Duesenberg and Ferrari Best of Amelia Island Concours
A 1929 Duesenberg J/SJ Convertible and a 1963 Ferrari 250/275P won the Best In Show honors on Saturday, March 10, at the 23rd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance (above, photo courtesy of Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance), which also honored the only double Formula One World Champion and two-time Indy 500 winner, Emerson Fittipaldi. The Concours was moved to Saturday again this year to avoid rain forecast for its original Sunday date.
This year’s competition drew more than 300 cars and motorcycles into 35 classes to the 10th and 18th Fairways of the Golf Club of Amelia Island, where the coveted Best in Show Concours d’Elegance Trophy was awarded to a 1929 Duesenberg J/SJ Convertible owned by Harry Yeaggy from Cincinnati, Ohio. This Duesenberg J/SJ Convertible has Murphy roadster-style coachwork that was restyled in period by Bohman & Schwartz of Pasadena, California. Styling changes included a lengthened hood, slotted fenders and more modern bumpers. One of the early owners of this car was Edward Beale McLean, who owned the Hope Diamond, and whose family owned The Washington Post.
A 1963 Ferrari 250/275P from the JSL Motorsports Collection in Redwood City, California, took home the prestigious Best in Show Concours de Sport trophy. The Ferrari won overall at the 1963 Nürburgring 1000K, with John Surtees and Willy Mairesse at the wheel, and the 1964 12 Hours of Sebring, with Mike Parkes and Umberto Maglioli driving — after it had been fitted with a 3.3-liter V12 and renamed 275P. This car also finished 2nd at Sebring in 1963, and won the first race at Quebec’s Le Circuit Mont Tremblant as a NART entry with Pedro Rodriguez driving. The car was campaigned as a NART entry in 1964 and 1965.
“I could not be more pleased with the judges’ decisions for the 2018 Amelia Island Concours winners,” said Bill Warner, Chairman and Founder of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “We are overjoyed to present the Duesenberg and Ferrari with these honors. These cars are prime examples of automotive prestige, and we are proud to recognize them.”
Concours honoree Emerson Fittipaldi was able to enjoy several of the cars from his career among the more than 300 cars on display. These included a Lotus 72-Ford from his first World Championship season, a McLaren M23-Ford from his second World Championship season, a Penske PC18-Chevrolet from his first Indy 500 win and a Penske PC22-Chevrolet from his second Indy victory, as well as two of his IROC entries, a 1974 Porsche 911 RSR and a 1977 Chevrolet Camaro Z28.
Making its international debut at this year’s Concours was the sole Shelby Lonestar, created in secrecy a half-century ago as a replacement for the legendary 427 Shelby Cobra. Based on the GT40 chassis, the Ford V8-powered mid-engine coupe was assembled in England during 1968 and wore the name “Cobra III” in internal Shelby documents. Because Ford had acquired the Cobra name a year earlier. Shelby, a Texan by birth, nature and bearing, named his third-generation “Cobra” after his home state and the Shelby Lonestar was born.
Additional highlights on the field included a full class of the outrageous customs of “Big Daddy” Ed Roth. Roth was a legend and an iconoclast who created some of the most outrageous, reality-bending customs of an era that thrived on American individualism run delightfully amok.
Advancing in the power-driven age, a special class of electric horseless carriages highlighted the renewed enthusiasm for the 120-year-old technology. To complement the 2018 electric car class, The Amelia featured the newest electric and hybrid-powered cars from the world’s leading manufacturers along with a seminar hosted by top names in the automotive industry.
The event also celebrated IMSA’s Grand Touring Prototypes, racers from the 1981 through the 1993 IMSA seasons. A quarter century has passed since IMSA’s GTPs last raced in anger, but they were the spiritual descendants of the mighty, unlimited Can-Am racers of the 1960s and 1970s and the vanguard of a new generation of automotive performance and technology. By the end of the GTP era in 1993 they had eclipsed every major track record the fabled Can-Am racers set.
Also featured were the cars of Martini Racing, highlighting the machines that over the decades have carried Martini & Rossi’s readily recognizable red and blue striped livery.
“With every passing year, the Amelia Island Concours continues to grow,” Warner said. “It is magical to see the wide variety of vehicles that appear on the green each year. Their stories and history truly allow us to celebrate the automobile industry in a number of ways.”
The 24th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will be held March 8-10, 2019, on the fairways of The Golf Club of Amelia Island at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The show’s Foundation has donated more than $3.2 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other charities on Florida’s First Coast since its inception in 1996. In 2013 and 2016, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance won Octane Magazine’s EFG International Historic Motoring Event of the Year award.