Amelia Island Hosts Investment Vehicles, Collector Car Auctions

Whether you fancy a fabulous car or an incredible seaside retreat, Amelia Island has stunning investment choices.

1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico Coupe by Vignale, Amelia Island RM Auctions Sale
1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico Coupe by Vignale, Amelia Island RM Auctions

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — A single car can surpass the price of a high-end oceanfront property on this tiny resort island during an upcoming March weekend, at the Amelia Concours d’Elegance. The automobile inventory here on Amelia Island, Florida may be more valuable per square mile than anywhere else on the eastern seaboard (perhaps across the nation and even across several continents).

This barrier island is small, but the spirit of car enthusiasts is big and the value of collector cars enormous.

In a time when many investors may still be shying away from real estate as an investment vehicle, some look elsewhere for an attractive return on investment, and get in the driver’s seat, instead. But this hobby or business of rare cars is about much more than just the money. Many folks are driven by a pure love of the automobile and a fascination with automotive history.

Unlike buying stocks or bonds, there are investors who put their money in an asset class where they can physically sit behind the wheel. One with more camaraderie, too. Investing in cars opens the road to new friendships with other car enthusiasts.

Compared to Wall Street’s paper trail, the collector car world may sound like an exciting highway to travel. Ready for a road trip?

Whether you fancy a fabulous car or an incredible seaside retreat, Amelia Island has stunning choices to be seen in March during the Amelia Concours d’Elegance. Some individual autos sold at auction fetch higher prices than premiere oceanfront real estate on this Florida sea island.

Carlton Dunes Summer Beach Resort Amelia Island, Florida Next To Ritz-Carlton
Carlton Dunes Summer Beach Resort on Amelia Island, Florida, Next to Ritz-Carlton

Indeed, some cars are worth more than a Carlton Dunes condo in Summer Beach or an Ocean Club Villa at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, the high-end, luxury oceanfront residences at the seaside with over 3,000 square feet. For example, a featured lot by RM Auctions, a 1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico Coupe by Vignale has an estimated value of between $2,750,000 to $3,500,000, to be offered for sale on Saturday, March 12, 2011 on Amelia Island at the Ritz-Carlton sale.


Besides the glamour of owning amazing, rare cars, the asset class appears to have offered rewarding returns in recent years, even during “the Great Recession” (although past results are no guarantee of future returns.) According to Hagerty’s “Cars That Matter,” a “Blue Chip Index of the Automotive A-List rose 67% in value from 2006 to 2010, compared to the S & P Index that was down 6%.” is the leading collector and vintage car insurance specialist in the world.

Looking in the rear view mirror at last year’s top collector car sold on Amelia Island, the price tag was $2.75 million for a 1931 Voisin Mylord Demi-Berline sold by auction house, Gooding & Company in 2010 (watch video of auction process).

It’s an amazing time to visit Amelia Island during the Amelia Concours d’Elegance (even if you’re not a car buff or investor). Besides the wonderful field show featuring around 250 rare, collector vehicles (to be on display along two golf fairways on Sunday, March 13, 2011 at the Golf Club of Amelia near the Ritz-Carlton), also see some of the world’s most valuable vehicles go to the highest bidder at auction. Tickets for the main Sunday show are available online at the Amelia Concours d’Elegance website for $45 per person when purchased in advance (students are $20).

If you’re interested in making a collector car investment or would just like to witness the auction process, two of the world’s top auto auction houses, RM Auctions and Gooding & Company, present sales during this amazing weekend in northeast Florida. (Also see an overview video of the Amelia Concours d’Elegance and read another article by Amelia Island Living eMagazine: “Amelia Island, The Place To Be For Concours d’Elegance.”


