Amelia Island, 2009

Early March is a great time to escape Northeastern winter and head south. We found ourselves and some of our friends very much in accord. Bill Warner’s terrific Amelia Island Concour d’Elegance seemed just the place to be, so we prepared and loaded:

1. Michael Jacobs Superb Mercedes Benz “Gullwing” coupe,
2. Harvey Siegel’s striking Kurtis Craft roadster,
3. Henry Miller’s enticing Aston Martin DB5C Vantage spec convertible,
4. Larry Durocher’s RROC national award winning Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II Drophead
5. A pair of Siatas seldom seen and never shown together before…..
6. The last time out for Michael Schwartz’s Siata 208S roadster having just undergone a restoration in our shops was Pebble Beach where it garnered its first award. Michael has since added one of the exceptionally rare Siata 208 coupes to his collection and the pair were aboard for all to see at Amelia 2009.

The trip to Florida for the Amelia Island Concours went like clockwork for our semi driver Harvey Thompson …until about the Georgia state line. Harvey noted his handsome and tidy…not to mention low mileage Kenworth tractor a bit rougher than usual…along with some un-characteristic smoke out the stack. A stop at the dealer in Savannah confirmed the worst; engine failure imminent and rebuild in order. The deal was done in an hour, a loaner Kenworth was hooked to our trailer and Harvey was off to Amelia with a promise to have us our tractor back, new motor installed and running by the time Monday rolled around. This sort of service and parts availability is surely a treat for technicians like us who are used to scouring and rebuilding the needed bits the hard way. Grateful when it all works this easily hardly covers it…though it’s never cheap.

The ARI crew arrive Thursday afternoon; I fly in while ARI stalwarts Michael Rolls and Nigel Griffin make the trip in a Dualie hooked to a 5th wheel trailer. In that are a pair of very special Cooper race cars with some very important duties. Joel Finn’s T59 F1 Cooper is set to be displayed in the Ritz Carlton lobby as a key Amelia exhibit. Rob Burt’s sister car is attending Amelia in a passive capacity then both are bound for a retrospective exhibition with Geoff Brabham driving at Sebring raceway one week after Amelia. 2009 is the 50th anniversary of Cooper’s Type 59 win of the US Grand Prix at Sebring hence the display and high speed road test activity. Six cars to get “just so” and on the show field and Coopers into lobbies means we have plenty to do; time mto get to work!

Unlike 2008, 2009 weather for the event is delightful. Harvey takes good care to get all unloaded CAREFULLY. We fuss and polish and clean and detail in the warm sun. We get ahead of the game well enough for a bit of Saturday afternoon area sightseeing then it’s up early Sunday to get the exhibits in place and ready for judging. All goes well, all our friends have a good day and Michael is delighted to win the Best Sports and GT car award with his Siata 208BS Balbero coupe while Ann Finn’s Cooper was the recipient of the 50th Anniversary of the U.S.G.P. at Sebring award.

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Pictures really are worth far more than a thousand words. They tell the story of a field of absolutely beautiful machinery and a great day for car lovers one and all. Well done Michael, well done Bill Warner and well done to all those who work so hard to make the Ameila Island Concour d’Elegance one of the year’s events not to be missed.