MOTOR COOLED DOWN, THE HEAT WENT DOWN
THAT'S WHEN I HEARD THAT HIGHWAY SOUND
CADILLAC SITTIN' LIKE A TON O' LEAD
A HUNDRED AND TEN, A HALF A MILE AHEAD
CADILLAC LOOK LIKE IT WAS SITTIN' STILL
AND I CAUGHT MAYBELLINE AT THE TOP OF THE HILL
Perhaps no one has caught the essence of being a Car Guy like Chuck Berry did some 55 years ago in his first big hit, Maybelline.. "That Highway Sound" is what grips us all to a greater or lesser degree. We find it in many places from the tracks to the streets and sometimes even on the 18th Hole.
Concours are written off by some as being more concerned with being social climbing events than actually focusing on the cars themselves. That verdict could not be more wide of the mark when applied to the Amelia Island Concours. Bill Warner, the creator and benevolent dictator behind the concept is a pure car guy, this is reflected on the ingredients that he mixes to create a dish fit for Kings.
Where else can you see an icon of motorsport, the Martini Porsche 917K cheek by jowl with a 1904 Cadillac B? An eclectic approach for sure but one that stretches the viewer, giving a greater appreciation of the amazing car culture that exists for us all to revel in.
This catholic approach brings a broad church, so the lawn saluted the cars of "The King", Richard Petty. This particular #43 is pure automotive art.
And like all Old Masters, this one is signed.
Whatever the exterior, the office is pretty spartan, hitting the wall in this contraption would hurt, big time.
Another featured star of the show was the Porsche 917, celebrating the 50th anniversary of taking Porsche's first outright victory at Le Mans. Even Steve McQueen needs a push sometimes………….
The winning car from 1970 was on display.
There was also an example of the brutal 917/10 with its turbocharged engine, good for 800bhp. It gave owner/driver Hurley Haywood a few surprises, including flipping over at Road Atlanta.
Dream or Nightmare? Ask Ferrari.
Insane or what? The level of detail on this Porsche 956 model defies rational explanation……………..Bravo!
Also defying rational thought but still utterly gorgeous is the "TearDrop" Talbot T150C. This represents the peak of 30s French coach building and styling, the Figoni and Falaschi design is timeless and almost beyond value. More than just a pretty face, examples of this car competed at Le Mans.
More elegance and performance with the Kurtis Kraft Sport. Wally Parks, first editor of Hot Rod, set a record of 142mph at the 1949 Bonneville Speed Week for this class of car.
If there is an Elegance and Performance class, then having seen entries from France and America, it is only fair to give the Germans a crack. The 1952 Le Mans winner, the Mercedes Benz 300SL.
No list would be complete without the Italians and this fantastic Maserati Tipo 61 "Birdcage" that Sir Stirling Moss took to victory in the 1960 Cuban Grand Prix.
A personal favourite, the Ford GT40 MKll.
So much for the straight stuff, there was on view many examples of automotive left field thinking or even plain barmyness. This Lincoln Lebaron was heavily modified and even has a drinks fridge in the rear.
This 1936 Stout Scarab was touted as the car of the future when it first appeared.
With an aliminium construction and Ford Flathead V8 this design prophesised the modern MPV and other utility vehicles.
On the London Underground system if you go stop past Barking you are in Dagenham, so to be "Completely Dagenham" is to mad beyond redemption. This Rolls Royce would fit that description. A body constructed of Peruvian Walnut and composites on a white ash frame. The upholstry is blue faux alligator………………….
Why? I have no good answer, still I have a sneaking admiration for this excess………………..
A three wheeler……………the Davis Devin.
More automotive insanity…the Norman Timbs Special.
A one off, inspired by the streamliner record breaking Audis from the 30s, this amazing creature is based on a humble Buick.
This time it is the turn of the French to lose the plot. The Leyat Helica was produced after the First World War, the idea of "The Plane Without Wings" did not catch on.
From the 50s fashion designer Andy Di Dia comes this other worldly creation.
Built over a period of seven years it finally made an aprearance in 1960. It would have cost over $1.5 million in today's value.
Pop star, Bobby Darin, acquired the vehicle from his friend Di Dia and kept it till his death.
A prize for anyone can identify this machine.
I missed it while chasing round the fairway then did not catch the details when it arrived at the judges' area.
And in the end……………the two top dogs were a Merc and a Maser.
The Amelia Island Concours is without doubt one of the coolest car events on the planet, get along while you can, they usually ban fun in this sort of quantity.