Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

Amelia Island Concours d^Elegance March 2011
The 16th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance proved once again to be one of the top collector car events in the world, drawing nearly 20,000 enthusiasts to view a spectacular collection of nearly 300 rare automobiles and motorcycles. The event was held at the 5-Star Ritz-Carlton Resort on the 10th and 18th fairways of the golf course. This year's featured marques were the legendary Duesenbergs and the cars of Frank Kurtis and Sydney Allard. Hot rods that graced Hot Rod magazine's cover were on display, as were the great cars of the Indy 500 in honor of its centennial. The show honored Bobby Rahal, winner of the 1986 Indy 500, 1981 24 Hours of Daytona, 1987 12 Hours of Sebring and three CART championships.

There have been several other Duesenberg gatherings at other events in recent years, but the quality and quantity at Amelia Island was arguably the best. Not surprisingly, two Duesenbergs were named Best in Show, with the 1933 SJN Arlington Torpedo Sedan from the Nethercutt Collection earning the 'Concours d'Elegance' award. The 'Mormon Meteor' owned by Harry Yeaggy won the 'Concours de Sport.' This was the Meteor's third appearance at Amelia in 15 years and its first showing since a major restoration. It was once dubbed the 'fastest, most powerful car in the world.' Many consider it the ultimate Duesenberg, and its accomplishments and major awards have reinforced this belief.

The 'Concours d'Elegance' winning car is widely known as 'Twenty Grand', reflecting its 1932 selling price. This supercharged Duesenberg was designed by Gordon Buehrig as a show car for the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition of 1933-1934. This graceful one-off closed-coupled design is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful Duesenbergs built, and apparently the Amelia Island Concours' judges agree.

'I don't recall a tougher decision among the judging committee for best in show awards than this year,' said Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the Amelia Island Concours. 'We simply had the best of the best on the field and I am glad the decision wasn't mine. Both winners were stunning and very deserving. I take my hat off to the committee and congratulate them on their choices.'

There were four dedicated categories for Duesenbergs that included 'Open,' 'Closed,' 'Supercharged,' and 'Race.' The 'Race' category housed a 1915 Indy Racer, the second oldest Duesenberg in existence. The 1921 Duesy GP car was one of three cars that were entered in the Grand Prix at LeMans in 1921. One of the Duesenberg Racers emerged victorious. This would be the last international race victory for America until 1966.

Amelia's 'Duesenberg-Supercharged' was home to some of the most elegant road-going vehicles ever created. Along with the Model J and the supercharged version 'SJ' (of which there were less than 40 examples produced), Duesenberg also offered the 'JN' Series. This series was introduced in 1935 as a contemporary series of Duesenbergs featuring a wider body dropped over the frame rails for a lower profile. They were designed by Herb Newport of Rollston and Company of New York. Supercharged examples were given the designation 'SJN.' Along with the 'Best of Show' model, another Rollston-bodied SJN was in attendance.

Other highlights included a 'super-short' 125-inch SSJ Speedster and a very late model (1940) Model SJ. Duesenberg had gone out of production in 1937, yet a wealthy individual commissioned one to be built, using a demonstration chassis that wore a LeBaron body. Modifications were made to the chassis and a Fully Collapsible Town Car body was created by Rollson.

The Amelia Island Concours is a very thorough, complete, and well curated event. There are horseless carriages and brass era cars, elegant classic era vehicles, flamboyant tail fin cars from the 1950s, GT and sports cars, and high powered race cars. Cars are arranged by group, with several of the groups recurring from year to year. There are other groups that without knowing the group name, appear to be random. For example, the group housing the GM Biscayne Concept, Maserati Sebring Prototype, Ferrari 365 Daytona, Allard Palm Beach Roadster, and Dodge Daytona was very puzzling - until learning that this category was for 'Cars of Florida.' The other unusual category had a Tucker, a replica Bugatti 57SC Atlantic, a modern LaSalle C-Hawk Concept, a Sorrell-Manning Special, and several other 'obscure' vehicles. These vehicles made up the 'One Man's Dream' category, celebrating the creativity and work of low-production artisans throughout the years. These are the groups that help make Amelia Island great, unique, and special. It must not only be difficult to think-up these categories, but also to find worthy examples that can tell the story and meet the caliber of quality on the show field.

