Even the most jaded car enthusiast would have come away from the 2012 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance invigorated by the breathtaking line-up. Picking out individual highlights from a show starring no fewer than 12 Ferrari GTOs – valued conservatively by Octane market analyst Dave Kinney at $ 400m – is tough, even though the USA’s finest concours this side of Pebble Beach isn’t all about the money.
The event is held on the golf course next to the Ritz-Carlton hotel, which is located in Florida’s exclusive Amelia Island resort. Over the course of the long weekend, around 23,000 people came to view the 295 vehicles displayed on the greens. That figure includes a large number of families who spent per person to be here – which is still somewhat less than Pebble Beach’s 0 gate price. As at Pebble, proceeds go to local charities.
Important displays included the racing cars of 2012 event honoree Vic Elford, headlined by the 1970 Porsche 908/3 and 1971 Porsche 917K Martini, although the purity and originality of his 1967 911 nearly (though not quite – see below) stole the show for us. Elford took part in the Great Endurance Drivers’ Seminar alongside Sam Posey, Hurley Haywood, Brian Redman, Jim Hall, Gerard Larrousse and new Octane columnist Derek Bell.
Celebrity cars were very much in attendance too. These included Rita Hayworth’s Ghia-bodied Cadillac, a Duesenberg once owned by Ginger Rogers, and Natalie Wood’s Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster. Other displays included cars that have won races at Daytona and Sebring.
The Concours d’Elegance award went to the 1938 Bugatti Type 57, one of only three surviving Aravis Drophead Coupés bodied by Gangloff. The rare 1962 Ferrari 330LM, owned by Jim Jaeger of Ohio, took the Concours de Sport award.
However, Octane’s star of the show was the unrestored 1937 Horch 853A Cabriolet (top right), which had been bought in 1952 by a US serviceman in Germany and subsequently swapped for a Buick after he brought it back to the USA. The car was left in a garage until 2006, when the family of the then-deceased trader found a German automatic pistol with Nazi markings under the back seat. Now that’s what we call provenance.