2016 Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance: Best in Class – Porsche – Rare 356 Open (Photographs by Guy Smith, Jeff Zwart, and Cam Ingram)
The 21st annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is now history, setting a number of new records even as founder and chairman Bill Warner abbreviated the awards presentations on Sunday afternoon in anticipation of rain.
Days before this, however, Porsche Cars North America helped kick off the weekend with its Porsche Wine Maker’s Dinner on Thursday evening. This year’s event honored “The Guardians of Porsche,” those individuals who, through their vocations or avocations preserve, protect, and promote the marque. As the meal portion of the evening concluded, Bill Warner and photographer / racecar driver / filmmaker Jeff Zwart took the stage to talk about Zwart’s career and work, and they showed a number of video clips of some of his most exciting efforts on Porsche’s behalf.
This year, the Sunday concours drew 317 entries competing in 42 categories for Best of Class and Amelia Island awards as well as another 47 corporate or sponsored trophies. For Porsche enthusiasts there was plenty on hand to see, highlighted by two specific marque classes, Rare 356 Closed and Rare 356 Open cars. What constituted rare? These were cars limited in production, significant to Porsche’s history, or with unique – or near-unique – bodywork.
This brought about the near-unique sight of two 1949 Gmünd coupes on the field, one from Jeff and Terri Zwart, and the other from the Ingram Collection, as part of the 10-car Closed class. There also was a Beutler-bodied coupe, a 1955 Pre-A Continental Coupe, a 1959 Carrera GS, another 1959 Carrera GT, and a 1964 Carrera 2.
In the Rare Open category, seven cars competed for honors, including two 1954 Typ 540 America Roadsters, the Ingram Collection 1953 Bent-Window cabriolet, a 1955 Continental cabriolet, and the Revs Institute’s 1958 Carrera GT Speedster.
When the judges tallied their scores, the Ingram Collection Bent-Window Cabriolet won its Rare Open class top honor. Road Scholars had restored this car and we showed it and the Gmünd coupe on the field. We handled all the logistics of getting these cars in place and prepared for judging as well as positioning the Ingram Collection 1959 356A Carrera GT on Porsche Cars North America show stand.
In a final celebration of Porsche rarities, Road Scholars wrapped up the show with an impromptu photo shoot directed by Porsche guardian Jeff Zwart, with his Gmünd Coupe, #050, and the Ingram Collection car, #017. The two special cars and their two great owners made “the moment” into a lasting memory.