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The Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance is one of the major such events during the year and has been scheduled for March 4th to 7th 2021. A number of special classes have been selected for the Florida event, They are listed as follows, along with a brief summary of the marques and individual cars involved.


Hispano-Suiza


King Alfonso XIII of Spain was himself an enthusiast of the fabled Spanish-Swiss grand marque and owned as many as 30 of its products. His enthusiasm for the marque and its reputation for exquisite engineering made it a favorite of royals, celebrities, heroes of all stripes and even a few literary characters who drove Hispanos across the pages of bestselling fiction when the need to project a sense of wealth and style was required. Every famous European coachbuilder of the custom body epoch dressed Hispanos. Their V-8 engines helped win the air war in WWI. That elegant engineering blood gave the cars that wore the “flying stork” mascot, as the sales brochure put it . . . “vitesse, securite, confort, silence, elegance.” It wasn’t hyperbole. Even today the reputation of Hispano-Suiza ranks it with the greatest, most respected and revered names at the pinnacle of the auto industry.


Porsche 935

The Porsche 935. Photo courtesy of The Brumos Collection.


“The Racers’ Concours” class honors and celebrates the 45th anniversary of the long-lived, fire-belching 200-plus mph Porsche 935 turbos that once ruled international endurance racing. The 935 was the backbone of international endurance racing for nearly a decade and owned championship titles from Daytona to Le Mans and back. Its popularity remains so potent that nearly five decades after its debut Porsche is creating 77 tribute cars to the 935/78 Moby Dick Le Mans racer based on the 911 GT2 RS.



Chevy Thunder


Truly the “heartbeat of America” from Indy, Sebring, Daytona, Le Mans, Pro Stock, Can-Am, Trans-Am, Club Racers, Sprint Cars, Baja & Desert Racers, IROC, F5000, Swamp Buggies, Dune Buggies, Hot-Rods, Kit Cars and even to both inshore and off-shore powerboats, Chevrolet’s small blocks, big-blocks and pure racing engines set records, crushed competitors and dominated practically every type of motorsport for well over half a century. Chevy’s small block V-8 of 1955 was the elegantly simple engineering masterpiece that inspired hot-rodders and race car builders alike. Chevy small block power even sat on the front row of the Indy 500 (in 1981), outran the fabled Offenhausers on dirt tracks, ruled NASCAR’s high banks, short tracks and road courses, won the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and almost totally owned the legendary Can-Am series in its early days (at one point winning 33 races in a row).


1977 Chevrolet Corvette Supervette. Photo courtesy of Canepa Motorsport.


Chevy Thunder is the soundtrack of NHRA Pro Stock competition winning the championship 24 times - more than any other manufacturer. Its impact on American culture even extends to popular music. In 1962 the Beach Boys recorded a song commemorating the power of Chevy’s big block Turbo-Thrust V-8 entitled, appropriately, “409.” Specifically, included in songwriter Gary Usher’s words were “four-speed, dual-quad, Positraction four-oh-nine!” Since its first V-8 in 1917, Chevy V-8 power has touched practically every facet of American life, whether towing trailers, delivering groceries or taking the likes of McLaren, Scarab, Lola, Chaparral, Eagle, Corvette and Camaro to scores of racing victories and championships.



Ferrari 275 GTB


It is hard to imagine a tougher automotive act to follow than Ferrari’s landmark 250GT series. From the mid-fifties to the immortal GTO of 1962, these set the standard, won the races and were the fast-moving targets of every rival GT builder from Los Angeles to Coventry to Stuttgart.

Ferrari 275 GTB. Photo Courtesy of Peter Harholdt.


Unveiled in Paris in 1964, the 275GTB became Ferrari’s first GT to fit modern alloy wheels and utilize independent suspension at each corner. It proved itself in June 1965 with the Belgian racing yellow 275GTB/C finishing third overall and eclipsing the Le Mans distance record of every previous class-winning GTO. The 275 won Le Mans’ GT class again in 1966 and 1967 while, easily the most famous 275GTB -- one of just ten North American Racing Team convertible Spiders built -- was Steve McQueen’s signature ride in the 1968 double Academy Award nominated film The Thomas Crown Affair.


