Highlights of 2023 Amelia Concours Car Culture Celebration

Browse highlights of “The Amelia” Concours d’Elegance plus related activities, auctions & free display in downtown Fernandina.

Also Known As “The Racer’s Concours,” Northeast Florida’s Collector Car Extravaganza

Now in its 28th year, “The Amelia” is an award-winning, multi-day motoring extravaganza, the centerpiece show held at the Golf Club of Amelia and Ritz-Carlton.

Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island oak tree canopy entrance. Photo by AmeliaIslandLiving.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, oak tree canopy entrance.

Happening at various venues around this northeast Florida barrier island, the dates of an array of car-related events are March 2-5, 2023. Every year, “The Amelia” Concours d’Elegance is always held on Sunday during Concours weekend. The collector car show honors a racing legend each year and attracts celebrities from across the automotive landscape.

Jeff Gordon, Honoree In 2023

This year in 2023, NASCAR Hall of Famer and Vice Chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, Jeff Gordon, will serve as Honoree of “The Amelia” Concours d’Elegance. During the show on Sunday, March 5, 2023, 250 historically significant vehicles will be showcased in 32 classes. Vehicles Gordon drove during his career (and won in) will be featured. 

Never Been To Amelia’s Concours d’Elegance?

Many newcomers have moved to Nassau County, Florida in recent years. For local residents, the Concours is a convenient opportunity to experience an exceptional event with glowing global reputation right here in our backyard. People come from around the world to attend various activities happening during the multi-day event. This particular Concours on Amelia Island is known as being not only one of the best, but also one of the most unique Concours shows with its inclusion of race cars. Even for those who are not car buffs, it’s an event to experience at least once.

Golf Club of Amelia, Ritz-Carlton in background. Photo by AmeliaIslandLiving.com, Fernandina Beach, Florida.
Golf Club of Amelia, Ritz-Carlton in background.

While the centerpiece attraction is the Sunday Concours show, held near the seaside at the Golf Club of Amelia (lush, green fairway pictured above before the site becomes the car show’s “field of dreams”), much attention is paid to what happens at the Amelia Island auctions that have grown in number over the years. Collector vehicles are sold on Amelia Island by some of the world’s top auction houses, including RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Company and Bonhams. This year in 2023, a new auction happening here is Broad Arrow (more about this further below).

Downtown Fernandina’s Free Display, Eight Flags Road Tour — Friday, March 3, 2023

A free event that’s become a favorite of locals is Friday’s display of a selection of rare collector Concours cars presented along Centre Street in downtown Fernandina’s historic district. Known as the Reliable Carriers Eight Flags Road Tour (happening this year on March 3rd, read related article), the tradition is for drivers of some of the Concours cars to stop downtown for a couple of hours while they enjoy lunch, parking on Centre Street.

Fernandina Beach Display of Concours Cars (photo from archives)

Cars & Community — March 4, 2023

Saturday’s Cars & Community event is happening March 4, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Golf Club of Amelia. This year in 2023, it’s anticipated that around 500 vehicles will be presented during the Cars & Community event. These include various collections, including a curated Cars & Caffeine show, RADwood, and the Concours d’Lemons display. Cars & Community also features a Youth Zone, Ride & Drives, and Bavarian beer garden. Cars & Community adult ticket (aged 23+) is $25 before March 1st, but then increases to $35. (There are some discounts for active military, first responders and kids). Tickets for “Cars & Community” can be purchased online.

Centerpiece Show Sunday, March 5, 2023

One of the featured classes to be showcased on Sunday during the Amelia Concours d’Elegance is the “120th Anniversary of Buick.”

According to Hagerty:

“In the early 20th century automotive pioneer, David Dunbar Buick, championed advance concepts that led to Buick’s valve-in-head engine design. It won races and delivered more power than more common and traditional designs. Buick Motor Company became the cornerstone of General Motors and changed the course of automotive history.”