Racing has always been an integral part of the Amelia Island Concours, and this year was no different. The Indy 500 category was exceptional, housing ten vehicles that ranged in years from the late 1910s through the 1980s. It included an early front-wheel drive Miller, a 1930 4WD six-cylinder supercharged futuristic racing special, a 1950 Kurtis Cummins Diesel Special, a Gas-Turbine Lotus, and a Lighting Indy car that carried the first woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. Not only are the cars rare, but they are among the most unique and creative that have ever attempted a victory at the Brickyard. The 'Cars of Bobby Rahal' category visually portrayed the many different types of cars Mr. Rahal used during his career. During his career, he won the Indy 500, 24 CART Indycar races and was three-time champion of that series. He raced for 25 years in many different kinds of formula cars, including Formula Atlantic, 3, 2 and I, as well as sports cars in SCCA and IMSA, including Can-Am and LeMans machinery. He even once drove in NASCAR. Cars on the well-manicured lawn at Amelia included a Lola T290, a March 82G and Porsche 962, an open-wheeled Lola T360 and a March 86C. The 1998 Reyanrd on display was Bobby's 'last ride' and is currently in as-raced condition, including the Ford-Cosworth V8 engine used in that event.

It would be difficult to celebrate the many accomplishments of Frank Kurtis or Sydney Allard, without having separate categories for their road-going and track successes. Both of these individuals, judging from their style, creativity, and mechanical abilities, must have been 'cut from the same stock.' Honoring both of these individuals at the same time and having the vehicles they created in close proximity was simply brilliant. It allowed for special admiration and reflection of these two artisans. Their work made a lasting impression on America in the post-War period and both created machines that excelled in their respective branches of racing.

This year's concours also celebrated the work of Jack Griffith. He is one of the few individuals still living who has successfully created and marketed a vehicle bearing his name. On display were examples of his Series 200 and Series 400 vehicles, plus a very rare Griffith 600. The Series 600 was the final model produced by Griffith Motorcars and is one of (at most) 10 examples produced.

Among the plethora of unique and one-off creations that were scattered throughout the show field, was a special category honoring 'Orphan Concepts.' An 'Orphan Car' generally applies to any motor vehicle built by a manufacturer that is no longer in business. Examples in the 'Orphan Concept' group included a Mercury Monterey XM-800 Concept. (Yes, Mercury is no longer an automaker), the Plymouth Belmont Concept, Plymouth XNR Concept, Plymouth Explorer Concept, and the Packard Panther Concept. Perhaps the most exciting, futuristic and unrealistic example was the XNR Concept designed by Virgil Exner and built in 1959 by Ghia. It is just 43-inches tall to the top of the fin and has a wheelbase that measures a mere 106-inches. The driver sits behind a dramatically curved 'personal' windshield; a smaller, fold-down windscreen was available for the protection of a passenger. Additionally, the passenger sat somewhat lower than the driver - a design thought to minimize the negative effects of the wind. The concept never made it to market, and if it had - it certainly would have been dramatically modified to make it suitable for practical production.

In Conclusion
It would appear that instead of waiting for special anniversaries (i.e. 15, 20, 25 years) to showcase such an exceptional and 'over-the-top' show, chairman Bill Warner and his group just plan to out-do each show year-after-year. Each year we wonder how they will top the prior year's performance, and each year we are amazed at the creativity, planning, and caliber that they bring to-the-table. It is truly one of the top collector car events in the world.