1970 Dodge Charger R/T. Photo Courtesy of Peter Harholdt.


1970s Muscle Cars


Purely American, the Muscle Car brought horsepower to the people with low monthly payments and practically unlimited brute force. Every manufacturer from Chevrolet to Ford, from Buick to Dodge offered an alternative competitor to the Pontiac GTO, the car that started it all in the mid-sixties. The peak of the Muscle Car Era was 1970, just before emission laws and the fuel crisis hobbled Detroit’s horsepower warriors. The 2021 Amelia Concours will host a special display class from the renowned Wellborn Muscle Car Museum in Alexander City, Alabama including a Muscle Car from every manufacturer that ever played Detroit’s high stakes high horsepower game at the overpowered breed’s 1970 showroom apogee.


Supercars of the 80s and 90s


While the term "supercar" dates back to 1920, the descriptor is often associated with the debut of the mid-engine Lamborghini Miura in 1966. The rules to play the supercar game were simple: big exotic engines between the driver and the rear wheels and a body shape that echoed Le Mans prototype contours. The wilder the betterwas the ethos – so enter the Lamborghini Countach, Porsche 959, Ferrari F40, Bugatti EB110, Jaguar XJR-15 and the

Ferrari F50.


Over time the term "supercar" expanded to describe an elite group of sports cars that stand apart in terms of design, performance, technology and price.

For 2021, The Amelia will gather some of the world's most iconic supercars of the 1980s and 1990s onto the main showfield.


Ferrari F40. Photo by Deremer Studios/Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.



Shadow


In 1970, the wildest year of Can-Am competition, everybody seemed to have a better, wilder or weirder idea. None more so than a radical, bizarre, unloved and evil handling little doorstop of a race car spawning a family that would claim the Can-Am Championship, deliver a future World Champion his first F1 victory and compete at the top level of Grand Prix racing. Don Nichols, Shadow Cars chief and a genuine international man of mystery, loved the Shadow radio serials and named his cars and team accordingly. The 2021 Amelia Concours will feature a special Shadow class including the bizarre and radical AVS (Advanced Vehicle Systems) Shadow Mk 1 of 1970, the 1974 Can-Am champion DN4 and Alan Jones’ 1977 Austrian Grand Prix winner, the Shadow DN8A. Shadow designers were an all-star team with world class credentials and imaginations: Trevor Harris, Peter Bryant and Tony Southgate drew the sinister shapes that were instantly recognizable as Shadows, right down to the team’s famous ‘cloaked spy’ logo.


Photographs by Rupert Berrington courtesy of Porsche.


Since 1958, Porsches have won more than forty international hillclimb championships with modified road cars and purpose-built racers. Yet one of Zuffenhausen’s most successful cars was never meant to compete on the mountain roads. Porsche’s world conquering 935 turbo was not created to be a hill climber or to compete or even run on anything other than the smooth pampered circuits of Europe or the purpose-built speedways of North America.


But for 2020, Porsche enthusiast and loyalist Jeff Zwart chose the new 935-19 (a tribute to the Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring winner with only 77 examples built) as the basis of a car for his annual assault of Pikes Peak in Colorado.


The 156 turn, 12.42 miles road up the mountain has no guardrails protecting drivers from its huge drop-offs and is a climb of 14,115 vertical feet to the finish line. It is an unforgiving ‘race to the clouds’ and Zwart has previously set records and scored eight class victories (1994 to 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2015) in the legendary mountain climb, each one powered by Porsche. In 2015, he joined the Nine Minute Club when he became one of the relatively few competitors to post a sub-10-minute time of 9:46.243 as he captured the Time Attack 1 class record. In 2020 he bettered that time by almost three seconds but was bested by another Porsche driver (and fellow member of the Pikes Peak Hall of Fame) David Donner.



Zwart’s Porsche 935-19 is a single-seat race car based on the Porsche 911 GT2 RS road car. The 3,042 lbs. (1380 Kg) rear-engine machine is powered by a twin-turbocharged 700 HP, 3.8-liter flat-six engine. The seven-speed PDK gearbox transfers the power to the rear-wheels.


The bodyshell is created from an aluminum-steel composite with carbon-fiber and Kevlar parts added to improve aerodynamics and overall stability.


“Hill climbing is an exacting motorsport discipline” said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours.as he announced that Zwart’s car will be at the 2021 event.


