So...What is the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance?

HistoricRacingNews.com and our presenting sponsor Reliable Carriers are delighted to be bringing you the all-important judging from the 2019 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, with our live-stream going on-line at noon on March 10th (United States Eastern Time). The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance has grown from the first Concours in 1996 to become one of the premier events of its type worldwide. Ferrari at Amelia Island

Held in the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island Hotel on Amelia Island in north-east Florida each year, on the second weekend of March, the Concours is widely known as the ‘Racers Concours’ because of the unparalleled array of road and race cars it attracts each year. All of the over 300 entrants are put under an exacting level of scrutiny by an international panel of judges, with 134 elite members of the motoring and racing communities handle the judging each year for 34 plus categories.  

Another unique feature of this great event is the annual naming of a motorsports Honoree. The 24-year history of the event has seen a motorsports who’s who from every category of racing enjoy a weekend of remembering their career with many of the machines that helped make them living legends on display at the event.

2019 that tradition will carry on with a Formula One and endurance-racing superstar Jacky Ickx. Many of the five-times Le Mans 24-Hours race winner’s cars will be on hand including a couple of surprises. 

The success of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is due to the efforts of Bill Warner and his team, who responded to a need for a classic car event in Florida and combined that with his desire to raise money for charitable causes, and the Community Hospice of North Florida in particular. More than 2,000 people attended the first event in April 1996, to be greeted by 163 cars on display – a Talbot-Lago 150SS being the first car to take home the prestigious Best in Show award.

The 2018 Concours saw over 300 cars on show with the judging expanded to cover 36 classes of cars and also motorcycles. As the event has developed and raised its international profile the Best in Show honors have been split in two, with last year’s best in Show Concours d’Elegance Trophy going to a superb 1929 Duesenberg J/SJ convertible, while the Best in Show Concourse de Sport Trophy awarded to the Ferrari 250/275P that won the 1963 Nurburgring 1000km and the 1964 Sebring 12 Hours.

McLaren M23 at Amelia IslandThis growth has seen the Concours able to donate in excess of $3.2 million dollars to the Community Hospice of North Florida, as well as other charities on Florida’s First Coast. Amelia Island has also twice won the International Historic Motoring Event of the Year awards from Octane Magazine.

In addition to the concourse there is a busy weekend of events, with RM Sotheby’s running a major auction, a highly-popular ‘silent auction’ offering a wide range of automotive lots for all depths of pocket, and Cars and Coffee on the Saturday morning which sees over 400 vehicles from local car clubs arrayed on fairways of the Golf Club of Amelia Island.

HistoricRacingNews.com’s Jim Roller has been a regular visitor, the event a highlight of his year:  

“My first trip to the island I was blown away with the size and scope of the event. The Ritz-Carlton becomes the center of the car culture world for four days. A cottage industry of events adjacent to the Concours has sprung up over the years making it a weekend of sensory overload for even the most avid car nut! 

“Friday and Saturday the crescendo starts to build with two fun and enlightening seminars with motoring and racing insiders and legends as well as the record setting numbers annually generated by the RM Sotheby’s auction that moves some unique and stunning automobiles across the auction block. 

“Sunday is the big day as some 30-thousand motor heads invade the 10th and 18th fairways at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Course for a day of total car emersion! No matter how many times I make the trip to the island each year I am blown away with the range and scope of cars on display, from the legendary to the curious and sublime. This year I am overjoyed and humbled to be able to bring this spectacle to a worldwide audience for the first time.” 

Photos Courtesy of DeremerStudios.com.
Cars and Coffee