Amelia Island, 2012

  • Things were busy around the shop this winter stepping up a notch come the beginning of March. With 3 major projects just completing restoration and the trucks set to head for Amelia Island on the 6th we had our plates full. A few shots of what all that fuss was about follow to illustrate the point:

    BENTLEY MARK 6 DROPHEAD BY PARK WARD

  • MOMO MIRAGE

  • SIATA 300BC ROADSTER

  • The crew did a great job and all were completed, tested, aboard and on their way with time to spare. In an artisan’s enterprise such as ours, It is always nail biting when deadlines loom. This mindset wants to have the door continually open for “further perfection” and a deadline means that door has to find its latch. Closure achieved we felt we had it just right. We all looked forward to the event.

    Next stop, Amelia Island Florida: Cars arrive safe and sound. ARI’s Nigel Griffin made good time and is all setup with our 5th wheel trailer nicely situated come Thursday evening. Friday and Saturday are given over to attending Amelia’s wonderful range of interesting offerings and auctions with a good measure of final exhibit vehicle preparation and polishing knowingly included. Sunday starts early so NOW is that last chance, the time is appreciated to be sure “our” cars are at their best. Preparation is job one but there are cars and car people and good times to be had. All in our group manage to get together for a nice dinner at the Beach Street Grill Friday night where many a tale is told amid the revelry of event guest and judge Brain Redman’s birthday celebrations. He’s got a birthday tune we all savor joining in on while absorbing the infectious spirit exuded by this driver sublime and “car man” of the very first order.

    Ah daylight savings time…Spring ahead..Fall back about covers it! Saturday the 10th is the night of transition such that Sunday AM comes a bit extra early. Just a bit bleary eyed we are and the sun is not up as we meet our exhibitors at the cars come 6:30AM. It feels exactly like 5:30 to us all, but the cars are non-plused. They each fire up on cue, look superb and sound just right as all go off for placement on what will prove to be an absolutely superb field of cars and dreams. It is a long but extremely rewarding day, as the prizes unfold we are pleased to find that 2 of the 3 we tend are award winners. Further, we find that an Aston Martin DB5C we restored a couple of years ago has sold at the RM auction on Saturday for a world record price. We revel in the fact that quality sells and, though most of the credit goes to Aston and RM, we do feel at least a small part of this success.

  • The 3 vehicles in our Amelia 2012 fold were all complete restorations and of dramatically varied vehicular flavors. On that note here’s a brief account of each car’s day at The 2012 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance:

    We started Momo chassis 103 well over one year ago. We restored the chassis and sent it to Italy for completion and restoration of the body under the guidance of Paolo Garella who artfully employs the craft culture that created the original. Chassis and body returned for some final fettle and then off it went to its exhibit debut at Amelia’s very special “Road and Track Magazine” cover cars exhibit. The pictures tell the story best; owner Peter Kalikow, Paolo and we at Automotive Restorations were pleased to see it win 1st place in this terrific award class.

  • We had less to do on the Beautiful Bentley Mark 6 Park Ward drophead convertible as Kurt Braunstein & Bobby Rubio got up early and placed it nicely on the field. We assisted, but Ed, family and the always reliable Kurt & Bobby crew saw to all the details. The whole group had a great day but a flight to catch so it was Kathy and I who took the ride up to the award presentation where we were pleased to accept Ed’s 2nd place award in what was an exceptional group of Bentley Motorcars. Perhaps the best shot of the day was when prior owner Dale Powers found his old car on the field. He seemed genuinely pleased to see it in its freshly restored state. Those who appreciate the art of the automobile are custodians of these fine machines and the bond of caring about the cars is an enjoyable shared value that Dale and Ed enjoyed.

  • Well…..We’ve saved the best…or have we just put the smallest car at the end of the line? What a story, what a history, what a car and what a lot of fun we’ve all had with this one! Siata 300BC #ST403BC was an exceptionally interesting project made all the better by co-owners Mark Bean and Jim Utasky’s efforts and enthusiasm. The history of this small but superbly attractive sports racing car is the stuff of motor vehicle legend. It has a place in the development of road racing in United States having run at Watkins Glen’s 1952 road race and other early SCCA events. A great deal more can be found on owner Mark Bean’s web site devoted to the project and this car 300bc.com. Click and have a look, you’ll be glad you did.

    Mark had quite a story to tell our judges, some interesting historical shots follow.

    This little car had a great deal to do in March 2012. It had a double mission on its trip to Florida. First was Amelia on exhibit and very well received. Mid-week arrived and our man Nigel Griffin fired up our rig and was off to Sebring for the next weekends festivities. On arrival we were pleased to be placed into Sebring’s Gallery of Legends museum where crowds had a chance visit the Siata and see some of the cars that have made this American road racing classic such a special one. Come Saturday Siata 300 # 403 was to be the oldest (and surely the prettiest) of a superb field of historic Sebring entrants in the curtain raiser lapping the track before the 12 hour.

  • It could end there, but where’s the human element. The original car on track is one thing. But there’s more, much more! Who’s driving ST403BC for those very special laps? None other than Otto Linton, SCCA founding member, driver of exceptional record and its original support mechanic and sometimes driver. Now 95, Otto is simply amazing. He hopped in and took off with Mark Bean in the riding mechanics seat. Not one to diddle about, Otto and mark really “had a go”. Pictures are worth thousands and thousands of words, I bow out and let this story be finished as follows.