Eight Greats From the 2017 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
One-offs and race winners galore
The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance has established itself over the past 22 years as one of the finest shows of its kind anywhere in the world. The event, held each year on the picturesque Amelia Island, Florida coastline, is a celebration of all the things that make us love classic cars - from the stories, to the people, to the cars themselves. Here are eight of our favorite cars from the 2017 concours d'elegance. We can't wait to return next year.
1935 S.S. 1 Coupe
The S.S. 1 was the first car designed by Sir William Lyons, co-founder of the Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company, or simply, S.S. After WWII, the name of the company was changed to the familiar Jaguar moniker, largely due to avoid connotations to the Nazi party. The "Drophead Coupe" version shown here is rakish and sporty looking, but was really a value-based proposition in its day, costing less than most competitors. This example was delivered new to Argentinian tango performer Ada Falcon and spent 80 years in Buenos Aires before arriving in the U.S. last year.
1951 Ferrari 212 Inter
Italian automotive designer Giovanni Michelotti is responsible for the breathtaking, low-cut roofline on this Ferrari 212 Inter, a design he penned while working with coachbuilder Vignale. As the story goes, the intricate front grille design on this car - one of its most striking features - was derided by Enzo Ferrari, who preferred the "egg-crate" grille that had come to typify Ferraris of this vintage. This car was sold new in Portugal and remained there for its first 44 years of life, arriving in the U.S. somewhat later in 2011.
1955 Jaguar D-Type
Among the highlights of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance this year was a large showing of Jaguar D-Type models. Thirteen of the 16 total D-Types built were on display (along with several road-going XKSS models) and this example, serial number XKD 501, was one of the most significant, having won the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans, an endurance race with the opportunity for very high speeds that the gorgeously aerodynamic D-Type was well-suited for. One of the more original D-Types in existence, this car retains its original chassis, body, and 3.4-liter, three-carb, dry-sump inline-six-cylinder engine as it ran at Le Mans in '56.
1970 Datsun 240Z BRE
Not all race cars are as fortunate as the D-Type above. Case-in-point: this 1970 Datsun 240Z. Race driver John Morton and automotive engineer and designer Peter Brock campaigned a 240Z in the 1970 and '71 seasons of the SCCA's C Production championship and won both years, flying their classic BRE team colors. In 1977, their car was written off after a crash, but the engine, transmission, roll bar, gauges and other key components were transferred to this 1970 240Z. The car was completed over the past few years with the assistance of John Morton and Peter Brock themselves.
1965 Honda RA272
Many current automakers hold booths at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance to display their modern production cars. Not so Honda, which used its booth to display this RA272 Formula 1 car. The car was a revision of the '64 RA271, with lighter weight (just 1,157 lbs), easier servicing and - later in the season - a lower engine position for the 217-hp, 1.5-liter, DOHC V-12, resulting in improved handling. In this configuration, Californian kid Richie Ginther scored both his and Honda's first Formula 1 victory at the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix.
1980 Lancia Beta Montecarlo
By 1979, Italian automaker Lancia, once a stalwart of sports car racing, had been out of the game for some 25 years. But that year, things changed with this Lancia Beta Montecarlo. Loosely based on the mid-engine design of the Lancia Montecarlo road car (that's Lancia Scorpion in the U.S. ), the Beta Montecarlo race car entered the Group 5 international race class with a 1.5-liter, turbocharged, twin-cam I-4 engine derived from Fiat road cars such as the 124 Spider. The cars were successful and this exact version, owned by rally-car enthusiast John Campion, won its class at the 1981 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Beta Montecarlo racer would lead to the development of the popular Group B Lancia 037 rally car, one of which Campion also owns.
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner
Developed by the "Sonderwagenbau" coachbuilding department in Sindelfingen, this 540 K Streamliner demonstrates the engineering prowess and advanced thinking that helped to establish Mercedes-Benz - and German engineering, in general - as among the most advanced brands in the automotive world. Designed to maximize aerodynamic efficiency, comfort and speed, all things necessary for relaxed, high-speed touring in pre-war Europe, the 540 K is breathtaking to look at and we imagine even more amazing from behind the wheel. Restored by Mercedes-Benz Classic several years ago, it recorded a drag coefficient of just 0.36 in recent times - vastly improved from the 0.57 cD value given by the standard 540 K.
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
Once upon a time, NASCAR race cars were actually based on honest-to-goodness production cars rather than pure race chassis built to a single specification. The lineage between what spectators saw driving on the track and what they drove to the track in was real and direct. This '69 Dodge Charger Daytona shows that heritage - special road-going Daytona editions of the Dodge Charger had to be built with the aerodynamic nose and large rear spoiler seen on this racer in order to homologate the car for the race series. If the bodywork wasn't available on road cars, the race car wouldn't be legal. The Daytona ushered in a new aerodynamic age in the sport and was the first NASCAR racer to break the 200-mph barrier, with a 426-ci, 650-hp Hemi engine underhood. This car dominated the 1970 NASCAR Grand National series, which led to it being banned from competition. It later broke 28 land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats and is presented today as it ran in the Grand National series.