The 14th annual Concours d’Elegance at Amelia Island drew an estimated 20,000 onlookers to the fairways of the Ritz Carlton golf course on Florida’s northeast coast in mid-March. The event was another tribute to the organizational efforts of founder and cochairman Bill Warner, and crowned an outstanding pair of cars as Best in Show for Sport and Elegance.
The latter award went to a stately 1931 Voisin C20 Demi-Berline from The Munder Collection in West Palm Beach, Fla., while the choice of the Sport category was A. Dano Davis’s supercharged 1923 Miller 122 Special that also claimed the Heacock Classic Award as Most Historically Significant Race Car.
Many were the honorees at this event, but foremost among them was Grand Marshall David Hobbs who, in addition to enjoying a broad assemblage of cars that he drove during his illustrious career, also addressed the event’s gala dinner sponsored by Mercedes-Benz to commemorate the 75th anniversary of its famed prewar squad of Silver Arrows.
Amelia Island 2009 also marked the 50th anniversaries of the only Indycar race ever run at Daytona International Speedway and the inaugural U.S. Grand Prix at Sebring; one-of-a-kind events that were never repeated as the USGP moved on to other venues, and USAC decided its open-wheelers simply were not suited for Daytona’s 31-degree banking.
The Sebring milestone was celebrated with a special class won by Joel Finn’s ex-Jack Brabham Cooper T51-Climax—the Australian clinched the first of his three World Championships that day—while the unique Daytona outing was marked with a seminar featuring Indy legends Parnelli Jones, Bobby Unser, and Johnny Rutherford, who were joined by the event’s winner, Jim Rathmann.
Also honored were Bob Tullius and his Group 44 racing team, with a special gathering for former team cars resplendent in the famous white with green Group 44 livery. This was another special class, with top honors taken by Bob Boller’s Jaguar XJR-5.