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Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance ... the honouree 2020 was Roger Penske aka “The Captain”


The Penske Team with Borg Warner Trophy

The Penske Team with Borg Warner Trophy

 

 

Amelia Island, 7 March, 2020 - The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance celebrated its silver anniversary with the 25th edition, which was held in its regular location, of the 10th and 18th fairways of the Golf Club at Amelia Island, adjacent to the event’s host Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Each year over the past quarter of a century, event chairman Bill Warner and his team have gathered superb arrays of automobiles and motorcycles of multiple genres for the delectation of the visitors, and 2020 was no exception. Each year there is an honouree, and for 2020 it was Roger Penske aka “The Captain”. He was a proficient race driver during his racing career, but today is renowned not only for the race teams that he has run through the years, with many diverse accolades and championship wins to their credit, but also as an astute businessman, with  expansive international business portfolio. In the UK the Penske Organisation is the owner of Maranello Sales Ltd and the associate Maranello Ferrari Service and Classic Parts divisions. An indication of the esteem in which he is held, was that in October 2019 he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the USA.

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To try and put into perspective the achievements of the Penske racing team, over a 53 year period they have won more than 540 races spanning a variety of series, with 13 national championships and an incredible 18 Indianapolis 500 race wins. As is the custom at the concours there was a class for the cars of the honouree, and in fact this year there were four, one for cars that he had driven, another for Team Penske cars and one for Team Penske Sunoco, plus one specifically for his team’s cars that had won the Indianapolis 500, in commemoration of the large number of victories. The cars on display certainly provided an eclectic array of machinery, exemplifying the diversity of the Penske team’s spectrum of activity. They ranged from some of the cars that he raced early in his career, like a 1956 Porsche 550A Spyder and a Ferrari 250 GTO, chassis # 3987GT, through examples of the cars run by his team through the years including the monster Porsche 917/30 CanAm car, resplendent in the blue and yellow Sunoco livery, coming up to date with a 2018 Acura ARX-05 DPi IMSA car and a 2019 Ford Mustang GT V8 Supercar, with some 30 plus examples in between. The Indy winning class comprised of five examples, from the McLaren M16B/Offenhauser that gave Team Penske their first win in 1972, to the Dallara DW12/Chevrolet that gave them their most recent win in 2019.

The show encompassed 36 classes for cars and another for motorcycles, within which there were further celebratory classes, these being for the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows, the cars of Harley Earl, Porsche Firsts,  Mid-Engine Corvette Prototypes and two classes for the Cars of Scaglietti, to celebrate the centenary of his birth, one for production cars and the other for race cars. Sergio Scaglietti’s son Oscar* was scheduled to be an honoured judge, but due to the coronavirus situation in Italy in the weeks leading up to the show, was unable to attend. There were twenty cars entered in the two Scaglietti classes, all but one being Ferraris, the outsider being one of three Chevrolet Corvettes that he bodied in 1959. It is said that when Enzo Ferrari visited his shop and saw one of the Corvettes, he enquired what it was, who it was for and how many was he building? Scaglietti is understood to have replied that it was a Corvette for an American client and he was building three, to which it is reported that Ferrari replied “Good. If you do one more, you’ll never do another car for me”.

In the Scaglietti production car class the cars on display ranged from a 250 GT LWB California prototype, chassis # 0769GT, through a 250 GT TdF Berlinetta, chassis # 0903GT, a 250 GTO, chassis # 3527GT, and others, including one of ten  275 GTS4 NART Spiders, chassis # 10139, to a 365 GTS4 “Daytona” spider chassis # 16857. In the race car class they ranged from a 375 MM Spider, chassis # 0366AM, through a 750 Monza, chassis # 0510M, a 500 Mondial, chassis # 0580MD, plus others through to a 250 Testa Rossa, chassis # 0724TR, so a broad overview of Scaglietti bodied Ferraris, not to forget the Previously mentioned Corvette. The Best in Class - Scaglietti Production award, went to the 1957 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder Prototype, chassis # 0769GT, of Robert Bishop, whilst the Best in Class - Scaglietti Race award went to the 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza, chassis # 0510M, of Patrick and Carolyn Ottis. A Ferrari also collected Best in Class in the Race Cars 1946-1962 class, this being the 1950 Ferrari 166 MM Berlinetta Touring, chassis # 0026M, of Jack and Kingsley Croul. Another Ferrari Best in Class award, this time in - Sports and GT Cars 1958-1964 went to the 1959 Ferrari 410 Superamerica, chassis # 1323SA, belonging to The Cogan Collection. The Scaglietti Award – For The Most Historically Significant Scaglietti Bodied Ferrari, went to the 335 Sport, chassis # 0700, entered by Scuderia N.E.

