1952 Pegaso Z-102 Cupola and 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Take Amelia Island Best in Show

Best in Show

The 21st annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is all wrapped up.

I’ve been here for 19 of the events to date, and each has been memorable.

In many ways, the Amelia Island weekend is a spring break camp for gearheads. It’s as if each year our parents bundle us off and send us to a familiar place. They know the bunkhouse where we’ll be staying (The Ritz), the various playgrounds (the lobby bar, the RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Company, Bonhams, Hollywood Wheels and Motostalgia auctions) and where we’ll go for fun (Cars & Coffee at Amelia, the Festivals of Speed lifestyle event and the big concours on Sunday).

We get together with our friends from all over the collector car universe and discuss important issues, such as “Now that Daytonas are cheaper, should we buy a few?”

Bill Warner, the founder and chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, has created an East Coast collector car mecca, and The Ritz-Carlton hotel is the weekend’s central hub.

The SCM team, consisting of Advertising and Events Manager Erin Olson, Senior Associate Editor Chad Tyson, Executive Editor Chester Allen and Advertising Account Executive Darren Frank, manned our booths at the concours and at the Gooding & Company auction, and they reported that business was brisk. Longtime SCM Auction Analyst and automobilia expert Carl Bomstead was a judge on Sunday.

I spoke briefly with comedian (and SCM Contributor) Jerry Seinfeld at Gooding. He said that he hoped my feelings weren’t hurt — referring no doubt to his comment that I’ve “Botoxed” my beloved 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce. I responded, “They’re just cars, and a difference of opinion is always welcome in SCM.” Even if one of us was completely wrong…

Preliminary results show that over $125m in cars changed hands at the Amelia Island auctions — an increase of 24%, reflecting the influence of the $22.2m Seinfeld Collection and $17.2m Cal Spyder at Gooding. I would characterize prices in general as predictable rather than remarkable. There certainly wasn’t a collapse — I didn’t see any classic car owners offering to sell cars for food on the street corners.

Once again I enjoyed serving as a concours judge. Heading my team were William Jeanes, a former Car and Driver publisher, and Bill Young, a founding member of the Amelia concours.

Our assigned class was Sports and GT Cars, 1967–1972, which included: a completely original 1967 Porsche 911S owned by Susan and Henry Wilkinson, a nicely preserved 1968 Ford GT40 Mk III owned by Gary and Kathy Bartlett, the 1969 DeTomaso Mangusta Bordinat prototype from the Jeff Cobb Collection, an 11,500-mile 1972 Ferrari 246 GT Dino from the Schigiel Collection, a preserved 1967 Toyota 2000GT owned by Peter and Gina Starr, and a fantastically restored 1972 Maserati 4.9 SS Ghibli Spyder owned by Mr. and Mrs. David Spratlen and family, and restored and represented by longtime SCM supporter Jack Farland of Farland Classic Restoration in Denver.

Between class and corporate awards, the Porsche, Maserati and GT40 were all honored.

What’s My Car Worth?” producer Roger Williams earned a Best in Class ribbon for his 1956 Austin-Healey 100M. He purchased the car from Reid Trummel, who lives in Portland and operates Commonwealth Classics, the shop where Bradley’s Bugeye is being refurbished. The Healey was stunning with its two-tone red-and-black paint.

The Amelia concours has two Best in Show awards. This year, Best in Show Concours d’Elegance was awarded to a 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II town car with coachwork by Brewster, owned by Jack and Helen Nethercutt. Best in Show Concours de Sport went to the 1952 Pegaso Z-102 Cupola from the Louwman Museum in the Netherlands.

The event schedule was slightly compressed this year, with Best in Show being awarded around 3 p.m. due to an approaching rainstorm. Personally, I found the picked-up pace made for a more enjoyable afternoon, and I hope the organizers consider keeping this schedule in future years.

It was another great weekend at Amelia Spring Break Gearhead Camp, and I look forward to returning next year.

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

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  1. My wife & I have attended Amelia Island for the last several years, this year was our first with our 7mo old daughter. We both agreed that the “faster” format of presenting only class / corp award winners was much more enjoyable. While it’s nice to see the other cars and honor 2nd and 3rd place, it makes for a program that’s really too long. Hopefully the organizers will consider this format for the future even if rain isn’t in the forecast.

  2. The Pegaso was described over the loudspeaker as having been owned by the “President” of the Dominican Republic. I had to kind of laugh at that one. His nickname was “El Jefe”. Some say as many as 50,000 people died as the result of his rule. I was glad to see the car in person, but a lot of these great cars were owned by some pretty controversial characters–the Shah, Peron, etc. We should probably always refer to Trujillo as a dictator, for historical accuracy.
    I agree that the shortened awards program was a great idea.