15 March 2017

Although a day early, the 2017 Amelia Island Concours shines in brilliant weather

The Hagerty team was out in full force for the 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The brainchild of longtime automotive photographer, racing nut, and impresario Bill Warner, “Amelia,” as it’s affectionately known, has become a required stop on the calendars of classic car fans, especially those who live east of the Mississippi. Hagerty Classic Cars was there for it all, providing free rides in a fleet of classic American cars, Dawn Patrol donuts and coffee to the earliest risers at the concours, and our own special trophy, the Denise McCluggage Memorial Award.

Amelia activities are centered at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, on a spit of land bordering the Atlantic, just south of the village of Fernandina Beach. All weekend long, the portico at the Ritz is a fantasy land of exotic pre- and postwar classics surrounded by crowds of collectors, admirers, and automotive celebrities. Upscale new-car manufacturers offer rides in Alfa Romeos, Mercedes-AMGs, McLarens, Lamborghinis, Jaguars, and Porsches. It all makes Amelia Island, up in Florida’s northeast corner, the place to be in early March.

Each year, Bill Warner calls on his network of collectors and museum directors to concoct a new mix of cars that will make you weak in the knees. For 2017, the concours was highlighted by a collection of Jaguar D-type racers; production and racing Camaros celebrating the muscle car’s 50th anniversary; a fine selection of Rolls-Royces spanning the British marque’s long history; an esoteric collection of movie cars, including the James Bond “Goldfinger” Aston Martin DB5; and an amazing group of Japanese production and racing cars ranging from the 1965 Prince R380 to the 2011 Nissan NISMO 370Z. No one curates a concours quite like Bill Warner.

Normally, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is held on Sunday morning, capping an entire week of automotive auctions, marque reunions, drives, seminars with racing luminaries, and a vast and varied Cars and Coffee on Saturday that’s free to the general public. This year, impending rains on Sunday forced organizers to combine Saturday and Sunday activities into one day, Saturday, March 11th. The busy but highly successful day was capped by the annual Mercedes-Benz Gala Dinner, honoring Al Unser, Sr., on the 30th anniversary of his fourth Indy 500 win.

Our portfolio of photos give you just a peek at all the action. Make your plans now to join us on Amelia Island in 2018; you’ll be glad you did.

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