We’re making a brief and hopefully, understandable departure from normal practice as the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance commences for its COVID-delayed, 26th consecutive running in northeastern corner of Florida this week. In addition to moving a couple of months later than its usual date, the bulk of concours-related activities have been moved outside its home at the Ritz-Carlton for distancing and open-air mitigation purposes, beginning with tomorrow night’s Porsche-sponsored wine dinner, which sold out a long time ago. Amelia Island has a long and rich alliance with the famed dealership Brumos Porsche, now known as Porsche Jacksonville Another sold-out happening that takes place Friday is the Porsche Driving Experience that begins at the Fernandina airport and includes a stopover at The Brumos Collection of historic automobiles down the road in Jacksonville. What’s not sold out is the book signings featuring concours founder Bill Warner, who will be signing copies of his motorsport photography journal The Other Side of the Fence on the show field outside the hotel, with sessions set for 2 to 2:30 p.m. on Friday and from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday. JDOW will be in the house.
Nathan Deremer’s official photos of last year’s dual Best in Show winners does a lot to explain why Amelia Island is, for many people, the best premium automotive gathering in the world. It’s unique in that it awards two Best in Show honors, not just one, with the second one going every year to an acclaimed competition car with proven historical provenance. Last year’s winner, on the left, is the Porsche 917/30 that ultimately annihilated the original Can-Am series in the hands of Mark Donohue and George Follmer. The Porsche is owned by Rob Kauffman of Charlotte, and next it is the 1929 Duesenberg J-218 Town Limousine owned by the Lehrman Collection of Palm Beach, Florida, which was the other top winner. The guest of honor at each concours is frequently a motorsport personality, the distinction goes this year to Lyn St. James, the second woman to race in the Indianapolis 500 and a Ford factory racer in IMSA whose accomplishments also include a class victory at the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring aboard, of all things, an American Motors Spirit. The Amelia is all about gorgeous cars, heart-stopping auctions, terrific high-end shopping and automotive history that permeates absolutely everything. No weekend plans? Take a ride and visit. This event raises a ton of money for charities around the First Coast of Florida.