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The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is an automotive charitable event held each year during the second weekend in March on the Amelia Island Golf Links at Amelia Island, Florida. A New York Times article about celebrity car ownership listed "the nation's top concours d'elegance: Pebble Beach in California, Meadow Brook in Michigan, Amelia Island in Florida and the Louis Vuitton Classic in midtown Manhattan."[1]

What it isEdit

A Concours d'Elegance (French, literally "a competition of elegance") is according to New York Times writer Keith Martin like a "beauty pageant for rare and elegant cars,"[2] except that the female contestants don’t undergo a complete physical, including an internal exam. Each entry is examined and rated for authenticity, function, history, style and quality of restoration by a team of judges that includes specialists for each car type. A perfect score is 100, but any imperfection, no matter how slight, requires a fractional point deduction. Classes are commonly arranged by type, marque, coachbuilder, country of origin, or time period. Judges select first-, second-, and third-place finishers for each class in the event, and the judges confer the "Best of Show" award on one car from the group of first-place winners. In addition, a group of honorary judges--typically individuals who have made significant contributions to the automotive industry or motorsports--award a number of subjective awards to recognize standout vehicles regardless of class ribbons, as well as memorial awards created to honor specific automotive industry personages.

HistoryEdit

Businessman and car collector Bill Warner, a photographer and writer for Road & Track magazine since 1971, founded the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in 1996 at the urging of other northeast Florida auto enthusiasts who wanted a classic car show in Florida like the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California. Warner selected Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, which had provided service to his parents as well as his wife's, as the beneficiary of the event.[3] The first event was held April 6, 1996 at Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. Warner assembled a group of 163 cars that year and attendance was around 2,200.

Fast forward to 1999. Attendance had increased to 8,500; 205 cars were exhibited; and $268,000 was raised for Community Hospice. The Amelia Island event was being talked about in the automotive world and the New York Times assigned a reporter to write a story. In his full-page feature article, Keith Martin stated, "The Amelia Island event, which is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, is the only one in its region to aspire to the same standard of excellence (as the) Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach, in California, as well as the Louis Vuitton Classic at Rockefeller Center".[2]

The competitive fieldEdit

Prospective entrants must submit an application for each car, and the Concours field is selected from each year's pool of applicants. Many collectors spend years and hundreds of thousands of dollars purchasing and restoring a car in hopes of being chosen. Once a car is accepted to the Concours, it cannot again be entered in the event for five years, with three exceptions; the ownership of the car has changed, the car has been restored, or if the featured marque is obscure, the Concours car selection committee can reach out to invite cars of varying restoration quality-- or cars that have previously been entered in the Concours-- in order to provide a healthy representation of the marque for exhibition.

Many of the competing cars are valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, with some worth millions. For this reason, along with its remarkable setting and amenities, the Amelia Island Concours is considered one of the premier concours in the world.

EventsEdit

Due to the extreme cost of purchasing, restoring, and maintaining fine classic cars, the Amelia Island Concours is sometimes perceived to be the realm of the very wealthy and those who cater to their interests. While that is true, participants, their guests, and thousands of attendees consider the Amelia Island Concours as much a social gathering as a special interest event. From postwar Ferraris to historic Bentleys, the Concours assembles a stylish mix of historic automobiles alongside new vehicle presentations from car manufacturers.

Each year's Amelia Island Concours honors an outstanding person from motorsports, a featured Marque (manufacturer) or theme, plus judging and awards for each class of the Field of Dreams, the showcase exhibition. Other events may vary each year but have included a golf tournament, automobile auctions, art and fashion shows, silent auctions of memorabilia, charity raffles and autograph sessions.

Charitable contributionsEdit

The non-profit Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance Foundation was formed in 2000 to organize and manage the workload of more than 300 volunteers.[6] The proceeds of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance have helped support Community Hospice with total contributions of over $1.5 million through 2008. The event's goal is to raise at least $100,000 for Community Hospice each year. Several other charities have received funding, including: The Spina Bifida Association of Florida at Jacksonville, Shop with Cops, Duval County 4-H Foundation and the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society.


External linksEdit


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