Another Amazing Amelia (Island Concours d’Elegance)

Gang — it was once again my honor to serve as a judge at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Amelia Island, Florida, and to again contribute an article to official show program. This year’s motorsports honoree was the King of Le Mans, and gentleman and a half, and among the world’s greatest ever sports car and F1 racers. Pasted below is the event’s post show release describing the two fabulous “poster children” best of show winners and more about the show. It again was a spectacular weekend all in the name of important charities. And if you’ve never attended, put this one on your bucket list for sure. I’ll go as long as my friend Bill Warner will have me there, and as long as my old keester will get me there. Get here at least once in your lifetime. Thanks for listening…MS. Photos courtesy Amelia Island Concours.  Please double click on any photo to see it full screen.

Jacksonville, FL – The 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn-Kurier and 1957 Ferrari 335 S were crowned this year’s Best in Show on March 10, 2019 at the 24th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The event once again brought together the best of the automotive world, including 2019 honoree, “Mr. Le Mans” Jacky Ickx. The legendary Ickx is a six-time Le Mans winner, 1979 Can-Am Champion, a Formula 1 victor and a Daytona, Sebring and Paris-Dakar winner.

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn-Kurier. 2019 Best in Show, Concours d’Elegance
The Best in Show Concours d’Elegance Trophy was given to a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn-Kurier owned by The Keller Collection at the Pyramids.

A brief history of the 2019 Best in Show, Concours d’Elegance winner:

“In March of 1934, a new Mercedes debuted at the Berlin Car Show: “Autobahnen Kurierwagen 8-Zylinder Kompressor Typ 500.” Only one model existed and the brochures informed the public that this car was designed for incredibly high-speeds on the autobahns going as far to claim that the high winds at those speeds gave the car its defining shape. Mercedes built the new model on the existing W29 chassis. Mercedes clientele at the time were conservative buying only 761 W29 cars between February 1934 and November 1939. Of those, 342 were equipped with a 5-liter engine and 419 with a 5.4 liter engine as in this car. Both were equipped with a Kompressor. The remaining 70 chassis were sent to outside firms that would construct specials to client wishes.”

1957 Ferrari 335 S. Best in Show, Concours de Sport
A 1957 Ferrari 355 S owned by Cavallino Investments took home the Best in Show Concours de Sport Trophy.

A brief history of the 2019 Best in Show, Concours de Sport:

“The 335 S was the most technologically advanced Ferrari in 1957. It featured a longitudinal 60-degree V-12 with 24 plugs, two valves per cylinder, twin overhead camshafts per cylinder bank and it produced 360 horsepower.

The Scuderia Ferrari Factory team car started life as a 290 MM, was then upgraded to a 315 S and finally a 335 S. The car has a tremendous racing history spanning three seasons. The car participated in the major races such as Sebring, LeMans, the Mille Miglia, and 1,000 km events at the Nürburgring and in Caracas.

The car was piloted by some of the great drivers of its day including Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill, Olivier Gendebien, Alfonzo De Portago, W. Graf Berghe von Trips, Peter Collins, Maurice Trintignant, Mike Hawthorn, Luigi Musso, Stirling Moss and Gaston Andrey. This was in the period 1956 and 1957 when Ferrari won the World Sportscar Championship.”

“The 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn-Kurier and 1957 Ferrari 335 S both truly embody the sophistication of our awards,” said Bill Warner, Chairman and Founder of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “I was thrilled to watch the judges honor such esteemed automobiles and continue to recognize the best and most extraordinary vehicles in existence, right here in Northeast Florida.”

2019 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Best in Show winners
It is in The Amelia’s innovative nature to present new classes and the 2019 event did not disappoint. This year’s Concours included “Cars of the Rock Stars,” a class specially curated by John Oates of Hall & Oates. Pairing specific vehicles with guitars, the class consisted of Oates’ personal collection and featured additional vehicles owned or closely associated with well-known musicians. In addition, John Oates sang a moving rendition of The National Anthem.

The new and exciting classes didn’t stop there – a dignified fleet of limosines occupied the lawn in a class titled “Heads of State.” This fleet was made up of cars of Kings and Queens, Presidents, Popes and even a Dictator.

The Amelia joined forces with to present the first-ever live stream of the event. The live online video content allowed viewers from all over the world to watch the Amelia unfold in real time.

Additional highlights included a distinct class of Ferrari 250 GT “SWB”, Jaguar XK 120, a celebration of Indy Innovations and a Custom Coachwork Volkswagen class to acknowledge the 70th anniversary of the VW Bug’s arrival in America.
“I am proud to say that this year’s Concours had some of the most innovative classes and interesting vehicles to date,” Warner said. “Our celebration of the automobile finds a way to evolve year after year, and we remain delighted to continue showcasing such rich automotive history through our event.”