Now the Amelia Island show has been going less than our Best of France and Italy show, it has grown in prestige that an invite is rarely turned down. The brain child of Bill Warner, the show combines all the glamour of Pebble with a little irrelevance of the Mark's Brothers. This year was no exception with the unveiling of a crazy cartoon car of Stan Mott's Pignatelli and much to my surprised, a functioning Cyclopes II graced the grass. Like Pebble Beach Concours has spawned many other events during the previous week, Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is likewise having the same affect. Concorso Atlantico is a new venue on Saturday much in the tradition of Concorso Italiano plus both RM and Goodings have Auctions during the week. The following pictures are just a small sample of the rare and beautiful cars that graced the grass.
RM Auction at Amelia Island--by Chuck Forward
Amelia Island is a bit of tropical paradise and the Ritz Carlton Hotel offers the perfect setting for the Concours and the RM Auction. This is fast becoming one of the premier shows in the US and a highlight of the RM calendar of over the top auctions.
All the weekend's events center around the Hotel and golf course and RM had their cars on display Friday and Saturday on the grass leading to the Beach. Unlike Monterey where one has to pay to inspect the cars, these were open to public for general viewing. The selection of cars for sale was as good as any regular concours with a wide variety from Brass era to modern. Of particular interest was absolute stunning short wheel base L29 Cord coupe with very un-twenties swoopy coachwork.
This car received the highest bid of the auction at $2.4M.
Second was a 1934 Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria at $2.2M.
One of the most beautiful cars was the 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Special by Pininfarina which brought $1.4M. One of the other stars of the show was the 1937 Squire 1.5 liter Drophead Coupe which sold for 990K.
RM once again was able to gather a collection of exceptional cars to run over the block. The variety was very impressive. Ferraris, Mercedes, Bugatti, Darrin, etc.
Several highly unusual cars like this 1928 Avions-Voisin KE Sport and the 1911 Hispano-Suiza "King Alfonso XIII" Double Berline which looked a bit like a wooden stage coach were great crowd pleasers.
We were surprised at a number of California cars on display including a DKW wagon fresh from a home town restoration. We saw this vehicle at Autobooks within the last year.
The attendance was a third more than they had previous year and the auction tent was standing room only once the front chairs had filled. The auctioneer and his staff were not able to manage the audience the way they do in the big ball room in Monterey but the more relaxed atmosphere did not dampen the bidder's enthusiasm. Interested parties got their bids seen and the cars sold quickly. When it got too stuffy in the tent, one just needed to step outside for brief bit cool ocean wind, then it was back in the tent or a short walk to hotel's bar to warm up.
The cars were staged in a nearby parking lot where the public could see them up close and watch them drive in and out of the tent. This is not only fun but a good way to snag impulse buyers. We almost took the plunge on an Alfa Romeo 2600 until we learned it was being auctioned for charity and, as we predicted, it did go for considerably more than its value, all for a good cause.
Attending a first rate auction is a real experience in itself and just watching the cars from outside the tent builds anticipation for things to come on the day of the Concours.