As Shirley Bassey’s theme to 1965’s “Goldfinger” sounded, secret agent James Bond’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5 drove to the awards stand at the 22nd Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance as its driver triggered hidden machine guns and the bulletproof shield.

 

Soon, the yellow and black six-cylinder Marmon Wasp that won the inaugural Indianapolis 500 with Ray Harroun at the helm, complete with the first rearview mirror, snarled into view.

These historic motorcars were just a few of the 330-plus aluminum-, steel- and fiberglass-rolling sculptures decorating the sun-dappled 10th and 18th fairways of the Golf Club of Amelia Island last Saturday after Mother Nature forced “The Amelia” to be held a day early for the first time.

The rescheduled event also gave visitors a view of 400 more car club members’ show vehicles at the annual Cars &Coffee at the Concours cruise-in next door. (Story on Page 5; video at bit.ly/2nvtJC0)

Then at day’s end, Amelia granted its Best of Show — one to a race car, the other to a road car.

Jacksonville resident Dan Davis said he was “almost shocked” to win Concours de’Sport with his 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider, its dual-supercharged 180-horsepower straight eight under its long black bonnet, its curvaceous Superleggera bodywork crafted by Carrozzeria Touring. Bought in August at RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction from the Sam Mann collection, it is one of 12 made and won races in Brazil.

2017 Concours d'Elegance results

“Simply, I think it is the prettiest car ever made and plus, it performs very well and it is a wonderful driving car,” Davis said. “I just think the history of Alfa is pretty wonderful and these were very, very special cars in the day.”

Terence E. Adderley’s 1935 Duesenberg SJ-582 Torpedo Phaeton, its 420 cubic-inch straight eight quiet as its Gordon Buehrig-designed shape rolled up nose-to-nose with Davis’ Alfa to secure its Concours d’Elegance award. Adderly and his wife praised the concours and the Indiana-made car they won with.

“This is an outstanding show, and it continues to get better every single year,” he said. “Duesenbergs have always been my favorite and I have been fortunate to have several wonderful cars.”

“Good things come to those who wait,” his wife, Jennifer Adderly, added.

Concours d’Elegance means “parade of elegance” in French, but Amelia founder and chairman Bill Warner puts his own spin on the annual event that caps off a weekend of automotive and lifestyle events centered around the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Warner loves race cars, so the automotive charity event annually honors a famous racer and his cars. But it also showcases rare classic marques, antiques and muscle cars as well as motorcycles to crowds numbering about 20,000 for the 2-day event.

This year, predictions of bad weather on Sunday forced a reschedule to Saturday — the same day as the Concours’ annual Cars &Coffee cruise-in. Concours officials said moving Cars &Coffee from the main show field to the second fairway of the golf course was “seamless,” and actually enhanced the main concours event. And Warner said he made the right decision as sunny weather graced the show, adding the final choices for Best of Show were superb.

“The decision was easy to make; the execution was difficult to make. I have a great team that made it happen,” Warner said. “The two best in shows are fabulous cars, how can you say not? The Duesenberg Dual Cowl Phaeton is fabulous. The 2.9 Alfa is a car — if I could only have one car in my life, it would be a 2.9 Alfa. That’s pretty cool.”

Race cars in spotlight

Race car classes of all kinds dotted the show field, beginning with those of four-time Indy 500 winner and Amelia Concours honoree Al Unser Sr. The open-wheel racers he took to checkered flags at that Memorial Day classic were displayed, including his 1970 and 1971 PJ Colt IndyCar, 1974 Eagle IndyCar and Porsche 962 prototype that he won the 1985 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“It’s really an honor and something that makes me very happy and I am proud to be here for the people and especially to have all four of my winning cars plus some others,” Unser said. “They are all favorites. … It’s just something you love doing and we [the Unser family] were very fortunate to be able to win nine Indys — my son, my brother and myself — so it’s really an honor to be able to do that.”

Fans of modern Japanese muscle cars flocked to the Japanese Race Car display to see their past, like the sleek red mid-engine 1965 Prince R380, the 200-horsepower race car that won its first Japanese Grand Prix. It’s now owned by Infiniti.

“It was arguably the first purpose-built Japanese race car,” said Infiniti spokesman Kyle Bazemore. “It came in first and second and completely beat the Porsche 906s that were racing that year.”

The display included late actor/racer Paul Newman’s 1991 Bob Sharp Racing Nissan 300ZX and black and silver 1972 Datsun 510. Peter Brock’s 1969 Datsun BRE 2000 Roadster and 1971 510 BRE No. 46 were winning championships over Italian and German competitors.

“It was really the beginning of the Japanese import market being accepted by the Americans. Prior to that point, people always thought of Japanese stuff as being junk,” said Brock, who also designed the 1965 Cobra Daytona Coupe. “It was very, very good engineering, but the perception remained. My job was to prove the cars were better than the Europeans, which is why we went off and ran against the Alfas and BMWs and beat them.”

Also spotlighted was the Action Express Racing No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R that took sixth place at the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Across the show field was the granddaddy of all Indycars — the 1911 Marmon Wasp that won the first Indianapolis 500, driven by Ray Harroun solo in a time when every race car carried driver and on-board engineer.

