More than 150 classics, hot rods and vintage motorcycles joined modern exotics and some serious pony car action Sunday at the 15th annual Ponte Vedra Auto Show at Nocatee Town Center.
The show, presented by Fields Auto Group and hosted by the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, saw the road system behind the center filled with cars — classic and new Porsches facing Corvettes of all decades, then hot rods and classics down another, and then historic Jeeps and Mustangs, Mopars, AMXs and Camaros in another direction.
Although delayed two weeks because of Hurricane Irma, the show had a steady crowd of families and car enthusiasts checking out shiny parked vehicles throughout the morning and afternoon.
“Despite having to reschedule, we are very proud to have been able to host this event for the community and for everyone who visits to see these incredible automobiles,” said Isabelle Rodriguez, president/CEO of the SJC Chamber. “Thanks to our partnership with Fields Auto Group and our other great sponsors, this auto show has been our best yet.”
The rescheduling put the event on the same date as the Ravens-Jaguars’ 9:30 kickoff in London rather than the season-opener at EverBank Field on Sept. 10. It was a change that worked in favor of the show and MDM Commercial, a sponsor that provided big-screen TVs for folks to enjoy the Jaguars’ convincing 44-7 victory over Baltimore.
“The MDM tent was full at 9:30 with people watching the game, but the earlier time allowed the early crowd to see the game and the 11:30 church crowd to enjoy the show,” said Toni Boudreaux, director of the Ponte Vedra Beach division of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce.
One thing’s for certain: An estimated crowd of 3,500 got to see plenty of award-winning cars.
The Wells Fargo Advisors Best of Show Classic award went to Mark Becker’s gold 1936 Chrysler C-9 Airflow Coupe. It was the first show for Becker and his Airflow but not his first award at the Ponte Vedra Auto Show.
Becker’s previous awards included a second-place Best Pre War for his 1939 America Bantam station wagon; Best Post War Classic for his 1947 Chrysler Town and Country convertible; and Best Post War Domestic Classic for his 1954 Packard convertible.
“The other Chryslers [that won awards] were post-wars, so I was looking for a really unique pre-war Chrysler,” Becker said. “I’m not a flipper, so my intention is to hang onto this car.”
Among the other 30 winners, Rob Sewell was presented the “Porsche for the Spirit of It” award for his 1997 Porsche Carrera S. Mitt Layton’s 1968 Shelby GT500 KR, featured in last Saturday’s Drive section, won the award commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Shelby Super Snake.
Other awards: Best in Show Off-Road went to Steve Rand’s rare 1969 Citroen Mehari, based on the 2CV. In fact, the Chambers Choice Award went to Tom Hindle’s 1985 Citroen 2CV Charleston.
The Lexus Pursuit of Perfection award went to Craig Dion’s pristine 1980 Datsun 280ZX with 75,000 miles on it. All original, he had just purchased it from Nelle Walker, who had owned it with her husband since it was delivered to Jacksonville’s Talleyrand docks when new.
The Custom Car Award went to Buzz and Sarah St. Johns’ custom 1932 Ford Roadster, while the Future Classic/Best New Off-Road award went to Brian Webber’s blue-and-white 1988 Honda Acty microtruck with a 600-cc engine behind its cab.
Fields Auto Group sponsored the event for the second consecutive year, providing visitors with the chance to test-drive Porsche and Lexus models and interacting with spectators at the “sponsor village.”
“The car culture in this community is great,” said Brandon Starks, general manager of Porsche Jacksonville. “There were so many families and children out there, you couldn’t have asked for a better event.”
Traditionally held at TPC Sawgrass, the Ponte Vedra Auto Show was moved to Nocatee Town Center two years ago as the TPC Sawgrass was undergoing renovations.
While Boudreaux could not make any formal announcement about whether the event would return to the TPC next year, she did say it would “definitely stay in Ponte Vedra.”
Nocatee received Becker’s endorsement.
“The TPC is a pretty, elegant, picturesque location, but I understand the area has been revamped,” Becker said. “But I think the Nocatee location is a great location for the community and they’re doing a great job with the event.”