Spectators at the 2017 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance were treated to some truly exceptional sights on and off the show field at the Golf Club of Amelia Island. From the first winner of the Indianapolis 500 to the pair of Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-Types, this year’s Concours d’Elegance highlighted an amazing selection of cars that competed on the Amelia show field.
Choosing favorites at an event like the Amelia Island Concours is tougher than it sounds, as virtually of all the entrants are the best of the best in their respective categories. While the task was difficult and we gave it our best efforts, we welcome your comments below if we missed your favorite.
In no particular order, here are the Top 15 race cars from Amelia we would like to see at the SCD Garage:
1955 Jaguar D-Type – The overall winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1956, raced by Ninian Sanderson and Ron Flockhart for Ecurie Ecosse. XKD 501 retains its original chassis, body and engine from its victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This D-Type sold for $21.78 million at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale in 2016, a result that ranks the car as the most valuable British car ever sold at auction.
1982 Mazda RX-7 IMSA GTU Race Car – Built by Jim Downing and Downing/Atlanta Racing this RX-7 competed in the IMSA GTU class from 1982 – 1987. Known best as the Malibu Grand Prix RX-7, wearing its distinctive white and blue with red arrow livery, this chassis is the winningest RX-7 in history and one of the winningest single cars in all of sports car racing. In total, this car won five IMSA season championships in a row and 21 race wins including Daytona 24 Hour and Sebring 12 Hour wins in 1984.
1911 Marmon Wasp – Ray Harroun drove the Marmon Wasp to victory at the inaugural Indianapolis 500 race in 1911, at an average speed of 74.6 mph. Harroun designed the six-cylinder Marmon Wasp, so named for its yellow and black color scheme, from stock Marmon engine components. Unlike most race cars of the period, the Wasp was built with a smoothly-cowled cockpit and a long, pointed tail to reduce air drag. Harroun piloted the Marmon without the aid of a riding mechanic, the only driver to do so. His rivals objected because they assumed he would be unaware of cars overtaking him. This issue was resolved by what many believe to be the first ever rear-view mirror on an automobile.
1980 Lancia Beta Monte Carlo – In 1979 Lancia returned to sports-car racing for the first time in 25 years by fielding turbocharged Beta Monte Carlo coupes in the Group 5 “Silouette” category. These cars, flamboyantly striped in bright colors, won the 1980 and 1981 world titles in the under-two-liter class. This particular Lancia Turbo won in class at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1981.
1967 Toyota 2000 GT – Serial #1 of 351 Toyota 2000 GTs ever produced. It was prepared and campaigned by Carroll Shelby for Toyota Motor Corp’s inaugural U.S. racing program in SCCA C-Production. Having been prepared for racing in Japan, MF10-10001 was chosen as the development car for the Shelby/Toyota project. MF10-10001 was piloted to several podium finishes by Porsche driver Davie Jordan along side teammate Scooter Patrick in the 1968 SCCA C-Production season.
1965 Alfa Romeo GTA – Developed by Alfa’s Autodelta race shop, this Alfa was purchased by Knauz Auto in Illinois and raced with great success by its employee Horst Kwech and co-driver Gaston Andrey. They were the Under 2-Liter Trans-Am Series Champions in 1966 and Kwech went on to race the GTA in SCCA where he won the B Sedan National Championship.
1966 Triumph TR4A – This Triumph TR4A IRS (Independent Rear Suspension) was purchased new from a Triumph dealership in Daytona Beach, FL. by Dr. Carl Schwenker. It was prepared to race in the 1967 Daytona 24-Hour Continental. The car received FIA homologation and was entered in Group GP3-GT. The drivers were Ara Dube and Dana Kelder and they finished 1st in the over 2-liter GT Class. The car is powered by a 2138 cc 4-cylinder engine developing 150 horsepower. The current owner restored this car to its original racing configuration.
1969 Porsche 917K – Featured in the Steve McQueen cult classic on endurance racing, “Le Mans”, this 1969 Porsche 917 was sponsored by the Gulf Wyer Team and led literally two lives during its World Manufacturer’s Championship run. Chassis 004 was originally numbered 017. Unfortunately, 004 was crashed at the ’70 Brands Hatch race and recoverable parts were transferred to 017 and its number was changed to 004. Thus it depends on one’s interpretation as to whether the history of this car begins with the first appearance of the original 004 or the original 017. It competed in a number of races in Europe and scored a win at the 1970 Spa-Francorchamps 1,000 Kms with Pedro Rodriquez and Leo Kinnunen at the wheel. It also achieved several top 10 finishes with such drivers as Brian Redman, Jo Siffert and David Piper.
