The Amelia 2023 Concours Has Something for Everybody

amelia 2023 1937 bugatti type 57c
Amelia 2023 Concours Has Something for EverybodyBroad Arrow photo

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, now known simply as The Amelia and (since 2021) owned by Hagerty, was lucky: The event, held since 1996, has never had to be canceled because of COVID-19. The 2020 event just snuck under the wire before doors started closing, and the 2021 event—moved from March to May—went on as scheduled. By 2022, it was like COVID had never happened.

This year, The Amelia takes place March 2 to 5 at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island in northern Florida.

“People are coming back, and ticket sales have been fantastic,” said Matt Orendac, the concours vice chairman. “It’s spring, and time to go to Florida, enjoy the cars, the people, and the warm weather.”


The concours was founded as a charity fundraiser (with recipients Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, The Spina Bifida Association of Florida, and others) by the larger-than-life Bill Warner, a gregarious “car guy,” businessman, and photographer/writer for publications such as Road & Track. The event, which drew 2200 people and 163 cars its first year, has raised more than $4 million for charity.

“Bill Warner created something so special—an automotive house where everyone found something to love,” said Larry Printz, an auto writer and former judge at Amelia.

amelia 2023 1952 cunningham c4r photo peter harholdt for revs institute
1952 Cunningham C4R will be at The Amelia.Peter Harholdt for Revs Institute - Hearst Owned

“The show under his aegis was quirky but authoritative on the cars it brought in. While the show then was the vision of one person, Hagerty has done an excellent job of modernizing it and bringing in the younger collectors with events such as the RADwood celebration of 1980s and 1990s cars and the Concours d’Lemons.”

The event honors a racing figure every year, and for 2023 it’s NASCAR Hall of Famer and Hendrick Motorsports Vice Chairman Jeff Gordon. He drove for Hendrick from 1992 to 2015 and won four NASCAR Cup Series Championships (in 1995, 1997, 1998, and 2001) and 93 races.

Being auctioned off will be the NASCAR Chevrolet Monte Carlo that Gordon raced in three consecutive Budweiser Shootout races from 2002 to 2004, taking three top-five finishes. Gordon will also take part in a “Hendrick Motorsports Years” seminar March 4, along with NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chief Ray Evernham and Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Steve Letarte. Gordon will be featured at the Honoree Dinner that night.

Orendac said that having people like Gordon (and in years past, Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi, and Jacky Ickx) on the show field is what separates Amelia from other concours events. “We’re motorsports centered, but it’s not just about seeing the cars—there’s also the chance to walk among legends,” he said.

On March 3, Ray Evernham will host a panel on “Corvettes at Le Mans” with experts Justin Bell, Dan Binks, and Ron Fellows.

Featured at the 2023 concours will be special classes honoring 24 Hours of Le Mans winners, the 120th anniversary of Buick Motor Company (founded by David Dunbar Buick in 1903) and fiberglass-bodied Porsche racing Spyders. A total of 250 cars will be on display at the Ritz Carlton, in 32 classes.

1930 packard 745 convertible victoria
1930 Packard 7-45 Convertible Victoria.Courtesy of Tom LaFerriere

Other classes worth noting include: Ferrari (GT Berlinettas and supercars), Le Mans Corvettes, the legendary Porsche 959, Lamborghini and limited-production supercars, pre-war European custom coachwork, “fiberglass dreams,” and the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.

A special category celebrates the little-known Denzel, a Porsche 356 look-a-like built in Vienna, Austria. Approximately 300 were built, using VW and Porsche running gear. Nine Denzels will be present.

Another category this year celebrates the Volkswagen “transporter,” meaning the Microbus and its ilk. On the field will be the 2024 ID. Buzz, the all-electric reincarnation of the Microbus. “We’re very excited about having it here,” said Orendac. “But we will also have a great selection of these VW buses, from hippie vans to beautiful transporters from European collections.”

1948 davis divan amelia concours automotive photography by deremer studios
1948 Davis Divan.Deremer Studios LLC

Some of the entrants will take place in the Eight Flags Road Tour around Amelia Island on March 3, which includes a lunch stop in downtown Fernandina Beach that becomes a mini-show in itself. Porsche is also sponsoring a Driving Experience event for owners of the company’s cars that same day, and Hagerty will have its own old cars available for ride-and-drive experiences leaving from the Ritz-Carlton.

Auctions in and around The Amelia include Broad Arrow (at the Ritz-Carlton), Gooding (Omni Amelia Island Resort), Bonhams (Fernandina Beach Golf Club), and, in its last year at the event, RM Sotheby’s (Amelia Island Parkway). All will hold previews of their treasures.

Some highlights of the cars to be auctioned: 1953 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spyder by Fantuzzi (RM Sotheby’s), 1962 Ferrari 250 GT short-wheelbase California Spider (Gooding), 1937 Bugatti Type 57C Vanvooren Roadster (Broad Arrow), and Phil Hill’s works Jaguar XK 120 (Bonhams).

Barney Ruprecht, senior car specialist for Broad Arrow Auctions and the consignment manager at Amelia, said the Bugatti 57C (pictured at top of story) has “one of the most stunning bodies, design wise, I can remember handling. It’s a one-off in design, though it wasn’t born in this configuration. With the restoration, it’s seemingly better than new.”

Another highlight at Broad Arrow is a pair of 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadsters in blue and red, both with the desirable cast-iron blocks and disc brakes. Estimates on these cars are $1.3 to $1.5 million each.

carbon fiber bodied mclaren supercars
A trio of carbon fiber-bodied McLaren supercars will be in this year’s Broad Arrow auction. Broad Arrow photo

Saturday, March 4, will be dedicated to a fairly informal Cars & Community event at the Ritz-Carlton, with more than 500 collector cars of all types taking part. This is where 150 RADwood cars from the 1980s and 1990s will be featured, as well as 50 cars in the Concours d’Lemons—featuring derelicts and the just plain awful. “Some people love the fantastic, oddball AMC Pacers and other cars more than the Ferraris,” Orendac said. “With RADwood, we’re trying to bring people in their 30s, 40s and 50s into the hobby.”

The main Amelia concours event happens on Sunday March 5—a full-day feast for the eyes and ears.