Lest it be thought that Ferraris were the only Italian cars on the show field, this was definitely not the case, as there was a broad variety of marques spread through the various classes, including some rare gems. The oldest example was a 1907 Fiat Targa Florio Racer, one of five built, which finished 2nd in the race that year driven by Vincenzo Lancia, who the previous year had founded his eponymous marque. There were some pre-war Alfa Romeos, including a 1931 Brianza bodied Monza and a very original Tipo B P3 from 1934, entered by the enthusiastic petite blond from England, Jenny Taylor. Definitely worthy of note were a couple of unique examples in the Sports & GT Car classes, namely a Ghia bodied 1953 Abarth 1100 SS, and a 1959 OSCA Prototipo with duo-tone  red and black coachwork by Michelotto.  For rally car fans there were a pair of Group 4 examples, an Alitalia liveried Fiat 131 Abarth and a Lancia Stratos, whilst on display at the Ritz-Carlton entrance was the resurrected De Tomaso name with the P72 in a very eye catching powder blue. The unique 1965 P70 sports racer was on display alongside it on the Saturday, but was absent on the Sunday.

Within the show field totalling well over 300 vehicles, there were also classes for some rarities, including the Lozier, a car that many people will never have heard of, but it was the most opulent, expensive and fastest American car of the “brass era”, with production running between 1905 and 1916. The Amelia Island Concours always comes up with at least one “off the wall” class, and this year it was “Rolling Bones” for back to the roots hot rods, and another called “That’s Cute”, with the likes of a 1938 American Bantam Roadster, a 1942 Mathis VL 333 3-Wheler and a BMW Isetta 300 Bubble Car. There was also a special display of possibly the most outrageous custom car ever built, which was the “Golden Sahara”, the 1955 creation of custom car legend George Barris. This unique offering, built on a 1953 Lincoln Capri, was so long, that in period Motor Trend magazine had to feature its profile vertically on the cover. It is truly a show stopper, with white pearlescent paintwork and 24 carat gold plated fittings, and when fitted with the specially produced Goodyear Neothane synthetic tyres, which were translucent and could be illuminated in different colours, it was an amazing vision. On a more practical note, it also featured many innovative features that were way ahead of its time, like sensors in the bumpers that would stop the car if something was in its path, voice operated controls, remote locking, and even turn indicators in the hub caps.

There are a number of offerings as preludes to the main event, including a tour on the Friday morning, “Cars & Coffee” on the show field on the Saturday morning, and the MotorXpo exhibition across the street, which is free to enter and also runs concurrently with the main show, plus a number of forums and symposiums. The “Cars & Coffee” gathering attracted a large number of local classic enthusiasts and car clubs, with Alfa Romeo having a very good turn-out. Within their number were two of the three Dodge Viper based, Zagato built and Alfa Romeo badged, TZ3s in the USA, a 2600 and a Montreal. One of the guests this year was the Frenchman Gérard Larrousse, whose motorsport career encompassed rallying, sports car racing cars and F1, the latter as a driver, team manager for Renault then as a team owner over the years. Courtesy of the Miles Collier Collection at The Revs Institute, he was reunited with the Porsche 911R that he drove to victory with co-driver Maurice Gélin in the 1969 Tour de France, with an interesting Q&A session on the show field on the Saturday morning.

In conjunction with the show, three major auction companies hold significant auctions, the official auction company of the concours, RM Sotheby’s on site at the Ritz-Carlton, Gooding & Company at the nearby Amelia Island Plantation, together with Bonhams at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club.  The Bonhams auction was held on the Thursday preceding the show, and started with an impressive array of automobilia and memorabilia, all of which sold. They had a top sale of a 1932 Bugatti T35 Super Sport Roadster, which achieved $7,100,000, whilst a 1907 Renault Type AI 35/45HP Vanderbilt Racer made an impressive $3,332,000 and a Ferrari 330 GTS sold for $1,475,000 (post auction sale). Probably the most surprising figure achieved was the $456,000 for a Dune Buggy that had appeared in the film The Thomas Crown Affair. The Gooding & Company auction on the Friday realised total sales of $20.7+ million, with a 93% sell-through rate, their biggest sale being a 1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Torpédo Phaeton which was hammered for a final price of $2,205,000. The RM Sotheby’s auction started on the Friday afternoon and ran through Saturday. They had the largest contingent of Ferrari models on offer, thirteen in total, all but one of which found new homes. Their total sales figure was $35.8 million, with a 94% sell-through rate, and seven cars selling above the $1 million mark, including three of the Ferraris on offer. The Ferrari Enzo was their overall top sale, achieving $2,782,500, whilst the 250 GT Lusso made $1,600,000 and the 250 GT S2 PF Cabriolet sold for £1,352,500. All figures quoted include buyer’s premium. Although the sell-through rates were high, most of the sales were either below, or within the estimate for the car, showing a more sensible rationale to the market.

