Amelia Island 2019 The Sun Also Rises on Sunday


Written by Bruce Sweetman

Photos by Bruce Sweetman

As the rising sun filters through the live oaks bordering the Golf Club of Amelia Island, antique, vintage, classic, and racing cars move onto the fairways. Moving under their own power each is directed to its appointed place on the manicured grass. On any other day they would be chased off the golf course by groundskeepers and yet this time of year more than 300 entries fill the fairways and thousands of enthusiasts show up for the celebration. The weather gods smiled on the First Coast this year and unlike the past two, when threatening weather forced a move to Saturday, this was blessedly—Concours Sunday.

Morning dew coats the Porsche 956s and 962s. Upper middle: A lone 1964 Porsche 904 sits near a Ferrari Dino Spyder with remarkably similar lines. Lower middle: Collier Collection’s 1951 Typ 356SL Gmünd Coupe finished third overall in the grueling Liège-Rome-Liège Rallye; Bottom: 1954 Volkswagen Dannehauer & Strauss Coupe enters show field

Top: 1953 Volkswagen Rometsch Taxi looking positively limousine-like; Bottom: 1953 Volkswagen Dannehauer & Strauss Cabriolet.

All the carefully planned events came off on schedule in the preceding days. Friday began with the Reliable Carriers Eight Flags Road Tour open to all Concours entries. Two custom-bodied 1953 Volkswagens—a Dannehaurer & Strauss Cabriolet and a Rometsch Taxi lined up in front of the Ritz Carlton along with more than 30 cars as diverse as a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta and a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz—before heading out for a spirited island tour.

Top: 1960 Ferrari 2509 GT Short Wheelbase Berlinetta heading for the Tour; Middle: 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible.Below: Typ 964 RS at Werks Reunion; Bottom: 1988 Typ 924S Peter Gregg Tribute.

At the same time, Porsche cognoscenti converged at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort a few miles down the road for the third annual Amelia Island Werks Reunion. Werks apparently makes for a great road trip destination with more than 700 Porsches showing up including 150 in the judged class.

Upper: A 1952 Typ 356; Lower: One of racer Leh Keen’s “Safari” cars.

Directly across the street from Werks, Gooding & Company began auctioning cars at 11:00 a.m. with a number of significant Porsches on the block. Read a report on the Amelia Island auction activity in RS Insights. The Sky Isn’t Falling (What We Learned From the Amelia Island Auction) And you’ll find sales results in this issue of RS Magazine.

A short shuttle-ride got you back to the Ritz Carlton for Friday afternoon activities including RM Sotheby’s preview and auction. Nascar Hall of Famer Ray Evernham hosted a seminar entitled, The Unfair Advantage, featuring racing celebrities whom he introduced as, “five possible rules stretchers and one sheriff.”

Upper: Who needs air-conditioning when most all of these 21 windows and a vast sun roof can open. Lower: Jim Johnston hesitates before parking his 1959 356A Coupe, just long enough to show a contrast with a 2018 Typ 991 Targa behind it.

The variety, quality, and quantity of vehicles displayed at Saturday morning’s Cars & Coffee rivals some Concours events and it’s always a highlight for local owners and road-trippers.

An impressive line up included, from left: Brian Redman, Hurley Haywood, panel moderator Justin Bell, Jacky Ickx, historian Mark Raffauf (grey shift), Derek Bell, Rob Dyson, Alwin Springer, and Jochen Mass.

Later in the morning, Porsche enthusiasts flocked to Saturday’s seminar, The 962 Dynasty. Host Justin Bell prompted lively exchanges among a panel of legendary 962 pilots, technicians and team owners including event honoree Jacky Ickx.

Show-day Sunday finally arrives with the first entrants hunting for their spots in the darkness of daylight-savings-time. Ten Porsche 962s line up including 962-001, 962-002, and 962-104 in dual livery.

Top: Morning light and morning dew give a soft satin sheen to Porsche’s exceptional racing history. Above: The February 1985 Daytona 24-Hours winner (chassis 962-104) attracts early morning attention as it maneuvers for a parking spot. The same car (with fewer drivers) then won the Sebring 12 Hours in March. Below: 1955 Typ 356 Continental Coupe won Porsche Trophy for most historically significant production Porsche at Amelia Island. Bottom: A 910 begins the judging process.

Porsches competing in various classes across the field include a 1955 356 Continental Coupe, a 1960 Porsche 356 Emory Special, a Type 904 Carrera GTS, a 910, and the recently refurbished 1951 Gmünd Coupe which set speed and endurance records at Montlhéry, near Paris, France in 1951.

Detail views of the 1951 Porsche Typ 356SL Gmünd Coupe, part of the Miles Collier Collections. This is a true long-distance runner, finishing third overall in the 5,000+ kilometer Liège-Rome-Liège Rally in mid August and then setting International Speed Records for 500 miles, 1,000 kilometers, and 1,000 miles in late September 1951; they covered the 1,000 kilometers at 101.23 miles per hour. Below: Jacky Ickx makes his entrance in his 1981 Le Mans-winning Typ 936/81.

Mid-morning, event honoree Jacky Ickx took a short drive across the show field at the wheel of his 1981 Le Mans-winning Porsche 936/81, slotting into a display of his former race cars. As a race photographer event founder and Chairman Bill Warner witnessed Ickx’s uncanny car control and captured many iconic photos of the Belgian. Now Warner greeted Ickx—the event’s Official Honoree. “He never appeared to be going that fast,” notes Warner, “unless you had a stopwatch.”

The day proceeds with the invocation and National Anthem and a Vintage Fashion Show follows. A team of 120 esteemed Judges had been busy; the Awards Presentation begins shortly after noon and continues all afternoon.

Middle: 1959 Lancia Appia GTE. Bottom: 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Concept/racecar.

The crowd thins a bit as the day wears on and there is time to revisit personal favorites like the ‘most bitchin’ 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, ‘most elegant’ 1959 Lancia Appia GTE, and ‘coolest’ 1959 Corvette Stingray racer concept.

The big awards finally come, Best in Show Concours d’Elegance: 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn-Kurier, and Best in Show Concours de Sport: 1957 Ferrari 335 S.

A pair of Porsches remains on the field preening in the late afternoon sun. The Wynn’s 962-HR3 and Rothmans 962-002 get my personal award for ‘most photogenic’.

The show is over until next year and, as Bill Warner put it, “On to our Silver Anniversary—25 years of great cars, great people, and wonderful times.”

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