“There are no second chances, no do-overs; everything has to be inch perfect on every run. Pikes Peak makes it that much harder because there are no guard rails or runoffs.


“A mistake on this mountain has profound and immediate consequences and we are proud that Jeff’s Pikes Peak 935-19 tribute car to the list of Porsche winners and champions that have been part of The Amelia since our founding in 1996.”





Throughout the course of his long career, American author and journalist, Joe Scalzo, has displayed an uncanny knack for unearthing stories about the more colourful and eccentric characters in motorsport. Both of those words perfectly describe Jean-Pierre Van Rossem who made a noisy entrance to Formula One in 1989 and very soon made an even more noisy exit!



Formula One racing these days is a respectable corporate enterprise, and no longer makes room for strange creatures like Jean-Pierre Van Rossem, a bizarre Belgian who described himself as a “beursgoeroe” (a stock market guru) but whose own father labeled him a psychopath, which seemed a far better title. Van Rossem, it may be recalled, was the curiosity who, in the late 1980s, was warmly welcomed for planning to join Formula 1 by sponsoring Team Onyx.


In some ways, Mijnheer Van Rossem, who died in 2014, was admirably respectable. In other ways, eccentric would be a better description. The color of his hair was dignified banker’s grey – though it hung halfway down his back. He dressed in correct evening dress, doing so in the daytime as well as nights. Guarding against the chill, even in the heat of a Brussels summer, he was seldom seen without his white winter shawl. He wore a starched white dress shirt, which he never bothered to tuck in but allowed to freely flow over his formidable beursgoeroe belly. Finally, fleshing out this fascinating sartorial portrait, Van Rossem day and night wore a pair of amber-tinted aviator’s glasses.


Van Rossem was born in Bruges in 1945 and raised in Brussels, but his formative semesters were spent in Ghent at the University, which acquainted him with Karl Marx. The philosophy of Marxism so inflamed him that he grew an anarchist’s beard and, in 1968, set off to promulgate it worldwide, first hurrying to Paris to riot with the rest of the students in the Days of Rage, then heading out to Moscow and Red Square to fire off a complaint about how the comrades in Russia were distorting the true message of Marx.


Next, Van Rossem took his crusade to America aided by a scholarship to the prestigious Wharton School of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. There he discovered computers, stocks and bonds, and the brutal backs-to-the-wall world of the U.S. futures market. All his goals shifted violently and, veering from Marxist to predatory capitalist, he returned to Europe to become a self-proclaimed stock market guru with his own Moneytron investment scheme.


So confident was he in his beursgoeroe abilities that he openly bragged that this scheme would some fine day earn him the Nobel Prize in economics. And many people believed him - even the Belgian Royal Family. Not surprising in that the scheme was already making him so enormously rich that he was opening his own Ferrari salon. At one point he was said to have owned 108 Ferraris as well as two Falcon private jets and a superyacht.


On a rather different level be became hugely interested in slot car racing, purchasing a raceway in Chicago and hosting two major slot-racing meetings in 1988 and 1989 to which he flew in top competitors from around the world.


His next step was motor racing for real, joining Formula One’s 1989 season tournament, where he was, not surprisingly, immediately welcomed as the tourney’s most exotic new member. Laying on some bodyguards, and firing up a few of his Testarossas, he showed up at Monte Carlo as team sponsor of Onyx. This was in spring and the team did feature on the podium that season when Stefan Johansson finished third in the Portuguese Grand Prix. But by winter Van Rossem was already gone, no longer wanting anything to do with F1 - allegedly after having dug up some dirt on the F1 head honcho of the time, Jean-Marie Balestre. Going public with the dirt, Van Rossem sped one of his Testarossas into Paris, to the Hotel Ritz, where he conducted a hysterical press conference in which he excoriated and libeled Balestre by the hour.


By now Van Rossem had courted and married Niki Annys, a siren of what exists of jet-set Flanders, but it was only after the nuptials that Niki shared with Jean-Pierre her macabre secret. This was her opinion that the dead could be restored to life, providing they were refrigerated and not thawed out until the passing of, say, half a century. When Niki died of cancer not long after the marriage, Jean-Pierre set out to honor her wishes but he got into a big fight with the city fathers of Brussels who he claimed were reneging on their promise to allow Niki’s custom-made ice block casket inside the city’s medieval cemetery.


