Posted Mar 15th 2012 8:29AM
The Amelia Island Concours may not be as old or have quite the prestige of Pebble Beach, but it still marks an important place on the automotive calendar every spring. For 2012, an incredible selection of cars gathered in the northeast end of Florida for the 17th annual show, with the event celebrating 50 years of the Shelby Cobra, the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO, custom coachwork Cadillacs, experimental Corvettes as well as cars that won the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring.
As with Pebble Beach, the Amelia Island Concours gives out awards to the most outstanding vehicles, but unlike the West Coast show there are two main trophies up for grabs instead of just one. This year a 1938 Bugatti Type 57, one of just three like it in the world, was awarded the Concours d'Elegance award, while a 1962 Ferrari 330 LM, essentially a 4.0-liter version of the 250 GTO, claimed the Concours de Sport award.
You can read more about this year's Amelia Island Concours and the two best of show winners in the press release below.
The coveted Concours d'Elegance award went to the stunning 1938 Bugatti Type 57, owned by the Off Brothers Collection from Richland, Mich. One of only three surviving Aravis Drophead Coupes bodied by Gangloff, this green Type 57 arrived in the U.S. in 1961 and was fully restored in 2009. Bugatti produced the Type 57 between 1934 and 1939, ceasing production of the world's fastest stock production car shortly after the beginning of WWII.
The rare 1962 Ferrari 330 LM, or "3765" GTO, owned by Jim Jaeger from Indian Hill, Ohio took home the Concours de Sport award. The 330 GTOs were Ferrari's in-house hot rods: prototype Grand Touring cars with four-liter V-12 engines instead of the GTO's traditional 3-liter V-12. Just two were built – a cross between a pure prototype and a road-going Grand Touring car. Assigned to Ferrari Engineer and racer Mike Parkes and factory F1 and sports car ace Lorenzo Bandini, Jim Jaeger's 4-liter GTO appears as it did on June 23, 1962 when gridded seventh at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The very best in classic car pageantry displays also included the 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe that helped unseat Ferrari as World GT Champion and the sleek 1929 Duesenberg J-108 Convertible Coupe that played a role in the classic move The Gay Divorcee. Several other star cars were seen, including Rita Hayworth's Ghia-bodied Cadillac, a Duesenberg once owned by Ginger Rogers, Natalie Wood's Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster and Tom Mix's custom Cord 812 roadster.
"Every year I'm amazed at the extraordinary vehicles I see grace the field, and this year was no different," said Dick Messer, former Director of The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. "Both winners are perfect examples of style and sport and are very deserving of their awards. I congratulate the judges on their stunning choices."
Cars that graced the covers of Road & Track were on display, as were a selection of cars that won the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
This year's Concours also celebrated the momentous 50th Anniversary of the Ferrari GTO, which was marked by a gathering of twelve impressive vehicles on the show field.
Rally and road racing champion "Quick" Vic Elford served as the 2012 honoree, greeting attendees throughout the weekend. He also took part in the Great Endurance Drivers Seminar alongside other legendary drivers such as Sam Posey, Hurley Haywood, Brian Redman, Jim Hall, Gerard Larrousse, Joe Buzzetta, David Hobbs, Vic Elford, and Derek Bell.
Ferrari and Cobra fans were also treated to the unprecedented Cobra vs. Ferrari: the Battle for the World Championship for Sports Cars seminar on Friday, where Ferrari racing engineer Mauro Forghieri, Shelby Cobra Championship driver, Bob Bondurant, and Cobra Daytona Coupe designer Peter Brock, discussed one of motorsports' most bitter rivalries.
Some of the world's most prominent corporate, public and private collections had displays at the event, including Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. BMW also held the North American Debut of its new 6 Series Gran Coupe four-door coupe during the weekend.
Plans for the 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance are already underway and the event is scheduled to be held on March 8-10, 2013 10th and the 18th Fairways of the Golf Club Amelia Island at Summer Beach adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.