Besides the 1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico Coupe, additional RM AUCTIONS highlights include:

– a rare Zagato-bodied 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Spider (Est. $1,100,000 – $1,500,000);
– a beautifully restored 1908 Oldsmobile Limited, the earliest known Limited and the only surviving 1908 (Est. $600,000 – $900,000);
– a Motorama 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Town Car Prototype (Est. $500,000 – $750,000);
– a 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra presented in lovely ‘barn find’ condition (Est. $500,000 – $600,000); and,
– a handsome 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ (Est. $575,000 – $675,000).

Admission to the RM Auction event on March 12, 2011 requires the purchase of an official auction catalog for $100. The catalog admits two and must be presented at the entrance to the sale to be granted entry. For those unable to attend the event in person, internet, absentee, telephone and iPhone bidding options are available and the auction will stream live online at to provide real-time coverage of the event.

It’s easy to browse the vehicles to be offered at RM Auction’s Amelia Island sale with their online digital catalogue with photos and details.


Hand-selected by Gooding & Company as superb examples of their respective marques, the following cars are up for sale at Amelia Island on Friday, March 11, 2011 to be held at Omni Amelia Island Plantation (starting at 3 p.m.). Here’s just a small glimpse of a few to be auctioned:

— 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Prototype
— 1951 Ferrari 212 Export Cabriolet
— 1953 Siata 208 CS Berlinetta
— 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4
— 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso
— 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona.

Guests may preview the cars on Thursday, March 10, 2011 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday, March 11, 2011 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., at the Racquet Park located at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Gooding & Company auction catalogues cost $75 and admit two to the viewing and auction (also view Gooding’s Amelia Island online catalogue). General admission tickets to the viewing and auction may be purchased for $30 per person. For bidder registration forms and a sneak preview of these cars and lots more, visit the official website,

According to the Gooding & Company website, in 2010 they sold the top three most valuable cars in the world at auction:

— 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione – SOLD $7,260,000
— 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza – SOLD $6,710,000
— 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta SEFAC Hot Rod – SOLD $6,105,000

Pictured, a 1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback, to be auctioned by Gooding & Company at Amelia Island. Recently discovered, it’s described as “an extraordinary barnfind, and a true connoisseur’s car.”

1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback, Gooding & Company Auction at Amelia Island
1955 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback, Gooding & Company Auction at Amelia Island

According to David Gooding, President and founder, “strong 2011 auction sales will result from an increasing demand for original, preservation-class quality cars.”


Ever wish you still owned “that” car from your youth? Hindsight is often not pretty. Perhaps you’ve been wondering what car to buy now — one not priced in the stratosphere — a vehicle that could possibly turn into a future classic.


For those with less than a $100,000 to invest, take a peek at Hagerty’s annual “Hot List 2011” of 10 future classics. The “Hot List” is a selection of today’s cars available at dealerships, identified by Hagerty’s experts as “mass-produced vehicles today that will one day become collectible.”

This year’s “2011 Hot List” — ten cars forecast to be tomorrow’s collectibles — features four American brands:

— the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V
— the Chevy Camaro SS Convertible
— the 2011 Ford Mustang Boss 302R
— the 2011 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak (see the Hagerty article here.)

Prefer investment funds? There’s a new fund, The Classic Car Fund, described as “A passion investment – designed with the enthusiast in mind, to diversify any investors portfolio,” Filippo Pignatti Morano di Custoza, Fund Manager.

Here’s what a recent Bloomberg News article reported: “A Swiss-based asset management firm is seeking to profit from rising prices for collectable cars. The Classic Car Fund aims to make a return of 17 percent a year by buying and selling a variety of investment-grade classics, ranging from prewar Bugattis to postwar Pontiac muscle cars.” Investors reportedly will be able to invest in the new Classic Car Fund for “as little as 100 euros.”

Nick Mason, Pink Floyd’s drummer, an auto enthusiast, is involved with another new car fund, IGA Automotive.   (As with all investments, perform due diligence, naturally.)

By W.B. Lawson

PERSPECTIVE -- Observations of island life, news & opinion.