WORDS: ELLIOTT HUGHES | PHOTOGRAPHY: hagerty
2022 heralded the beginning of a new era for Florida’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, as the event entered its 27th year. Officially rebranded ‘The Amelia’ following its acquisition by Hagerty, it treated car enthusiasts to a sunny four-day celebration that included displays, seminars, activities, high-profile auctions and the all-important concours competition.
Proceedings began on Friday, March 3 with the first of three major auction events by Bonhams, with RM Sotheby’s as well as Gooding & Company holding their own sales on March 5. According to Hagerty, the auction houses’ combined sales equated to $125m (£95m). The final figure is short of the forecasted $150m (£114m), but a strong result nonetheless.
As predicted, a superb 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS Teardrop Coupé attracted the highest bid of the weekend for Gooding, at $13,425,000 (£10,217,431), surpassing its $10,000,000 (£7,610,750) estimate to become the most expensive sale of 2022 so far. Bonhams’ 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder ($4,185,000/£3,185,098) and RM Sotheby’s 1934 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Convertible Victoria ($4,130,000/£3,143,239) rounded out the top three.
Attention was also on the streets of downtown Fernandina Beach on March 3, as the public concours got underway. The display allowed attendees to intimately admire the cars as they stopped at Centre Street for the conclusion of the Eight Flags Road Tour. At its peak, the display saw 55 world-class collector cars assembled along the street while it was partly closed to public traffic from 10am to 2pm.
The Porsche Werks Reunion was the other major Amelia event of the day. Staged at the Amelia River Golf Club, over 700 Porsches took part, with everything represented from Stuttgart’s rarest vintage models to current cutting-edge machines. The cars were complemented by vehicle presentations, a concours contest, vendors and special guests.
A quartet of events under Hagerty’s new Cars & Community banner got underway at the Gold Club of Amelia adjacent to the Ritz-Carlton on Saturday, March 5. Cars & Caffeine (formerly known as Cars & Coffee) was joined by the jovial Concours d’Lemons, the 1980s and ‘90s-themed RADwood display and a new Kids’ Zone.
An eclectic collection of over 300 cars graced the same grass as Sunday’s concours cars for Cars & Caffeine, while RADwood delighted those with a penchant for modern classics with 75 of the most iconic cars and motorcycles of the era.
The Concours d’Lemons evoked plenty of laughter by celebrating typically maligned models and automotive trends, and children enjoyed racing slot-cars and simulators in the Kids’ Zone. A portion of each $20 Cars & Community ticket was donated to local charities.
Sunday March 6 signalled that The Amelia’s main event had begun. American motor sport legend Chip Ganassi was this year’s illustrious honouree of The Amelia Concours, which saw over 225 of the world’s finest vehicles vying to be crowned as Best in Show. This was a deliberately lower number than in previous years, designed to concentrate on quality.
In accordance with Amelia Island tradition, a collection of vehicles associated with the honouree were displayed in tribute. Eight Chip Ganassi Racing cars were gathered for this purpose, including the 2010 Indy 500-winning Dallara and the Chevrolet Impala that won the 2010 Daytona 500.
After much deliberation from The Amelia judges, Harry Yeagy’s stunning 1934 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe emerged with Best in Show Concours d’Elegance honours on Sunday afternoon. To those in the know, it was a popular choice, a clear concours winner.
The 420ci eight-cylinder automobile was one of the last Duesenbergs produced. It was originally owned by businesswoman Marjorie Merriweather Post, who used the vehicle as her Long Island summer house car until 1962. It has since been restored to original specifications.
Perhaps more controversially (especially when it had to be towed onto the show field), Best in Show Concours de Sport was awarded to the 2017 Cadillac DPi-V.R race car displayed by the Jackson Collection of Ellicott City, Maryland. The Cadillac was purpose built to compete in the IMSA SportsCar Championship, and was fielded by Wayne Taylor Racing.
The Cadillac boasts enviable racing provenance as the overall winner of the 2018 Petit Le Mans with Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and Ryan Hunter Reay. It also claimed victory at the 2019 Daytona 24 Hours with Formula 1 legend Fernando Alonso, Kamui Kobayashi, van der Zande and Taylor.
Motor sport was celebrated in a wider sense by showcasing racing cars for the respective 60th and 70th anniversaries of the respective Daytona and Sebring 24 Hours events, alongside the Race Cars Pre-War, NASCAR, Gurney Eagle and Waterhouse Coachworks concours classes.
The Waterhouse Coachworks class delighted discerning enthusiasts of vintage motor sport, putting the spotlight on the small custom coachbuilder from Webster, Massachusetts. A rare aluminium-bodied 1949 Porsche 356/2 restored by Rod Emory took the Waterhouse Coachworks win. The car won its class at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1951 and was one of the first three Porsches to ever contest the prestigious race – starting a long legacy of Porsche success at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Sports and GT Cars 1958-1972 was fiercely contested by 22 entries, making it The Amelia’s largest class. The win went to a 1965 Aston Martin DB5, one of the last examples produced before the model was superseded by the DB6.
A rare 1953 Delahaye 178 with Henri Chapron of Paris coachwork bolstered the Sports and GT Cars 1958-1972 class. It is fitted with an innovative four-speed electromechanical transmission that allows the driver to perform clutchless gearchanges, and was displayed by the Petersen Automotive Museum.
Bruce Meyer, Petersen Automotive Museum co-founder and hot rod enthusiast, provided another event highlight with the entry of his 1932 Ford Doane Spencer Roadster. Meyer’s car formed part of the 90th Anniversary of the 1932 Ford class, which honoured the car responsible for nurturing North America’s vibrant hot rod movement.
“Congratulations to this year’s Best in Show winners and to all of the collectors who shared their cars at The Amelia,” said Hagerty CEO McKeel Hagerty. “These incredible cars and their owners make The Amelia what it is; one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the automotive calendar every year.”
Hagerty has confirmed that the next edition of The Amelia will be held on March 2-5, 2023.