SPEED, FLASH, ELEGANCE: Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Rare Auto Event

Amelia Island Concous d'Elegance Elite Collector Auto Show, at Ritz-Carlton and Golf Club of Amelia, Summer Beach

Amelia Island Concous d'Elegance Elite Collector Auto Show, Ritz-Carlton

One of the posh events of the year on this northeast Florida resort barrier island is held in March, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

An event that attracts car enthusiasts at the very top of the market, it’s the weekend when more private jets are parked at the Amelia Island Airport than any other time all year.

Picture in your mind the lush green golf fairway of Summer Beach, lined with millions of dollars worth of gleaming, glitzy collector automobiles, dubbed the “Field of Dreams.” The backdrop is the ocean and in the limelight is a stunning assembly of elite vehicles brought together for this Amelia Island event, one of the top collector car shows in the world. Whether you like speed, flash or elegance, many one-of-a-kind vehicles — the kind that most people only dream of — will be showcased on Amelia Island the weekend of March 12-14, 2010.

Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance (held in March) in Northeast Florida

Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance (held in March) in Northeast Florida

In its 15-year history, the Amelia Island event it has earned a glowing reputation that continues to attract a growing audience, and is an event fit for a king.

Speaking of royalty, “The King” of NASCAR will be on Amelia Island as this year’s Honorary Chairman at the Concours. Richard Petty, one of the greatest NASCAR drivers in history, a 7-time winner of the NASCAR championship, will be on Amelia Island at this grand event to the delight of fans and admirers.

Last year’s Amelia Island Concours drew more than 15,000 visitors to Amelia Island. A signature event on the island held every March, the vintage auto show typically features around 250 fabulous, rare vehicles, parked along the Summer Beach golf fairway.

Even if you’re not a car buff, elite collector, or NASCAR fan, this is an amazing show to experience. If you’re a resident of Amelia Island, it’s right here in our backyard. If you’ve never attended the show, treat yourself. Meander the fairway and enjoy seeing lots of jaw-dropping vehicles. Mark your calendar to spend a few hours admiring the eye candy, from classic antique cars to glitzy race cars and vintage motorcycles (and don’t forget your camera).

The main event is Sunday, March 14, 2010, where attendees can walk around the Summer Beach golf club (Golf Club of Amelia’s 18th and 10th fairways) lined with vehicles, adjacent to the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton. (The Sunday event is held rain or shine — vehicles will be moved to tents if stormy). Adult ticket prices in 2010 are $45 (students aged 12-18 cost $20, kids under 12 free, but must be accompanied with a paying adult).

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation, Inc. has announced that racing legends Richard “The King” Petty, Sir Stirling Moss OBE and Don “Big Daddy”Garlits will come together to participate in an exciting seminar on Saturday, March 13, 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The seminar, entitled “The Three Greats – Petty, Moss and Garlits,” will be moderated by veteran racers and two of SPEED TV’s most animated and popular commentators, David Hobbs and Sam Posey.

“We feel honored to be able to have three of the most legendary racers of all time all in the same place and the same time, for this seminar,” said Bill Warner, Amelia Island Concours founder and co-chairman.

It’s wise to book a hotel room in advance if you need overnight accommodations — the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is very popular. For instance, the “VIP TENT” tickets at $200 per person are already sold out at this writing (which enables the ticket holder to participate in a private autograph session with Richard Petty, and other perks). No doubt many Petty fans have been racing to get tickets and hotel rooms, so don’t get left in the dust.

According to the Amelia Island Concours web site:

“Amelia Week will be a full one for The King. On Friday, March 12th, he will serve as the grand marshal for the annual road tour for specially selected vintage cars participating in the show, which covers the length of Amelia Island and visits a number of historic sites. The following night, Saturday, March 13th, should not be missed as Petty will be the keynote speaker at the Mercedes-Benz Gala Dinner in the Ritz-Carlton Grand Ballroom. Petty will continue an Amelia tradition on show day, Sunday, March 14th, when he will pilot one of his famous #43 “Petty Blue” racecars onto the field of dreams to officially open the Concours.”

Many events are happening throughout the long weekend, including the Rolls-Royce Wine Maker’s Dinner, the Porsche Driving Experience, and the Mercedes-Benz Gala dinner plus various displays.

This year’s Concours will also honor the 40th anniversary of Porsche’s inaugural victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona and Le Mans and showcase a number of influential 917s (a model reportedly considered to be one of the most significant race cars of the modern era.)

Check out the official website for complete schedule of Concours events and ticket info, buy tickets in advance online at www.ameliaconcours.org.

The Concours show’s foundation over the years has reportedly donated almost $1.6 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida and additional funds to other charities.

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Amelia Island Living & Travel's digital content editor (including photography and social media channels). eMail: contact@AmeliaIslandLiving.com.