Amelia Island events are equal parts friendship and competition
Monday, March 13, 2017
Porsche. The name is known in competition, but Amelia Island wanted it to be known more for friendship.
Amelia Island, Florida, held many big events last weekend, but we're focusing on two — the Werks Reunion on March 10 and the Concours d'Elegance on March 11. While the Concours is about finding the best of the best, the Werks Reunion brought people together primarily to build a story around a car based on something other than the cleanest Porsche on the block.
Together, the events help maintain the festive atmosphere at Amelia Island. As Concours founder and chairman Bill Warner said, "Someone actually called Amelia 'The Fun Concours.'"
The Werks Reunion on the East Coast is something new for the Porsche Club of America this year. Hopefully, it will be an annual tradition that continues. In the past, Werks Reunion has taken place in Carmel, California for the past three years, and will happen again Aug. 18. (The new location — still in close proximity to other Monterey Car Week events, will be announced in the spring.)
PCA membership isn't required for admission, and Porsche owners are invited to display their cars as well as compete if they choose. Here, a car can be judged spectacular if it has been maintained well throughout its lifetime and commands the attention of the field.
Spectators attend for free, and it is a great experience for Porsche enthusiasts of all ages. There were even attendants from as far as Texas at this year's event.
Chris Hoyt, a member of the PCA's Florida Crown Region and head judge of Werks Reunion Amelia, was looking forward to bringing the large gathering of Porsche lovers.
"The Florida Crown Region of the Porsche Club of America is used to participating in big events like the 24 Hours of Daytona and Amelia Week, but Werks Reunion Amelia is pure, 100 percent Porsche and is shaping up to be one of the largest Werks ever held with over 600 Porsches of all models registered," Hoyt told The Florida Times-Union. "The region is proud and excited to be responsible for a variety of tasks to make this national event a success, and the membership has come out in force to help. We're looking forward to making it an annual event."
When it comes to the Concours, all kinds of cars were on display at Amelia. It's not just about Porsches, though they were certainly on site. Did you know movie star cars also made an appearance? Rides like:
- James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 from "Goldfinger" (1964)
- Nart Spyder from Steve McQueen's "The Thomas Crown Affair" (1968)
- Steve McQueen's Porsche Gulf 917K from "Le Mans" (1971)
- The Corvette Stingray prototype showcased in Elvis Presley's "Clambake" (1967)
- The Woodill Wildfire from "Johnny Dark," starring Tony Curtis (1954)
- The 1958 Chevrolet Impala that appeared in "American Graffiti" (1973)
- The Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider from "Gumball Rally" (1976)
- The 1924 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Riviera Salamanca used in "Sabrina" (1954)
Warner, chairman and founder of the event, is a firm believer that great cars and special movies are an important part of American culture. This is a piece of what makes the Amelia Concours the people's event.
Another piece of history also landed on the Concours field. A world championship endurance car (straight from a small museum) showed up — John Campion's Lancia Beta Montecarlo.
"When we can present a car with World Championship provenance and pedigree," Warner said, "something that would rarely if ever be seen in public — a Le Mans winner still wearing its race number — we're honored to have it on the field."
Continuing with the rich history of people and cars, there was also a 1960 Sebring-winning Porsche RS60. According to Warner, this is one of the most important cars that launched Porsche's reputation as a "Giant Killer."
But, in embracing the friendship aspect of great car stories from the great people behind them, the Amelia event once again doesn’t limit itself to just Porsche. The "Duchess," a Cadillac limousine, also made an appearance at the Concours. After abdicating the throne, King Edward VIII found residence in New York with this snazzy piece of transportation.
The hand-crafted interior came complete with jewelry cases, cigar humidor and lighters, hydraulic windows and even a powered radio antenna. Of course, this royal ride wouldn't be complete without monogrammed back doors and a gold hood ornament. The unique elegance of this car was undoubtedly years before its time.
As if these models alone aren't spectacular enough for Amelia Island, the selection continues with the appearance of the rarest Corvette ever built. The 1957 Corvette Super Sport prototype emerged from the ashes after six decades to be a part of a special exhibit at Amelia. The car was first seen at the January 1957 New York Waldorf Astoria Auto Show and the Chicago Auto Show and hasn’t been seen since.
Now, having it show up at Amelia — this is the stuff every auto enthusiast dreams of.
Alongside the rarity of this Corvette, Elvis Presley's 507 roadster was also featured in the BMW 500 Concours d'Elegance class. The roadster got kissed so many times during a World War II tour in Germany that Presley finally painted over the white exterior with lipstick red.
Like this car and the others before it, they all have a story to tell. That's what the Amelia Island events have been trying to highlight. Yes, the competition judging and the racing is important, but underneath all of that, sometimes it is easy to forget the people behind the cars.
Amelia has done a great job uniting the history and appreciation for cars under the relationships of the people who own them.
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