The Concours d’Elegance embodies a rich tradition very much in-line with its French meaning, the Competition of Elegance. Held in glamorous locations the world over, the competition showcases some of the most prestigious classic cars in existence.
In addition to the beauty and friendly competition of these events, most of the Concours d’Elegance events that are hosted in the United States serve as a backdrop for many worthy charity fundraisers. While these events may be popular with local classic car clubs and enthusiasts, the level of competition is rather steep and the reviews are conducted by trained judges.
In fact, many of the trophy class autos have been restored to a level of elegance that surpasses the car’s original factory standard finishes. In the classic car division, however, no “upgrades” are allowed.
Every last component must be original, of both year and manufacturer, and any replacement parts must be provided solely by the original manufacturer for that specific year of the model. It goes without saying that these vehicles are not ever used to fulfill basic transportation needs. Indeed, they are usually only driven along the showplace fields and even then given a complete once-over.
The Florida event held on Amelia Island in 1996 by local classic car enthusiast, Bill Warner is one of the most prestigious. This annual event, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, benefits the local Community Hospice of Northeast Florida.
According to an article written by Keith Martin for the New York Times, the Amelia Island event is one of the only ones that aim to reach the heights of the Pebble Beach Concours and the Louis Vuitton Classic held each year in midtown Manhattan. The event is held each year at the Ritz-Carlton resort on the island, and has steadily grown in participation and attendance, since its inaugural event in 1996.
Mercedes-Benz is well represented at the various Concours d’Elegance events held throughout the globe. With the tagline, “Seeing History Firsthand reveals how Mercedes-Benz Continues to Make History” this prestigious auto maker takes great pride in their involvement in the world of classic car competitions and showcases.
In addition to their firm owned vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is quite proud of all the private collectors that have a keen interest in the brand’s classic cars and show them throughout the world. These competitions are touted by the company as a strong and impactful historical reference to the lasting impression that Mercedes has upon the car industry. Seeing classic cars of the same brand over the span of a century, is truly remarkable and an occasion to remember.
The Mercedes-Benz Club of Amelia (MBCA) is also actively involved in the event. This local group of Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts always has a strong showing at the Concours, and their appreciation of all of the classic cars adds to the festive environment of the event, and all of their hard work greatly contributes to the event’s continued success. In addition to the car show, participants are also able to attend various lectures and symposia relating to classic cars and their care.
Many veteran auto racers have also been known to attend and participate in lively panel discussions about the classic cars that they have raced around the world. The entire weekend is filled with like-minded enthusiasts sharing stories, and tips, and appreciation for these amazing machines.
There is also a Mercedes-Benz sponsored gala dinner and many other social events scheduled on the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton to celebrate the weekend. It is not just classic car civilians interested in the Amelia Island event, as current race drivers have been known to attend. Perhaps the most well known participant of recent Amelia Concours d’Elegance is Indy 500 driver and champion, Dario Franchitti, along with his wife Ashley Judd in 2012.
With their sponsorship of the Amelia Concours d’Elegance, Mercedes-Benz has solidified their position as a company that values and celebrates their heritage in addition to the current innovations that they present to today’s car market. The Amelia Island event is located at the stunning Ritz-Carlton resort, and these stunning automobiles are right at home against this breathtaking landscape alongside the Atlantic Ocean.
The event is usually the first American occurrence each year, typically held on the second weekend of March, and starts off the Concours circuit in fine style. Amelia Island is also home to many competitive golf courses, prime fishing, and other beach pursuits for those participants that would like to center an extended visit around the classic car event.