Not long after this, Jean-Pierre surfaced anew, in Antwerp, where he called a standard hysterical, Van Rossem press conference, announcing good and bad news. The good news was that the world had one less capitalist and the bad news was that it was himself. He moaned that he was broke and had lost all his Ferraris. Two shifty Americans, he claimed, had flim-flammed him and clipped him of between $150 million and $300 million – most of which was not his own money but funds invested in his scheme by unsuspecting members of the public.


In fact, Van Rossem himself was held to be responsible for the scheme’s collapse and there was also the matter of his issuing false share certificate that needed to be taken into account. So, in 1991, with all the Ferraris and other trappings of wealth either gone, or going fast, to satisfy his creditors, he was sent to prison for five years, which totally broke his spirit as a stock market guru. While he was incarcerated, he turned his attentions toward literature, self-financing the publishing of one book and threatening to hunt-and-peck dozens more. However, corrosive reviews (even some from his own publishers) of his opus Prison Book, which was based on his personal diaries, made him decide not to be a man-of-letters either.


A switch to politics came after his release when he formed his own libertarian political party, which campaigned under the slogans “No Nonsense, Vote Libertine” and “No Whining, Everybody Rich”. These attracted enough supporters to gain the ROSSEM party three seats in the Belgian Federal Parliament in 1991, with Van Rossem himself serving in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives and the Flemish Parliament until 1995. Even during his respectable political career, Van Rossem was still given to eccentric gestures such as much public posturing on the floor of the Parliament and even bellowing out “Long Live The European Republic” at the coronation of King Albert II of Belgium.


In some ways it is sad that Jean-Pierre Van Rossem only stayed around Fomula One for a few months, It would surely have been more colourful with him around…




After what had turned out to be the most momentous week in an already remarkable life, after his TT and Mallory Park comeback victories back in June 1978, Mike Hailwood wrote down his reactions for Britain's Motor Cycle Weekly newspaper. Here's how he saw it:

"Basically, the whole TT business was a bloody silly idea that turned out to be reasonably good in the end. I’d like to stress, however, that not once during the whole TT period did I stick my neck out. Not once did I have a full-out go - I always had a lot in hand. At most, I rode at eight-tenths, so I'm naturally delighted I was able to lap reasonably fast. But obviously Mallory Park was a different matter."


"Steve Wynne of Sports Motorcycles had told me the Ducati wasn't suited to Mallory - very long wheelbase, and not so much acceleration as the best four-cylinder bikes. So when he agreed to me racing the bike there, he warned me not to expect to win. I really went to Mallory without a great deal of hope. I hadn't raced there for eight or nine years, remember, and the only practice I got was two ten-minute periods in the morning. I don't think I covered more than a dozen laps in all!"


"After the first session, Steve asked me what needed changing. I asked him to lop half an inch off the footrests, and to up the gearing by a tooth on the gearbox sprocket. The Ducati handles so well that I'd been digging the footrests in all over the place, and the gearing was definitely too low. So they set to work with the spanners, and in the second session I was second fastest to John Cowie on a Kawasaki. He was flying, and he had the advantage of also racing in the 250cc class, where he finished a close second to Chas Mortimer, so I thought he was going to win it."


"Steve told me to go easy on the clutch at the start - apparently, it's not the Ducati's best point, and he thought that if I caned it, it might pack up. So I took it easy, and was about tenth going into Gerards (Mallory Park’s first turn). I thought I'd blown it then. I really didn't think I'd be able to get by all those blokes weaving and scratching around in front of me. But once I got going, I managed to scrabble by the field, until I caught up with Cowie and Phil Read, who were battling for the lead.


We both got past Phil on the same lap, and I was making my big effort when we caught up with a lapped rider at Gerards. John was baulked, which allowed me to close right up. I outbraked him going into the Esses, and when I looked round a lap later, I had a nice lead, right to the flag.


“Mind you, my poor old toes took a hammering! I wore my right little toe down to the bone going round the long right-hander at Gerards. I must say I was surprised and very pleased to have won. In some ways I was just as happy about my Mallory win as I had been about the TT. It's one thing to have won in the Isle of Man, where people could always say it was because I knew the circuit better, and so on. But to win at a short circuit is a different matter - it proved I can still scratch a bit, and that pleases me personally!"


Mike Hailwood - June 11, 1978