While 32 classes will be presented on the show field at Golf Club of Amelia, besides celebrating Buick, some of the other classes featured at the Concours d’Elegance on Sunday include:

  • Cars of Jeff Gordon
  • Le Mans Winners 
  • Le Mans Corvettes
  • Porche Fiberglass Racing Spyders
  • Ferrari GT Berlinettas
  • Custom 50’s Hot Rods
Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance 2023 honoree, Jeff Gordon (Photo: Courtesy of Hagerty)
Amelia Concours d’Elegance 2023 honoree, Jeff Gordon (Photo: Courtesy of Hagerty)

“It’s an honor to be recognized at such an incredible event that blends car culture, car enthusiasts, beautiful cars and high-performance vehicles. And for us to be able to showcase cars that have been such a huge part of my career will make the weekend that much more memorable for me. ” 

Jeff Gordon

“Jeff embodies the spirit of The Amelia, often referred to as ‘the racer’s concours,’”said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. “His incredible success on the track has made him a household name, but Jeff is more than a legendary driver. His charitable heart is on display at Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, where he has led the battle to find a cure for childhood cancer for more than two decades.”

Gordon established the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation in 1999, which supports pediatric cancer research and treatment and has granted more than $22 million to support children battling cancer.

The Amelia Concours d’Elegance Foundation over the years has donated over $4 million to deserving non-profit and charitable organizations

Broad Arrow Auctions Becomes Official Auction House of “The Amelia”

Hagerty has named Broad Arrow Auctions as the host of the official auction of The Amelia. Note that Broad Arrow Group became a subsidiary of Hagerty in August 2022 (including Broad Arrow Auctions). Broad Arrow’s inaugural Amelia auction is scheduled for March 4, 2023 to be held at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The auction will feature exceptional collector cars ranging from pre-War American classics to modern supercars. 

RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island Auction

Those familiar with the long-term presence of the Concours d’Elegance on Amelia Island know that the original auction house to come on the scene was RM Auctions (later to become RM Sotheby’s). The year 2023 marks RM Sotheby’s 24th annual auction held on Amelia Island. “We are pleased to announce our most diverse auction in Amelia Island history, offering everything from modern-day supercars to veteran racers from the 1900s,” states the auction house.

This year, note the venue change for this auction in 2023. Instead of its former residency at the Ritz-Carlton, RM Sotheby’s auction is happening at 4171 Amelia Island Parkway (near Lynndale Rd.) pictured below.

RM Sotheby's auction, Amelia Island, Florida -- March 2023.
RM Sotheby’s Auction Site, 4171 Amelia Island Parkway (at Lynndale Rd.)
Final RM Sotheby’s Sale On Amelia Island

RM Sotheby’s auction preview is free and open to the public, happening on Thurs. March 2, 2023 and Fri., March 3, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Sat., March 4, 2023 Amelia Island sale will be RM Sotheby’s last one hosted on this northeast Florida barrier island.

Cars Driven By Jeff Gordon To Be Offered At Auction

At least two race cars driven by Jeff Gordon are to be auctioned on Amelia Island. One is a 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR (Lot 148), offered by Broad Arrow Auctions, with a pre-sale estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. This car raced by Jeff Gordon was built by Hendrick Motorsports and is “powered by an 830-horsepower SB2 NASCAR-spec engine,” according to the auction catalogue.

Another is offered by RM Sotheby’s, a car that Gordon drove in seven races between 2003 ant 2006, according to the sale’s catalogue. The 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS NASCAR “Jeff Gordon” (Lot 188) pre-sale value estimate is $130,000 to $160,000.

RM Sotheby's Twitter photo, 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS NASCAR "Jeff Gordon"
Photo credit: RM Sotheby’s Twitter feed. 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS NASCAR

As noted above, the Amelia Concours this year is showcasing the “120th Anniversary of Buick.” Below is a dazzling red classic, a 1954 Buick Skylark, to be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s (Lot 111). Beautifully restored, with only 836 produced, this 1954 Buick Skylark is anticipated to sell for between $120,000 to $160,000. According a Facebook post by RM Sotheby’s, “The Skylark is the ultimate Buick in every way.”

