Amelia Island: three hundred are competing to be the two “best”

Amelia Island 2019. Confirmed prestige and quality.
300 cars on display, two Best of Show and Jacky Icks to commemorate the great years of Le Mans.

On March 10th 2019, the eyes of the classic car world turned to Florida, for the 24th Amelia Island Concours of Elegance. As always, founder Bill Warner created a wonderful event, this year further enhanced by the number of cars on display, a record 300 in total, and by the presence of an illustrious, and very charming, guest of honor: Belgian race car driver Jacky Icks, aka “Mr Le Mans”

As per tradition, the Concours had two Best in Show winners

The Concours d’Elegance Best in Show trophy went to the 1938 Mercedes-Benz W29 540 K Autobahn-Kurier owned by Arturo Keller (chassis #408336). The only survivor of the two 540 Ks built with this particular aerodynamic body (order number 288557 in the MB register), this car was originally sold in Barcelona to eye surgeon Professor Ignacio Barraquer. He extensively used his 540 K, for wonderful trips in North Africa (across Libya and Egypt) and along the Mediterranean coastline, taking in Spain, France and Italy – journeys he amply documented in photographs. In the early 2000s, after spending almost 70 years with the same family, the 540 K, still completely original and wearing its original number plate (B-69475), was sold to its second owner. It was soon purchased by its third and current owner, who had it perfectly restored in 2006 at Paul Russell’s shop before showing it at Pebble Beach in 2006, where it took Best in Class. It also won the Coppa d’Oro at the Villa d’Este concours in 2008. Until now, it had not been seen in public for a decade.

The Concours de Sport Best in Show trophy was won by the 1957 Ferrari 355 S (chassis type 520/B #0674) owned by Brian and Kim Ross’s firm Cavallino Investments. It is a truly special car, with an amazing palmares of victories and podium positions. It was driven by the most respected racers of its period. One of only four 335 Ss built, #0674, part of the Scuderia Ferrari works team, started life as a 290 MM, before being upgraded to a 315 S, and finally a 335 S. The car has a tremendous racing history spanning three seasons, during which it took part in major races such as Sebring (finishing 6th driven by Peter Collins and Maurice Trintignant), Le Mans, the Mille Miglia (2nd, with Wolfgang von Trips at the wheel), and the Swedish Grand Prix (4th, driven by Mike Hawthorn and Luigi Musso), as well as 1,000 km events at Nürburgring and in Caracas. In 1958 it won the Cuba Grand Prix driven by Sir Stirling Moss. After racing in the SCCA championship, in 1969 it entered the collection of Frenchman Pierre Bardinon, where it remained until 2015, when it was bought by its current owner. At the Amelia Island concours, it also won the Spirit of the Mille Miglia trophy.

The HVA (Historic Vehicle Association) prize for the car with the most significant history went to Harry Yeaggy’s 1956 Cadillac Series 75 Presidential Limousine. One of just a handful produced, this car was built by coachbuilders Hess & Eisenhardt of Concinnati (OH) for President Eisenhower. It remained “on duty” until the arrival of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who soon replaced it with a Lincoln. The Cadillac was transferred to the US secret services and continued to serve the White House. In fact, it was the vehicle following President Kennedy’s car on that fateful day in Dallas in 1963. It was later used by President Johnson too. The Hagerty Youth Award, assigned by a team of judges aged “up to 16 years”, went to a 1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 BB from the Glenn Simon Collection (FL), one of the very first “Berlinetta Boxers” imported into the USA, now restored and still sporting its original color combination of Giallo Fly (yellow) on Black. One of the most admired cars was the Ingram Collection’s 1955 Porsche Continental Coupe (chassis #52866), the 21st Continental built, finished on December 14th, 1954. It was ordered new by Porsche importer Max Hoffman, who wanted to show to his potential customers that Porsche could also provide luxury versions of its sports cars. Accordingly, he ordered the Azure Blue car complete with a full set of optionals, such as the rare front bench seat (only seven 356s have this) with corduroy insert, Telefunken Super 86 AM/FM radio, VDO eight-day clock, Bosch fog lights, and the full luggage set. He showed it at the 1955 New York Motor Show. This 356 is so unique that, the very same year, after the New York show, it was shipped back to Europe to be entered in the Porsche Treffen meeting before being returned to the USA to be sold. Now fresh from a 4,000-hour restoration, it took 2nd place in the Sports and GT Cars 1955-1959 class.

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