AMELIA ISLAND CONCOURS - 2021 SPECIAL CLASSES
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”