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Amelia Island 2020 Recap Part One

Amelia Island concours and auctions drive record attendance

Story and Photos by Dean Larson

An overhyped viral outbreak couldn’t stop us from attending the 2020 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, along with some 20,000 other auto enthusiasts, all on location to see the record-breaking auction sales and halo car appearances the event is known for. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the event, along with the non-profit organization of the same name that hosts the show. Along with record-breaking attendance, the 2020 concours hosted an array of historic vehicles, along with honoree attendees and marques.

Given the scope of this event, it’ll take us a few installments to bring you up to speed on all we saw over our three-day hike around Amelia, so stay tuned. But let’s get some big ones handled right off the bat, starting with Roger Penske. As the 2020 honoree of the concours event, Penske was celebrated with a special dinner event, along with a display of around 30 Penske race cars, from Ferrari to Pontiac, and Chevrolet, Porsche and Chaparral. We took special notice of Penske’s Riverside-winning ’63 Pontiac Catalina, along a pair of Porsche Spyders and Corvette Grand Sport No. 004, but more on that later.

The event also recognized other significant people and marques, including the brass-era American manufacturer Lozier, in business from 1900 to 1915 in Detroit. One of the most lavish automobiles available at that time, Lozier produced a few thousand luxury and touring vehicles during its lifespan, with a peak production of 600 automobiles in 1912. Other recognized people include Italian coachbuilder Sergio Scaglietti, who would have turned 100 years old this year, and GM styling chief Harley Earl — each highlighted by a row of automobiles of their influence.

A most impressive display was put together on the concours greens for the mid-engine Corvette as well. If memory serves, nine game-changing Corvette prototypes were displayed, along with the production C8. Seeing the CERV 1 and Astro II up close and personal was a hallowing experience, which definitely puts bold punctuation on the new C8.

Nearby in the Harley Earl display was strikingly beautiful and invaluable Corvette SR-2, worthy of its own feature, along with a stunning ’54 Corvair concept. It’s interesting to note that the histories of these landmark automobiles are still relatively unknown, even among the concours attendees, who mused aloud about what the Corvair’s connection to the early ’Vette must be.

While sports cars, racers and brass-era automobiles are always represented in strength, we were pleasantly surprised to find a rock-solid group of period-correct hot rods on the concours greens. Built in New York at the Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop, the half-dozen or so pre-war Fords made for a dramatic display. Every detail on each of the cars was well thought out with due diligence paid to historical accuracy. These cars were “built just like they used to be,” and I felt I was looking at the most agreeable and pure hot rods I had ever seen; all done in good taste, with the right mix of craftsmanship, correctness and taste.

It's nearly impossible to experience all of Amelia Island in the few short days that the event spans, and even tougher to put into words, so stay tuned for more photos and stories from our trip.

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Amelia Island Events