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						Amelia 2021

Amelia Island Concours 2021 Recap

By Dean Larson

The 2020 Concours event at Amelia Island was the last in-person event most of us attended before the COVID pandemic hit, so it felt like something of a triumphant return to walk through the gates at the Ritz-Carlton one year and three months later. Attendance was possibly down a little, but looking across the packed Concours lawn and bustling crowds of car lovers, it was hard to notice. We were juggling a few obligations during the trip, but had an opportunity to watch some auctions and see some of the Concours, which never ceases to disappoint.

Our weekend started at Bonhams, where we watched a fairly impressive array of prewar cars cross the block for what seemed like solid money. Top sales included a 1934 Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster, which fetched $4.9 million, and a 1934 Mercer Type 35K Runabout that sold way above its estimate at $2,425,000. Other interesting lots in our opinion were a Rolls-Royce EX Phantom re-creation powered by a 27-liter Meteor V12, a Jag-powered 1953 RGS Atlanta roadster and a 1964 Dodge 330 Hemi lightweight sedan, but more on that later. RM Sotheby’s hammered away 95.29% of their lots on Saturday, totaling $42,174,340, with the highlight being a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Torpedo Convertible that fetched $5.725 million. Russo and Steele and Gooding & Company did not hold in-person events this year, but Gooding did host an online event that brought in $16.1 million.

The weekend’s main event was undoubtedly the Concours d’Elegance, where the Best in Show Concours d’Elegance trophy was awarded to a 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet, and the Best in Show Concours de Sport trophy was awarded to the 1974 Shadow DN4. But with so many fantastic cars on the golf course greens, we didn’t envy the judges’ task. Among our (extensive) list of standouts from the show was Bill Jenkins’ nine-second Camaro Grumpy’s Toy IV, a Chevrolet Impala lightweight drag car and a handful of road-racing Corvettes. I was personally taken aback by a 1953 Woodill Wildfire that was one of two cars used in the movie Johnny Dark, along with an unrestored 289 Cobra that was walled up in a garage for a few decades.

But for sure my most notable experience from the Concours event was conversing with the owner of Porsche 550-07. I was infatuated with the car’s aerodynamic body panels, and struck up a conversation with the owner. He had spent years tracking the car and was able to purchase it in the early 1990s. A full restoration followed, but only after he dutifully researched the car’s various configurations for 16 years. Built as one of three early 550 Spyder prototypes, the car was the first Wendler 550 body to be mounted on a Wendler chassis, No. 550-0043. The car’s bodywork was altered many times by Prosche, and it was driven by ace pilots Herbert Linge, Auguste Veuillet, Annie Bousquet and more. In 1955, the special aerodynamic panels were added at Wendler for upcoming speed record attempts, and the car set a record of 143.3 mph that year with Bousquet driving.

Off the 100 or so 550 Spyders that were built, 550-07 definitely has a unique history of its own, and I was elated that its owner so freely shared it with me. I left the experience, and the event in general with one prevailing thought — it’s great to talk cars again.

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