Jaguar D-Type celebration

The 60th anniversary of Jaguar’s victory at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race was celebrated with sleek D-Types that won in 1956 and 1957 as well as a dapper 96-year-old Norman Dewis, chief test driver and development engineer for the company from 1952 to 1985. As he rested his hand on the No. 3 Ecurie Ecosse D-Type that won the 1957 Le Mans, he said it was “incredible” that Warner brought back the winners with all the others.

“It’s nice and brings back memories,” Dewis said. “To think I drove it out of the factory when it was brand new, tested it and got it ready for Le Mans and we won. And here we are today looking at the car all these years later. It’s been looked after pretty good.”

Another row of racing Porsches was next door from Jacksonville’s iconic Brumos Racing team. Once headquartered behind the Brumos auto dealerships, it closed when Fields Auto Group bought them out a year ago. Now the race cars were shown to remember the championships they began winning with dealer founder Herbert Brundage in the 1950s, and continued with five-time Rolex 24 winner Hurley Haywood.

“It is wonderful to see that brand still so important is so many people’s minds. Brumos is such an iconic brand in the Porsche family that it is nice to see all these cars,” Haywood said. “It is also nice to look at where it started and where it ended, a cool display of the technologies of racing.”

Other race cars included Tedd Zamjohn’s petite light blue 1926 Bugatti Type 37. The gracefully sleek 1,500-pound car is powered by a supercharged 1.5-liter four with 90 horsepower.

Geoffrey Hacker, known for collecting forgotten fiberglass sports cars from the 1950s and 1960s with late friend Rick D’Louhy, had a wild-looking red 1956 Bangert Manta Ray roadster premiering after restoration. The wing-like front fenders look just like the Buick Wildcat concept car of the day.

Bond’s Aston Martin a star

Bond’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5 from “Goldfinger” was surrounded by fans all day as they shot photos of it with a woman in gold paint.

“For a few moments, you couldn’t even see the car with people packed around it taking pictures,” said John Carefoot, curator for the Yeaggy Collection. “It’s fun to get out and drive it. That’s one of the neat things about the original movie was that it fooled people. It looked like a stock DB5, then boom, James Bond would pull out all the gadgets and show the world.”

Some cars were over the top in design, like Sam and Emily Mann’s curvaceously sexy 1937 Delahaye 145. Named People’s Choice, polished stainless steel ribs wrapped around its curved grille with a V-12 Grand Prix race car underneath. This body’s teardrop-shaped coachwork was then added in 1946 by Franay, and it’s first customer may have been Monaco’s Prince Rainier.

Harris Snodgrass brought a piece of family history — the 1948 MG TC owned by his late father, Brumos Racing’s president, Bob Snodgrass.

“He really cherished this car, more than pretty much anything he ever owned,” he said. “It really ignited his passion for motorsports and cars. The fact that he can’t be here and the car can is very special to me.”

Highly designed motor scooters from America and Italy were parked center field, including John Wiser’s 1947 Salsbury 85. With its swoopy Buck Rogers spaceship design and its orange color, people stopped and stared at his scooter, in the family for 47 years.

“I got married on it. There’s the picture,” Wiser said. “I’ve shown this only a couple of times. … This is is art.”

The rarest Corvette ever built was being admired by Ed Welburn, just-retired General Motors VP of design and a judge. John Baldwin’s 1957 Corvette Super Sport prototype was premiered at GM’s Motorama show at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria, with twin bubble windshield and hand-applied satin silver paint in the side scoops.

“It’s important to General Motors and to me. I own a ’57 Corvette, which I though was very rare until I saw this car,” Welburn said. “… As you walk around the car there are subtle and not so subtle differences throughout and I just love it.”

It was near Axel and L. Hanko Rosenblad’s 1951 Allard K-2, a two-seat British street and race car with a 330-cubic-inch Cadillac V-8 that they drive all the time in Yulee.

Fans of Wayne Carini’s “Chasing Classic Cars” show on Velocity saw the “barn find” 1930 Minerva Convertible Sedan with rare Hibbard and Darrin bodywork a few days ago on TV. But it was on the field last weekend — a huge car shared with collector Ralph Marano bearing some surface rust from years in storage in upstate New York, but still beautiful and imposing.

“It’s the only body on a Minerva chassis that they made. A lot ended up on Rolls-Royces and Hispano-Suizes,” Carini said. “From the front and from the back, there’s not a bad angle on this car.”

Another Italian also carried American horsepower from birth — Wellington Morton’s red 1965 Iso Rivolta with a 5.4-liter Corvette V-8 - just restored by Wes Brown. One of two he bought after a long search, it was in worse shape but was also a rare wire wheel version.

“I like the wire wheels and I liked the color,” the Saint Johns resident said. “I’ve been looking for these cars. They have been in Jacksonville for the last 40 years. I finally found them a year ago.”

Classic car expert McKeel Hagerty, who runs a classic car insurance company, called the array of race and street cars from the past century “a sea of greatness.” And advancing it due to rain didn’t seem to hurt, nor did combining it with Cars &Coffee.

“It was very fortuitous that the two events combined to create one,” he said. “They pull together not only the world-class coachbuilt unique stuff every year that you’d love to see at a major concours, as well as the race cars that get your blood going. And there’s all this stuff that creates that little twinkle in the eye moment that you least expect.”

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Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549

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A longer version of this story and additional photos can be found at jacksonville.com/drive.

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Anyone with questions about prepaid tickets who could not attend the re-scheduled Concours are asked to email the staff at ameliaconcours.org/contact-us.aspx.