By Pat Brosseau
Now in its 27th year, The Amelia (formerly known as the Amelia Concours d’Elegance) is a multiple award-winning motoring event held on March 6th at The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Luxury shopping, auctions, new vehicle reveals & experiential drives, exclusive gatherings and entertaining seminars surround Saturday’s Cars & Community and Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance. Each year The Amelia honors a racing legend and attracts celebrities from across the automotive landscape. The Amelia Concours d’Elegance has donated more than $4 million to deserving charities. Marking the inaugural year under Hagerty’s stewardship, this year’s event highlighted innovative activations that complemented the event’s long tradition of showcasing the world’s finest vehicles. Central to the weekend’s festivities was the celebration of The Amelia’s 2022 honoree: accomplished driver and championship race team owner, Chip Ganassi.
Truly, The Amelia is astonishing. Often referred to as “Pebble Beach of the East”, The Amelia consistently displays the best of historical motoring, classic designs and iconic marques coupled with a focus on racecar driving. On Saturday, Cars and Community and the Concours d’Lemons brought out significant crowds for a fun gathering that honored the best (and not so best) vehicles across several eras.
But Sunday – yes, the Concours d’Elegance was significant. Apart from the glorious weather and outstanding venue, the vehicles on display were breathtaking. There were several standout classes that were highly competitive. One such was the Sports and GT Cars Pre-War Class.
There were three Pre-War Jaguars competing in this class and the competition was fierce. By way of background, Jaguar introduced its first six-cylinder model, the SS100 (referring to its top speed) at the London Motor Show in 1935 while also using the Jaguar name for the first time. The two-seat sports car was produced from 1936-1940; approximately 337 were made.
The SS100 at Amelia was Wayne Carini’s, from Chasing Classic Car fame. Originally purchased by host of The Today Show, Dave Garroway in 1948, Garroway raced the car at Watkins Glen, Road America, Bridgehampton and Lime Rock, among others. Garroway wanted more performance, so he fitted a new Jaguar XK engine in 1951 in Stanley Arnoldt’s shop in Chicago. He installed an alligator interior in 1953, retaining the car until 1978. While chatting with Wayne Carini at the Bonham’s Auction on Thursday, Wayne mentioned that he retrofitted a new alligator interior, mimicking the original in addition to restoring the original Garroway car.
The second Jaguar, a stunning SS1 Tourer in British Racing Green, made it’s debut at Amelia this year. Owned by Chris and Caryn Lapinski, this particular car was sold by Henleys in London, later moving to Australia in the late-1930’s and spending the next 75 years there. In 1959, it was purchased by renowned Australian jazz artist Smacka Fitzgibbon. It came to the United States in 2020 where it was eventually purchased by Chris and Caryn. The SS1 Tourer was an Amelia Class winner. Congratulations Chris and Caryn.
The trifecta of Jaguars in this class included the magnificent SS1 Airline, owned by Jim and Lisa Hendrix. Its covered spare wheels and streamlined form reflected the art deco style of the day, and it was produced from 1934 to 1936, during which time only 624 were made. Last seen on the Concours show field at Pebble Beach last August, this car is a numbers-matching example of one of the rare, remaining Airlines manufactured. Painstakingly restored to original in every detail, it is finished in “all silver” with a “special light blue” interior celebrating, as new, the 25th Silver Jubilee of King George V of England. Congratulations to Jim and Lisa for winning Best in Class for their beautiful Airline.
Continuing with The Amelia’s tradition of celebrating Motorsport, racecars from the 60th Anniversary of the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 70th Anniversary of Sebring were joined on the field by some of the finest examples in the Race Cars Pre-War, NASCAR and Gurney Eagle show groups. Other featured (and amazing) classes included selections from Waterhouse Coachworks highlighting the small Custom Coach Builder from Webster, Massachusetts whose run was cut short after only five years thanks to the Great Depression, and the Rare Aluminum Porsche Race Car genre highlighting the earliest competition efforts from the then young sports car manufacturer and included a 1951 Le Mans class winner.
There can only be two Best of Show Winners at Amelia. This year, the Concours d’Elegance honors went to the spectacular 1934 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe displayed by Harry Yeaggy of Cincinnati, Ohio. A 2017 Cadillac DPi-V.R was named winner of Concours de Sport. The Konica Minolta car won the 24 Hours of Daytona under Wayne Taylor Racing’s stewardship and was the car that marked Cadillac’s rather successful return to prototype racing.
“Congratulations to this year’s Best in Show winners and to all of the collectors who shared their cars at The Amelia,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. “These incredible cars and their owners make The Amelia what it is: one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the automotive calendar every year. This was Hagerty’s first time operating the show, and we are enormously grateful for the hard work and support of our amazing sponsors, our volunteers who come back year after year, the entire car community and, of course, Bill Warner, our Chairman Emeritus.”