The Concours d’Elegance first made its debut back in 1996 on this northeast Florida barrier island. Back then a one-day event, the show jump-started Amelia Island’s future as a hot spot for auto aficionados. Today, Amelia Island is recognized around the world as a top gathering place for car enthusiasts when March rolls around every year, as well as a marketplace for investment-class, collector vehicles.
Its reputation for excellence and growth of the Concours d’Elegance was fueled through the years by founder Bill Warner. Ownership changed during 2021 when the Amelia Concours d’Elegance was acquired by Hagerty Inc. (rebranded “The Amelia”).
“The Amelia” Concours main event is the Sunday show held annually at the island’s Ritz-Carlton and Golf Club of Amelia and continues to be the belle of the ball. However, the original show has been accessorized with lots of bling over the years. Piggybacking the show’s success, other car-related events have been added during the past few decades, including several world-class auto auctions. These complementary events add to the overall experience during what’s now become a 4-day car culture extravaganza here at the Atlantic coast in north Florida.
Amelia Island’s Collector Car Auctions
While some come to this northeast Florida barrier island to attend the auctions in person, others monitor the sales via live stream, watching the action on digital screens across the nation and around the globe (pre-registered bidders can call in).
The four auction houses presenting on-site sales here in early March 2023 were Gooding & Company, RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Broad Arrow Auctions. Around 450 vehicles in total were offered for sale on Amelia Island. Each auction house promotes its headline car (the one anticipated pre-sale to fetch the top dollars). This year, however, three of the four headline cars fell short of expectations (as described further below in each auction’s summarized results). One rare Ferrari, however, did break an Amelia Island record, selling for more than $18 million.
“The Amelia” 2023 Attracts 25,000
Amelia Island’s 28th annual celebration of car culture attracted 25,000, according to Hagerty. This includes attendance at the two biggest ticketed events at the Golf Club of Amelia and Ritz-Carlton (the centerpiece Sunday Concours show and Saturday’s “Cars & Community” held at the same venue), plus the four auctions and driving events.
The 25,000 attendance for the multi-day events was achieved despite Saturday’s weather being far from ideal.
It was a very rainy start for the “Cars & Community,” a half-day (9 to 1 p.m.) event. Even so, around 10,000 people showed up to browse 350 cars (displayed at “Cars & Caffeine”), plus more cars featured at two other displays (“RADwood” and “Concours d’Lemons”). Umbrellas dotted the fairway at Golf Club of Amelia and those lacking one got soaked in the morning. Far fewer were able to duck into limited shelter/tents on the golf course, as seen above, to wait for rain to stop.
March 2023 Amelia Island Auctions Sales Summary
Before the auctions were held, Amelia’s combined auction sales in 2023 were anticipated to be the “biggest ever,” due to “an increase in consignment quality,” according to Hagerty. The prediction panned out, with total car auction sales reported at over $178 million. This surpassed the previous record set of $140 million sales at the Amelia Island auctions back in 2016. The top 10 highest-priced cars sold this year in March 2023 on Amelia Island were presented by two of the auction houses — five by Gooding & Company and five offered by RM Sotheby’s.
Regional Economic Impact of Amelia Concours
The Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (AICVB) announced this year’s regional economic impact of the Amelia Concours multi-day March 2023 event at $40.3 million. The economic impact results are from Research Data Services, Inc. This compares to $33.7 million reported in 2022. Going further backwards, the economic impact was reportedly $26.4 million for the May 2021 event (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).
Top Sale – Ferrari Fetches Over $18 Million
This year, a single rare collector car sold for $18,045,000 on Amelia Island March 3, 2023 at Gooding & Company’s auction. Gooding & Company’s sale was held at Omni Amelia Island Resort (2-day sale March 2-3, 2023). Pre-sale, this 1962 Ferrari was anticipated to go for between $18 to $20 million.
The featured star car is seen below, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider, coachwork by Scaglietti (Lot 164). This incredibly valuable Ferrari is shown being driven in Gooding & Company’s Youtube video.
The $18-plus million sale of this is 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider broke the highest sales record previously set at an Amelia Island auction.
Gooding & Company has the second-longest Amelia Island presence of the auction houses. Gooding made their debut here back in March 2010 with total sales then of $16,144,500 million (82% sales rate). This year in 2023, they summed up results on Facebook:
“Thank you to everyone who either joined us in sunny Amelia Island or followed along from home — your support helped make Gooding & Company’s 2023 Amelia Island Auctions the most successful yet with $72,676,188 in lots sold and a 95% sales rate.”SOURCE: Gooding & Company’s Facebook post, March 6, 2023.
