American cars topped the 18th Annual Amelia Concours d’Elegance Best of Show categories. Amelia tradition dictates two Best of Show winners: one the established Concours d’Elegance, the other, Amelia’s unique Concours de Sport. Both Winners of The Amelia in 2013 were American cars with impeccable pedigrees.
The Amelia’s Concours d’Elegance went to the 1936 Duesenberg SJN of the Nethercutt Collection. The elegant gray Indianapolis-built roadster brought Helen and Jack Nethercutt from Sylmar, California across the Golf Club at Amelia Island’s fairways to heralding trumpets and spray of champagne.
The Duesenberg brothers’ impact on American motoring is out of proportion with the relatively small number of cars they built in the 1920s and 30s. Duesenberg’s company slogan was “the world’s finest motorcar” and Fred and Augie Duesenberg did everything they could to make that slogan a fact.
From winning the 1921 French Grand Prix to four victories in the Indy 500, the Duesenberg name became synonymous with speed, power, quality, success and engineering excess.
The Nethercutt Collection’s 1936 Supercharged Convertible Coupe is the apogee of the Duesenberg Brothers art. The potent DOHC 420-cubic-inch supercharged straight-eight engine propels the Nethercutt’s big Rollston-bodied luxury sports car to over 120 mph. The $18,000 price tag kept Duesenbergs out of the hands of all but a few wealthy and, usually, celebrity owners. Even today, the Duesenberg name implies exclusivity, taste, refinement, power and speed. The Best of Show SNJ is The Amelia’s 2013 stand out, even in a class of stunning Duesenbergs.
The Nethercutt’s elegant and stately Duesenberg roadster was joined by another American automotive treasure at Amelia in 2013. The Rocky Mountain Auto Collection’s Ford GT40 earned Concours de Sport top honors. Provenance is the component that even the most careful, faithful, accurate and expensive restoration cannot bestow upon a thoroughbred car. There might have been better restorations in The Amelia’s GT40 class in 2013, but the 1968 Ford GT40, chassis number 1075, is the most successful example of Ford’s revolutionary Le Mans racer simply because it became the first to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice (1968 and 1969). This GT40 won six of the eleven World Championship races it entered, including Sebring, Spa, Watkins Glen and Brands Hatch wearing the famous blue and orange of Gulf Research Racing. On the 50th anniversary of the GT40, The Amelia’s judges were convinced that GT40 1075 was the most significant racer on the Concours field.
The 2013 Amelia Concours d’Elegance celebrated some significant automotive anniversaries. The 50th anniversary of Porsche’s landmark 911 brought out the heavy crème. Bruce Meyers’ Beverly Hills-based 1979 Porsche 935 K-3 won Best in Class, Porsche 911 Racing. Best in Class 911 Street went to Don and Diane Meluzio’s rare Porsche 901 prototype, reminding us that Porsche’s iconic 911 was originally named “901”, its engineering project number.
Chevrolet’s legendary Sting Ray also celebrated its 50th anniversary at The Amelia in 2013. Irwin Kroiz’s 1963 Corvette Z06 “big tank” Sting Ray took home the big ribbon for the best Corvette in a class of mouthwatering Corvettes.
The jewel-like racers of Harry Miller were also celebrated at Amelia in 2013. Millers simply ruled American speedway racing in the 1920s through leading edge design, engineering and artisan-class manufacturing. Sam Mann’s blown Miller 91 wearing its Locomobile Jr. 8 racing livery was the gem among a field of Harry Miller’s jewels that took home The Amelia’s long blue ribbon in 2013.
Ferruccio Lamborghini’s Grand Touring cars also celebrated a half-century anniversary in 2013. Appropriately, Malcolm and Naomi Barksdale’s 350 GT represented the Italian industrialist’s first attempt to out-Ferrari old Enzo himself, winning best of the charging bull breed.
The Peoples’ Choice Award has become nearly as coveted and significant as the Best of Show ribbons at The Amelia. Corrado Lopresto’s breathtaking Zagato-bodied Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 had the same effect on the 18th annual Amelia Island Concours as it did on the streets of Turin, Italy in 1931. That made it the winner of The 2013 Amelia’s People’s Choice Award.
Thirty-four Amelia blue ribbons were awarded for cars and motorcycles from 17 states and one Canadian province in 2013.