1927 Duesenberg Model X  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1932 Duesenberg Model J  
1935 Duesenberg Model J  
1923 Duesenberg Model A  
1927 Duesenberg Model X  
1929 Duesenberg Model J  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1930 Duesenberg Model J  
1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1931 Duesenberg Model J  
1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1936 Duesenberg Twelve Cylinder Prototype  
1915 Duesenberg Indianapolis Racer  
1921 Duesenberg Grand Prix Racer  
1930 Duesenberg Fred Frame Special  
1931 Duesenberg Model Y Indy Racer  
1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Special Mormon Meteor  
1933 Duesenberg Model SJ  
1935 Duesenberg Model SJ  
1935 Duesenberg Model SJN  
1935 Duesenberg Model SSJ  
1940 Duesenberg Model SJ  
1964 Elva MK VII  
1967 Lotus Europa  
1972 Lola T290  
1975 Lola T360  
1977 Porsche 935  
1982 March 82G  
1986 March 86C  
1986 Porsche 962  
1998 Reynard Racer  
1947 Allard Racer Special  
1948 Allard K1  
1949 Allard J2  
1950 Allard J2  
1951 Allard J2  
1951 Allard J2-X LeMans  
1952 Allard J2X  
1953 Allard J2X  
1953 Allard JR  
1947 Allard K1  
1948 Allard L-Type  
1950 Allard J2  
1950 Allard P1  
1951 Allard J2  
1951 Allard K2  
1952 Allard J2X  
1959 Allard Palm Beach  
1946 Kurtis Kraft Midget  
1947 Kurtis Kraft Midget  
1948 Kurtis Midget  
1952 Kurtis 4000  
1952 Kurtis 500A  
1953 Kurtis 500B  
1954 Kurtis Custom Indy Streamliner  
1958 Kurtis Kraft Midget  
1962 Kurtis Aguila Racer  
1963 Kurtis KK500L  
1937 Kurtis Tommy Lee Special  
1949 Kurtis Kraft Sport  
1954 Kurtis 500M  
1954 Kurtis KK-500  
1955 Kurtis 500SX  
1956 Kurtis Kraft 500S  
1965 Griffith Series 200  
1967 Griffith 600  
1919 Ballot Indy Racer  
1920 Duesenberg 183 Grand Prix  
1923 Miller 122  
1938 Miller Gulf Special  
1950 Kurtis Cummins Diesel Special  
1963 Watson Indy Roadster  
1965 Lotus Type 38  
1968 Lotus Type 56  
1976 Lightning Indy Racer  
1980 Chaparral Pennzoil 2K-02  
1928 Chevrolet Beach Racer  
1955 Chevrolet Series 150  
1969 Chevrolet Corvette C3  
1976 Chevrolet Corvette Widebody  
1985 Chevrolet Corvette GTP  
2002 Chevrolet Corvette  
1952 Packard Panther Macauley  
1954 Mercury Monterey XM-800 Concept  
1954 Plymouth Belmont Concept  
1954 Plymouth Explorer Concept  
1960 Plymouth XNR Concept  
1936 Bugatti Type 57  
1948 Tucker 48  
1954 Sorrell Manning Special  
1956 Porsche 356A  
1961 Excalibur Hawk RS  
2000 Advance Automotive Heldo  
2007 Murray Brothers Special Indy Roadster  
2011 LaSalle C-Hawk Concept  
1955 Chevrolet Biscayne XP-37  
1961 Maserati 3500 GT  
1961 Maserati Sebring I Prototype  
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona  
1902 Knox Model R  
1903 Cadillac Model A  
1904 Rambler Model L  
1905 Buick Model C  
1909 Ford Model T  
1910 Oakland Model 24  
1911 Mercer Model 35  
1907 Dragon Raceabout  
1908 Ford Model K  
1910 Packard Model 30  
1910 Pierce Arrow Model 48  
1911 Midland Model L-1  
1912 Stoddard-Dayton Model 48  
1913 National Series V  
1915 Peerless Model 48  
1915 Chevrolet Series H  
1915 FRP Series B  
1917 Paige Model 6-51  
1919 Paige Daytona Speedster Prototype  
1920 Mercer Series 5  
1921 Brewster Model 91  
1923 Locomobile 48 Series VIII  
1925 Packard 236  
1926 Pierce Arrow Model 33  
1929 Stutz Model M  
1934 Packard 1108 Twelve  
1928 Packard Model 526 Six  
1929 Auburn 8-120  
1929 Packard 640 Custom Eight  
1930 Lincoln Model L  
1930 Pierce Arrow Model B  
1931 Marmon Model 16  