1954 Buick Skylark (photo credit: RM Sotheby’s Facebook page)
Amelia Concours Tickets & More Info

Tickets to the centerpiece show on Sunday, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, are $175 per adult (aged 23+) and can be purchased online in advance of event. (There are some discounts for active military, first responders and kids). See ticket info for various Concours events, more info at the AmeliaConcours.com website.

Top Four Highest Valued Cars (Pre-Sale Estimates), To Be Auctioned On Amelia Island In March 2023

Gooding & Company holds their auction at Omni Amelia Island Resort’s Racquet Club. The 2-day sale is March 2-3, 2023. Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction features a 1962 Ferrari 250GT SWB California Spider, coachwork by Scaglietti (Lot 164). The pre-sale estimated value range is between $18 to $20 million, the car seen below in Gooding’s Youtube video.

If this 1962 Ferrari does indeed sell for between $18 to $20 million, it will break the highest sales record previously set on Amelia Island back in 2016 for a single car sold. The record sale was achieved back in March 2016, when a 1961 Ferrari GT SWB California Spider sold for over $17 million (see past Amelia Island Living article).

Bonhams will feature a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Sports Tourer (Lot 150) on March 2, 2023 at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. The pre-sale estimated value range is between $10 to $12 million.

RM Sotheby’s auction on Sat. March 4, 2023 features a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider by Scaglietti, anticipated to fetch between $9 to $11 million.

Broad Arrow Auctions‘ inaugural Amelia Island sale features a 1968 Porsche 907K (lot 155) with estimated hammer price range of $4.5 to $5.5 million.

According to experts evaluating this year’s vehicles, described in Hagerty‘s “Insider Preview” and “Auction Report,” the prediction for total sales volume at the upcoming Amelia Island March 2023 sales (four auctions combined), lands somewhere between $182 to $217 million. All told, 456 collector vehicles are to be offered.

Local Economic Impact Of Concours d’Elegance

The Amelia Concours attracts over 20,000 attendees, including many overnight visitors for multiple days. The island’s lodging usually sells out and popular restaurants island-wide are extra busy. While downtown Fernandina’s annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival draws much bigger crowds to Amelia Island (over 100,000 the first weekend in May), it’s the Concours d’Elegance that generates the biggest financial impact of any event held on this northeast Florida barrier island. During last year’s 2022 Amelia Island Concours and related events, the economic impact was reportedly more than $33.7 million here in Nassau County, FL. The economic impact results are from a study conducted by Research Data Services, Inc. Looking back to prior years, the economic impact was reportedly $26.4 million for the May 2021 event (even with less attendance by international visitors due to pandemic travel restrictions). The Amelia Concours held in early March 2020 brought an estimated $30 million, and happened in the nick of time, literally a few days before every big event across the nation got canceled as the world became aware of the emergence of COVID.

What Do Locals Think About The Concours?

It depends who you ask. Many local car enthusiasts delight in the festivities each March, but not all island residents are as pleased. The multi-day event brings crowds, heavy road and air traffic, and at times, the sound of race car engines drifts on the sea breeze.

About Hagerty, Inc. (NYSE: HGTY)

The inaugural Amelia Concours event under Hagerty’s ownership was last year in March 2022. For those unfamiliar, “The Amelia” Concours d’Elegance was acquired by Hagerty, Inc. (announced back in June 2021). By year end 2021, Hagerty became a public company (stock symbol HGTY), with shares trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Based in Traverse City, Michigan, Hagerty states its purpose “is to save driving and car culture for future generations and its mission is to build a global business to fund that purpose.” For more information about Hagerty, visit their website.

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By The Editor

Observations of island life, news & opinion by Wendy Lawson. Residing on Amelia Island for 30+ years, her professional background began at a newspaper in NY. She later became a managing editor at an equity research publishing firm and was Series 7 licensed while with Merrill Lynch.