said Bill Warner, Chairman and Founder of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. 'This year's showfield might have been reduced to encourage social distancing, but the quality of the entries made selecting the winners as difficult as ever. Many thanks to our judging team, led by Paul Sable, for overcoming the almost insurmountable task of choosing the best of the best in each class.'

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