Getting back to the concours, the “Silver Arrows” display was impressive ranging from a 1935 W25 Grand Prix car to a 2014 W 05 F1 car, with a 1938 W154 Grand prix car in partial cut-away form along the way. Also impressive was the class for mid-engine Corvette prototypes, which was very apt with the recent launch of the first production mid-engine Corvette, the C8, which was also on display in coupe, roadster and C8.R racing forms. There were so many spectacular cars of all ages on the field, many with interesting histories or stories that you could probably write a book on them. However, another display worthy of note even if the cars weren’t that attractive, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, was the trio of Scimitars. No, before you think Reliant Scimitar, these were three concept cars funded by the Olin Aluminium Company, to promote the material’s use in car construction. One was a coupe-convertible, another a sedan-town car and the third one was a station wagon featuring an opening rear roof section. They were based on Chrysler New Yorker chassis’, and built at the Reutter coachworks in Germany, a company more usually associated with Porsches. The designer was the renowned Brook Stevens, and they took their name from the scimitar shaped sculpting of the side panels, that defined the join line between the steel and aluminium panels. All three were shown at the 1959 Geneva Motor Show, and all three have survived the passage of time. Mention of styling leads to another class, this one for cars designed by the legendary Harley Earl, who was Vice President of General Motors Styling for some three decades. The cars ranged from a 1932 Cadillac V16 Madame X, through the 1951 GM Le Sabre concept car, which he used as personal transport, to a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Harley Earl Styling concept car.

After all the class and corporate awards, it was time for the Best of Show awards bringing the show to a close, with the Best of Show Concours de Sport trophy going to the 1973 Porsche 917/30 CanAm Spyder of Rob Kauffman from Charlotte, North Carolina, and the trophy for the Best of Show Concours d’Elegance went to the 1929 Duesenberg J-218 Town Limousine from the Lehrman Collection in Palm Beach, Florida.  In closing, at the awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon, as a tribute to Roger Penske’s gracious attendance, Bill Warner quipped “Roger Penske is never normally anywhere for more than an hour, and we have had him for four days!”

*Subsequent to the submission of this report it was learned that Oscar Scaglietti passed away on 24 March, after what the local newspaper described as a “long illness” (not coronavirus related), our thoughts are with all his family and friends.

Keith Bluemel         
03/2020

Ferraris at the Amelia Island Auctions 2020

Lot #

Model

Colour

Chassis #

Sale Price

 

Bonhams

05 March 2020

 

 

103

Mondial QV

Blue Met’

54691

$22,400

150

365 GT 2+2

Red

13989

$172,480

153

330 GTS

Gold

9791

$1,475,000

197

Dino 246 GTS

Red

07658

$268,800

212

Mondial t Cabriolet

White

86306

$26,880

 

Gooding & Company

06 March 2020

 

 

7

Testarossa

Red

87876

$103,040

11

458 Speciale Aperta

Yellow Met’- Blue & White Stripes

218482

$654,000

21

Dino 246 GT

Red Met’

05020

NS

23

F12 TdF

Yellow Met’-Green, Black & Red Stripes

218583

$731,000

30

F355 Spider

Black

?

W/drawn

43

250 GT LWB California Spider

Red Met’

0937 GT

NS

70

812 Superfast

Yellow Met’

235933

$329,500

85

430 Scuderia Spider 16M

Red

167474

$257,600

 

RM Sotheby’s

06/07 March 2020

 

 

121

575 Superamerica

Red

146649

$268,800

127

599 GTO

Red

177175

$566,000

141

F40

Red

92978

NS

142

512 BB

Red

52817

$252,000

145

575M

Pale Gold Met’

133420

$109,200

146

Enzo

Red

132654

$2,782,500

154

512 TR

Red

96223

$229,600

156

360 Spider

Red

138805

$117,600

161

308 GTB “Vetroresina”

Red

19397

$165,200

236

250 GT Lusso

Blue

5183 GT

$1,600,000

243

250 GT S2 PF Cabriolet

Grey Met’

2587 GT

$1,352,500

249

365 GTB4

Yellow

16109

$500,000

265

550 Barchetta Prototipo

Red

121680

$423,000