1931 Packard Model 833 Standard Eight  
1932 Marmon Sixteen  
1932 Packard Model 903 Deluxe Eight  
1933 Chrysler CL Custom Imperial  
1934 Packard 1101  
1936 Cord 810  
1937 Cord 812  
1937 Packard 1508 Twelve  
1938 Packard 1605 Super Eight  
1939 Packard 120  
1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180  
1941 Packard Super 8 160  
1942 Lincoln Continental  
1924 Bentley 3 Litre  
1927 Bentley 4.5 Litre  
1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II  
1933 Derby L8  
1908 Mercedes-Benz 150 HP Grand-Prix  
1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL  
1956 Mercedes-Benz 300C Series  
1958 Mercedes-Benz 180 Series  
1958 Mercedes-Benz 300D  
1961 Mercedes-Benz 300D  
1965 Mercedes-Benz 600  
1972 Mercedes-Benz 600  
1931 Bugatti Type 40A  
1931 Delage D8  
1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante  
1938 Bugatti Type 57C  
1947 Talbot-Lago T-26  
1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith  
1948 Daimler DE36  
1951 Bentley Mark VI  
1952 Bentley R-Type  
1959 Bentley Continental S1  
1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I  
1963 Bentley S3 Continental  
1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III  
1982 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI  
1911 Mercedes-Benz 37/90 HP  
1914 Stutz Indy Racer  
1927 Miller Model 91  
1937 BMW 328 Mille Miglia  
1937 Gene Riley Special  
1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500  
1951 Jaguar XK120  
1953 Cooper MG Barchetta  
1955 Jaguar XK-D D-Type  
1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT  
1963 Alfa Romeo TZ1  
1965 Watson Wynns Special  
1968 Porsche 907  
1969 Porsche 911  
1971 Porsche 908/3  
1972 BMW 3.0 CSL  
1972 Dodge Challenger  
1972 Ford Escort MKI  
1977 Porsche 934.5  
1928 Amilcar Model CGSS  
1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300  
1932 MG J2  
1935 MG NB  
1937 Squire 1600  
1938 Jaguar SS 100  
1942 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500  
1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500  
1950 Abarth 205  
1950 Emil Diedt Rochester Speical  
1950 Lea-Francis Eighteen  
1952 Fiat Abarth 1500 Biposto  
1952 Jaguar XK 120  
1953 Cunningham C3  
1953 Porsche 356  
1954 Arnolt Bolide  
1957 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS  
1959 Weidner Condor  
1961 Osca 1600 GT  
1963 Mercedes-Benz 230SL  
1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4  
1965 Shelby Cobra 289  
1966 Lamborghini 350GT  
1967 Chevrolet Corvette C2  
1967 Shelby Cobra 427  
1969 Intermeccanica Italia  
1970 Maserati Ghibli  
1974 DeTomaso Longchamp  
1947 Mercury Series 79M  
1949 Packard Custom Eight  
1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster  
1955 Chrysler C300  
1957 Cadillac Series 62  
1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser  
1958 Cadillac Series 62  
1960 Chrysler 300F  
1961 Chrysler New Yorker  
1963 Chevrolet Impala Series  
1963 Ford Thunderbird  
1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1926 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1930 Cadillac Series 452A V16  
1937 Cadillac Series 85  
1938 Cadillac Series 60  
1952 Ferrari 212 Inter  
1952 Ferrari 342 America  
1953 Ferrari 375 America  
1954 Ferrari 250 Europa  
1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica  
1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso  
1967 Ferrari 330 GTS  
1971 Ferrari 365 Daytona  
1973 Ferrari 246 Dino  

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