1987 Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo – Geoff Brabham drove chassis 8801 to the IMSA Drivers Championship in 1988 and ’89. Nicknamed “Elvis” because it was the king of the track in 1988, at one point the 850 horsepower race car won eight races in a row against Porsche, Toyota, Jaguar, Ford and GM’s best prototypes.
1971 Porsche 914-6 GT – One of eleven 914-6 GTs built by the Porsche factory, Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood piloted the 914 to victory at its first race in 1971 at Virginia International Raceway. They went on to win two more overall races, five class victories and the IMSA GT Championship.
1966 Shelby 427 Cobra – Known as “King Cobra”, this Cobra is the only Motion Performance Cobra which has ever set up for drag racing by Joel Rosen at his Baldwin New York shop. CSX 3159 left Shelby American’s factory in Los Angeles, California in late 1965. The original owner purchased the car for the sole purpose to go drag racing. It was immediately taken to Motion Performance and Joel Rosen to set up the car to compete for the NHRA national record. Rosen drove the Cobra three hours from his shop in Baldwin, New York to Atco Dragway in Atco, New Jersey. After installing racing slicks and changing spark plugs, Rosen’s first outing in the “King Cobra” broke the AA/SP national record at 10.67 ET. It also set the NASCAR national record with a 10.40 ET @ 130mph. In 1968, the Cobra set the NHRA national record at 10.30 ET @ 133 mph. For many years the King Cobra enjoyed complete domination of the Northeast sports car production classes.
1968 Mirage M2/300 – The Mirage M2 was constructed in 1968 by John Wyer for the 1969 World Sportscar Championship. Sponsored by Gulf Oil, powered by a BRM Formula One 3-liter V-12 engine developing approximately 370 hp, it’s configured as raced in the 1969 Nurburgring 1000 km with the original two-valve heads and Lucas mechanical injection mated to a ZF five-speed transaxle. Tested by Ickx and Oliver and raced by David Hobbs and Mike Hailwood, with a seventh place finish at Spa, the “03” BRM Mirage is seldom seen example of John Wyer Automotive’s innovative engineering design and execution.
1959 Maserati Tipo 60/61 Streamliner Birdcage – This car, chassis 2451, is the prototype of the so-called “Birdcage” Maseratis. It started life as a two-litre Tipo 60, was tested and successfully race by Stirling Moss and others for Maserati until sold as a Tipo 61 with a three-litre engine to the Camoradi Racing team of “Lucky” Casner. This was the start of a successful racing career culminating in racing at Le Mans with U.S. drivers Masten Gregory and Chuck Daigh.
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupe – The current owner purchased this “Gullwing” in 1983. It was restored and attended the 1986 Mercedes-Benz 100 Year Anniversary Celebration at Monterey and Laguna Seca Race track. In 1994 it was set up for vintage racing and campaigned throughout the country. In 2001, it was entered at Speed Week on the Bonneville Salt Flats. A serious case of ‘Salt Fever’ resulted in a 15 year assault on the F/GT record. In August 2016 a Mercedes M104 sedan engine built by Roush’s Competition Engines was installed. A new F/GT record of 190.759 mph was achieved.
1950 Ferrari 166 MM / 195S Berlinetta Le Mans – This MM Le Mans Berlinetta was first owned by Scuderia Ferrari and experienced a successful racing career. Chassis 0066M had fitted the larger and more powerful 195S specification engine that was a water-cooled, single-overhead-cam, V-12 of 2.34 liters developing 180 horsepower coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission. This example remains authentic retaining its original hand-beaten aluminum coachwork complete with original engine, gearbox and rear axle.
[Source: Amelia Island Concours; photos: Sports Car Digest]
Beautiful photos but no credit to the photographer. Why ?
Glad you enjoyed them! All were taken by our staff. We credited Sports Car Digest at the end of the story.
History of the 917 chassis 004 (from 017) is incorrect. It is not the Spa winner from 1970 (that race was won by Siffert and Redman in chassis 014).