Amelia Island Concours celebrates 20th year this weekend as more events join the fun

Dan Scanlan, FTU Online March 10, 2015 @ 1:26 pm

The 20th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance comes this weekend, culminating with the annual Sunday classic car show with 325 rolling steel sculptures displayed outside the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.

But the long weekend also includes multiple other events Thursday through Sunday that will combine with the concours to bring thousands of people and millions of dollars to coastal Nassau County.

This year's concours sees the return of its first honoree, British racing legend Stirling Moss, as well as a Sunday display of 23 of his racing machines. Lamborghini will unveil a new car, while Buick shows off its first as well as its latest concept car. Collector cars will be flown in from seven countries, shown alongside Mercedes-Benzes, Ferraris, Stutzes, Porsches, BMWs, Cars of the Cowboys, Orphan Concepts and classic hot rods.

Southside businessman Bill Warner founded the concours 20 years ago, showing 163 classic cars to about 2,000 visitors at The Golf Club of Amelia Island's fairways next to the Ritz-Carlton. Now an estimated 25,000 are expected, and Warner said he is proud of what he, his seven paid staffers and 500 volunteers have created for the 20th birthday.

"The show goes on rain or shine," he said. "I don't want this to sound egotistical, but I think our 20th will set the standard by which all shows are measured because I just feel this is our absolute best effort. We pulled out all the stops. We begged and pleaded and we cajoled and we convinced."

To handle the expected traffic, "No Parking" signs will be posted at major intersections and on Amelia Island Parkway. Sunday's concours also has a new entrance at the parkway's intersection with South Fletcher Avenue, Sheriff's Office Lt. Hank Martinez said.

People can park at Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport, which costs $10 on Saturday and $15 on Sunday, with shuttle service to and from the concours.

"Get there early and go to the airport," Martinez said. "You have to ride a shuttle bus, but you don't have to worry about parking,"

The event includes a road tour of its featured marques that starts at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island and ends with a Centre Street display in Fernandina Beach. The Cars and Coffee at the Concours cruise-in is 9 a.m. Saturday, and the RM-Sotheby's Auction at 11 a.m. the same day in The Ritz-Carlton Ballroom.

The actual concours car and motorcycle show's gates open at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the Golf Club of Amelia Island, $100 per adult and $40 per child.

Guests will have a new free MotorXpo show to see Saturday and Sunday. Once inside, they will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Moss' World Sports Car and Formula 1 championships in Mercedes-Benzes. Jacksonville collector Rodolfo Junco de la Vega will unveil his restored Ferrari 275 GTS, while Lancia rally cars from the local Campion Collection will be there.

The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance Foundation has donated about $2.5 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida and other charities on Florida's First Coast since its inception.

Other events aren't part of the concours, but have joined in the fun.

The third annual Festivals of Speed comes to the Omni Amelia Island Plantation at 6800 First Coast Highway, starting with a cocktail reception at 8 p.m. Friday. Its classic and exotic car show is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Oak Marsh Golf Course at 39 Beach Lagoon Road. Proceeds benefit Communities In Schools of Nassau County.

Its Hollywood Wheels auction has two events at the Omni. At 2 p.m. Friday, it's the Auto Retro Porsche Sports Car Auction, while the Amelia Island Select is at noon Saturday.

Two more major auction houses also have sales. The Bonham's Auction is at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. And the Gooding & Co. Auction at 11 a.m. Friday at the Omni's Racquet Park. Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549

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