AMELIA ISLAND, Florida — The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance has established itself as the premiere East Coast concours in recent years, and miraculously avoids much of the pretension and rarified atmosphere of other high-end collector car events.
This year, as last year, the show was scheduled for Sunday but was moved forward to Saturday on threats of rain later in the weekend. Entrants seemed better prepared this year, meaning virtually all show vehicles were ready on time and attendees were able to enjoy a spectacular field of cars and great weather.
Here are 11 of our favorite cars from the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
1963 Ferrari 250/275P
The winner of the Best in Show Concours d’Sport award, this Ferrari race car was built to compete in the World Prototype Championship in 1963. Originally fitted with a mid-mounted 3.0-liter V-12, this car was a factory racer and the overall winner at the ’63 ADAC Nurburgring 1000 Kilometer race with John Surtees and Willy Mairesse driving, then won the 1964 12 Hours of Sebring outright, then fitted with an uprated 3.3-liter V-12 for the new racing season. Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti would then campaign the car under his North American Racing Team (N.A.R.T), which was the basis for the class this car was entered in.
1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 “Daytona shooting brake”
Said to be the 805th 365 GTB/4 built, this Daytona was modified in-period on commission from Luigi Chinetti Jr., son of the well-known U.S. importer. Built by Panther Westwinds in Surrey, England, the Daytona was given wagon-like coachwork but remained a two-door vehicle, this style often referred to as a “shooting brake” in England. The rear cargo area has gullwing-style glass that gives access to the space, instead of the traditional tailgate.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette convertible
The original owner of this Aztec Gold, fuel-injected Corvette convertible was a Pan American pilot who saw an identical car being used in a Pan Am advertisement. Infatuated, he bought the exact same car from a California dealership and kept it the remainder of his working career, giving it to his son when he was too old to drive it. The current owner later bought it from the son, primarily because it reminded him of an identical car that was known to be among the quickest cars on the street in his native ‘60s Brooklyn, New York.
1984 Chevrolet Corvette GTP
Originally built and raced by Hendrick Motorsports (where the car still lives), this mid-engined “Corvette” is a purpose-built, racer designed to compete in period IMSA races while developing GM’s period 90-degree V-6 engine. The car debuted in the 1985 season, competing in eight events and taking four pole positions and a win at Road Atlanta, the first ever IMSA win for a Corvette. The car is especially interesting as we look forward to a new mid-engine Corvette road car.
1976 Porsche 935/76
This car, chassis 935-001 is one of the most famous Porsche 911 race cars ever built. A Porsche factory team car, it raced and won the ’76 6-hours of Watkins Glen race driven by works drivers, Rolf Stommelen and Manfred Schurti. This car ushered in the era of high-powered, turbocharged Porsche race cars, its 3.0-liter flat-six engine producing 510 horsepower. The car is currently owned by Jerry Seinfeld and won an award for best restoration at Amelia Island this year.
1985 Lancia Delta S4
Anyone familiar with Group B rally racing will instantly recognize this Martini-themed Lancia works racer. The S4 was an evolution of the brand’s rally-dominating Delta Integrale, taken to the next level thanks to the wild regulations of the Group B class. With all-wheel drive and a both turbocharged and supercharged 1.8-liter twin-cam Lampredi-designed engine, the result was 500 horsepower and five race victories before the class was disbanded for safety concerns in 1986. Lancia built 200 street (or “stradale”) versions to homologate this rally rocket.
One of just two factory-built lightweight MGC race cars, this car (known as “Mabel”) was campaigned from 1967 to 1969. It was painted British Racing Green for its first race at the ’67 Targa Florio and originally ran with 2.0-liter MGB four-cylinder engine. Later, it received a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder Austin engine as fitted to the new MGC cars and won first in class at the ’68 12 Hours of Sebring.
1964 Alpine M64 Le Mans Prototype
By the 1960s, Alpine was the factory racing arm of Renault and this car, an M64, competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice, winning its class. It also won the Index of Thermal Efficiency in the same year, completing 2,436 miles during the race at an average speed of 101 mph and an average efficiency of 21 mpg. Pretty impressive! It later won its class at the 12 Hours of Reims in 1964 and later became a test bed for the new M65 before being stashed away for nearly five decades. This was the 1-liter, four-cylinder racer’s first appearance since then.
1994 Penske-Mercedes PC-23
This PC-23, chassis number 4, was used primarily as a test car for the then-new Mercedes 500i engine, which was designed, developed, and manufactured in just half a year to win the Indy 500. This chassis was the first to receive the 1024-hp development engine and it was tested extensively by Emerson Fittipaldi and Al Unser Jr., the latter of which would go on to win the race. The victory gave Mercedes-Benz its first win at the Indy 500 since 1915, but the celebration was short lived as the engine was banned from competition soon after.
1968 Jeep Wrangler
This custom Jeep hunting vehicle is a replica of those famously used by the Kleberg family and friends on the King Ranch in Texas for hunting quail. Famous guests using the vehicles included Bing Crosby and Trader Vic’s founder Victor Bergeron. Among the custom touches include leather-lined hunting rifle holsters mounted on each front fender and elevated rear seating.
1968 Shelby Lonestar
This GT-40-based sports car had a mid-mounted Ford V-8 engine and was designed to be a more modern version of the Cobra sports and race car—a replacement for the Cobra 427, if you will. Internally called the Cobra III, Shelby had already sold rights to the Cobra name and planned to introduce the car as the Shelby Lonestar as an homage to his home state of Texas. Ultimately the project was scrapped, helped along by more aggressive new safety regulations that hit the late ‘60s U.S. automotive industry. What might have been?