2023 Sales Surpass Record Last Hit In 2016
Before the gavels fell across the multiple Amelia Island auctions in March 2023, the record price of a single collector car sold here had been achieved back in 2016. A 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider, offered by Gooding and Company, sold for $17,160,000 March 11, 2016 at auction held at Omni Amelia Island.
Last year during the March 2022 Amelia Island auctions, the highest-priced collector car sold at auction fetched $13,425,000. The magnificent vehicle, presented by Gooding & Company, was a 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS Teardrop Coupe by Figoni et Falaschi (the most expensive French car ever sold at auction in the world).
The very first collector car auction held on Amelia Island was in the early years of the Concours when RM Auctions came on the scene (later to become RM Sotheby’s), hosting its sale at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. While March 2023’s Concours d’Elegance celebrated its 28th anniversary on Amelia Island, RM Sotheby’s held its 24th annual auction here (but at a different venue this year). Instead of its former residency at the Ritz-Carlton, RM Sotheby’s auction was held at 4171 Amelia Island Parkway, pictured below.
RM Sotheby’s auction on Sat. March 4, 2023 featured a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider by Scaglietti. Pre-sale, it was anticipated to fetch between $9 to $11 million. However, their highest sale turned out instead to be a 2010 Pagan Zonda R Coupe, (lot 171), that sold for $5,340,000.
RM Sotheby’s shared their overall results on March 7, 2023, via Facebook: “More than $70 million in total sales and $1.2 million was raised for charity as RM Sotheby’s bids farewell to Amelia Island. A total of 19 cars sold for more than a million dollars, with 92% of all lots sold.”
RM Sotheby’s had previously announced its Saturday, March 4, 2023 Amelia Island sale would be its final one held on this northeast Florida barrier island. Broad Arrow Auctions, a Hagerty company, in 2023 took its place as “the official” auction of the Concours d’Elegance, hosted at the Ritz-Carlton.
Bonhams At Fernandina’s City Golf Course
Bonhams’ presence on Amelia Island dates back to 2015 (2023 was their 9th sale here). The Bonhams pavilion is located on Fernandina’s city golf course, the auction’s entry from the Amelia Island Parkway (directly across from the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport).
Bonhams Headline Car — 1937 Bugatti
Bonhams featured a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Sports Tourer (Lot 150) at their March 2, 2023 auction located at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. The pre-sale estimated value range was between $10 to $12 million.
This same 1937 Bugatti actually sold here on Amelia Island back in 2016, at Bonhams auction that year, achieving a price of $9.735 million seven years ago. Since then, this rare car had undergone some restoration work at additional cost.
“The star car at today’s Bonhams auction, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Sports Tourer, was bid to $8,500,000, but did not receive the reserve,” (the outcome shared via Twitter, March 2, 2023 by @eClassicAutos).
Bonhams highest-priced car sold for $1,930,000, a 1966 Ferrari 500 Superfast SII Coupe. The total sales reported at Bonhams 2023 Amelia Island auction was reported at $12.8 million (78% sell-through rate). Another Bonham lot sold that many folks will likely be familiar with was Bonham’s Hollywood movie car. See Ferris Bueller’s Red Ferrari movie car sold in Fernandina Beach.
Broad Arrow’s Inaugural Amelia Island Auction
A Hagerty company, Broad Arrow Auctions’ inaugural Amelia Island sale featured a 1968 Porsche 907K (lot 155) with pre-sale estimated hammer range of $4.5 to $5.5 million. The race car is pictured above at Amelia Island’s Peters Point beach parking lot where tractor trailers unload and then reload hundreds of rare collector vehicles during the Amelia Concours and associated auctions. This Porsche 907K was driven by “Quick Vic” Elford when he achieved victory at the 1968 Targa Florio, according to Broad Arrow. The race car was bid up to $4 million during the auction, but ended without sale (it remains available at $4.7 million). Broad Arrow’s highest-priced car sold turned out to be a 2015 McLaren P1 (Lot 137), at $2,425,000. The newest auction to debut here, Broad Arrow Auctions reported its first Amelia Island sale results at $31 million (81% sell-through rate).
Looking Ahead To First Weekend In March 2024
“The Amelia” Concours d’Elegance will next be held February 29 – March 3, 2024, the 29th annual show. For car enthusiasts who’ve never experienced Amelia Island during the several days of assorted events, it’s a destination for the bucket list.
Learn More About Collector Car Market
Self-described by their corporate tag line, Hagerty “exists for people who love cars.” For those who’d like to expand car knowledge and follow this asset class, Hagerty offers a monthly “Market Rating” and various collector car indices.