“Rain, rain go away, come again another day.”
That was likely the chant on Bill Warner’s lips on the Friday before his 2015 Amelia Island Concours. There were deluges on Friday and the weather teased on Saturday, but Sunday was glorious. Fitting weather for the 20th anniversary of this now-famous automobile festival.
In fact, most those at the Ritz-Carlton-based concours on Friday shrugged off the rain, many of them more intent on looking at the modern cars that are up for test drives that day. Just line up, sign up and drive the likes of a 2015 Porsche or Jaguar. Or there was the excellent seminar, this year about car design. Or there are auctions galore both on the property and just up the road.
Come Saturday, it was Cars and Coffee from 9 am to 1 pm, some 250 cars spread across the golf fairways. This was the time to see anything from Avantis to hot rods to low riders. You could barely turn around without bumping into another activity.
Sunday was the big day, of course, almost 300 cars being assessed in dozens of classes by blue blazer-attired judges. You need a fine pair of shoes to wander the field, out around the water hazard, across the bridge and back again. Big crowd, very friendly. Come noon you’re ready to take a seat and watch as the many awards are presented, giving one a chance to see the cars in motion. And to hear them. You come away with a sense of, just wait until next year.
Incidentally, the Amelia Island Concours warns, “ALL events are held rain or shine.” But somehow you get the sense the event’s founder, Bill Warner, has an in with the weatherman.
Ah, what hath Warner wrought?
1-Sir Stirling Moss was the first honoree at Amelia and again in the event’s 20th year. Many of the cars he raced were arranged for a photo shoot, and his wife, Lady Susie Moss, joined him for this photo.
2-More than just a show of older automobiles, Amelia is a bustling new-car showroom. Automakers bring their latest for potential customers to test drive. Here Alfa Romeo demos its 4C. Also tempting buyers were the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Infiniti and Jaguar.
3-BMW used Amelia Island to kick off the celebration of its win at Sebring 40 years ago with this 3.0 CSL. The 1975 12 Hours of Sebring winning drivers Brian Redman, Sam Posey and Hans Stuck were at Amelia.
4-Saturday is Cars and Coffee day at Amelia and the cars in attendance can run the gamut as you can see with this Chevrolet low rider.
5-Hot rods have become an accepted entry at many concours and rightly so. This is one of the most famous, Bruce Meyer’s red 1932 Ford Roadster, which was built by Bob McGee. Hot Rod magazine featured this car on its cover in October 1948.
6-Always a crowd favorite, the Bertone-designed Lamborghini Miura with its lime green paint.
7-The Revs Institute brought its 1939 Mercedes-Benz W154 with “cutaway” bodywork. This allows viewers an inside look at the car’s legendary mechanicals, like the 483-horsepower 2962-cc V-12 with its double overhead camshafts and two Roots-type superchargers.
8-As part of the tribute to Sir Stirling Moss and the cars he raced, The Revs Institute showed its 1958 Vanwall Formula 1 car with the Frank Costin-designed teardrop body.
9-A wonderful rarity from sports car racing more than 50 years ago, a 1959 Bocar XP-5. Built by Bob Carnes in Colorado, this one was to be raced by the famous Meister Brauser team. It won an Amelia Award for Race Cars (Pre War-1959).
10-The Indianapolis Motor Speedway/Tony Hulman Award for the most historically significant Indianapolis Race car went to this 1955 Kurtis-Kraft 500-D Belanger Roadster.
11-There were two distinctly different Porsche 914s, and those with the Porsche 1991-cc flat-6 at 210 horsepower were the best. And they were raced, like this one from The Revs Institute, which came away from the concours with an Amelia Award in the Porsche 914-916 class.
12-The Porsche Trophy for the most historically significant Porsche was awarded to The Revs Institute’s 1960 RS-60. Serial number 718-041, it was driven to a win in the 1960 Targa Florio by Jo Bonnier and Hans Herrmann.
13-Amelia’s concours likes to leave the crowd with a smile on its face and did so this year with a class called Cars of the Cowboys. This entrant, a 1964 Pontiac Bonneville with horns and firearms, won the Camille Jenatzy Award for the car with the most audacious exterior. No kidding.
14-One of the great giant-killer race cars, this Osca 1500 won the 1954 12 Hours of Sebring driven by Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd. Now part of The Revs Institute’s collection, it won The Spirit of Sebring Award at Amelia, and Sir Stirling was there for the ceremony.
15-Ginny and David Sydorick brought their 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 from Beverly Hills to Amelia Island and went home with the Best in Show, Concours de Sport award.
16-This 1930 Cord L29 Speedster from the Ed and Judy Schoenthaler Collection has bodywork penned by the famous industrial designer Brooks Stevens. It won the Best in Show, Concours d’Elegance prize.