With over 300 rare and historically significant collector vehicles on display, many for the very first time, the 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is a car show with very few equals. This year the award-winning event honors multi-time Sebring and Le Mans winner Hans-Joachim Stuck, reuniting the legendary driver with a double-digit collection of the vehicles that he once raced and won in. The show will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of BMW and celebrate Pegaso, with a record-breaking gathering of the Spanish automaker’s innovative sports cars.
This year’s concours will also celebrate the iconic Porsche 356 and the brand responsible for the first American front-wheel drive car available to the public, Cord. Movies fans will get a kick out of seeing the 1949 Buick Roadmaster that Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise drove across the country in the 1988 film, “Rain Man.” Music buffs won’t want to miss Janis Joplin’s 1968 Porsche 356 SC, which is truly a rolling piece of artwork.
The ultra-rare and devastatingly beautiful historic collector vehicles may get all the headlines, but there is quite a bit more that deserves mention when considering this weekend’s 21st annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Amelia Island, Florida’s Best Kept Secret
The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is set at one of the most beautiful locations – and best kept secrets – in the United States. Historic Amelia Island is the southernmost member of the Sea Islands, which is a chain of barrier islands that run along the east coast starting in South Carolina. Amelia’s 13 miles of uncrowded beaches frame the island, while Fernandina Beach’s near picture-perfect downtown offers excellent dining, shopping and relaxed family-friendly strolling that is equally compelling for honeymooning couples.
Cars & Coffee at the Concours and MotorXpo
While the Sunday show is certainly Amelia’s crown jewel, Cars & Coffee at the Concours on Saturday, March 12, is a crowd-pleaser and in many ways extravagant gift to the community. The 2016 show will feature over 400 classic and exotic cars assembled from local car clubs and individuals across the United States. The cars are gathered on the same field that Sunday’s vehicles will take and while they are certainly show-worthy, they are proudly showcased without needing the prerequisite victory at Daytona or Le Mans, absolute originality, or having every nut and bolt polished to perfection. I usually refer to the Cars & Coffee event as “the concours for everyone” and when you consider that admission is free, it is difficult to argue the point.
This year, The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is adding a new MotorXpo area that is free all weekend and will feature a special display of show vehicles.
Unprecedented Access to Celebrity Judges
Turns out the cars are not the only stars at the Amelia Island Concours. Fans of Velocity Channel will want to keep an eye out for the ever-affable host of “Car Crazy,” Barry Maguiar, as well as Ray Everham host of “Americarna,” Dale Walksler of “What’s in the Barn?” and Keith Martin of “What’s My Car Worth?” Racing fans will want to scan the field to catch a glimpse or shake hands with legends like Derek Bell, Vic Elford, Hurley Haywood, Sam Posey, David Hobbs, Jochen Mass, Brian Redman, Al Unser Jr. and so many more.
Ever want to say hello to some of the folks who designed more than a few of the vehicles that we love? The Amelia Island Concours might give you the chance to run across famed race-car builder, author, photographer and designer of the Cobra Daytona Coupe, Peter Brock. Also on hand judging vehicles will be Ed Welburn, General Motors global design vice president and Ralph Gilles, head of design at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Ed Welburn will also be driving the Buick Avista concept to Cars & Coffee at the Concours for a meet and greet.
Your Chance to Test Drive an Exotic Car
Taking in the sights and sounds of the show cars is incredible, but did you know that the Amelia Concours d’Elegance also provides the chance to get behind the wheel of some of the most prestigious new cars on the road today? Arrive on Friday or Saturday and you’ll be able to sign up for a test drive, often with a professional driver coaching from the passenger seat.
Manufacturers offering test drives include Infiniti, Jaguar, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, McLaren and Lamborghini. The rules, stipulations and availability vary a little for each manufacturer, but if you’ve always dreamt of being in the driver’s seat of any of these glorious cars, The Amelia Concours d’Elegance just might be the place to see that dream come true.
The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation
It isn’t news that the Amelia Island Concours is a world-renowned car show and recipient of the International Historic Motoring Awards prestigious 2013 Motoring Event of the Year Award. However, you may not realize that the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation is a charitable foundation that donates over $250,000 a year to local charities.
With over 700 volunteers involved every year, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is more than a car show; it is a family of givers working together for a better community and world.