Rare Corvettes at the 19th Annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

Festival Of Fiberglass - 19th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance highlights rare solid-axle Corvettes

Walt Thurn Jun 24, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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Each year the Amelia Island Concours d' Elegance Autoshow holds its annual fundraiser near Jacksonville, Florida. The show benefits the Hospice of Northeast Florida and is held on the grounds of the Ritz Carlton hotel and golf resort. This year 337 of the world's most significant show, street, and racing cars were displayed on the 8th and 10th fairways. Among this impressive gathering were 10 rare straight-axle Corvettes; their model years ranging from a 1953 to 1962. The oldest car at the show was an 1895 Armstrong six-passenger Trap while the newest was a '15 C7 Z06 Corvette.

On Saturday the RM Auction was held at the resort and two Corvettes were among the many cars that were sold. The first was a nice '60 Sateen Silver convertible that brought $132,000. The second was a 42,000-mile '72 LT-1 convertible. This Bloomington Gold Survivor sold for $129,250.

Each year event founder Bill Warner honors one of the world's top racing drivers. This year ex-F1 driver and multi time sports car champion Jochen Mass was the shows guest of honor. Many of the cars that Jochen drove during his career were on display including his McLaren F1 race car that was featured in the movie Rush. Jochen drove this car across the showfield to open the Sunday event.

1959 Chevy Corvette 2/16

The ’59 Purple People Eater Mk III Corvette carries the No. 1 to honor driver Jim Jeffords winning the 1958 SCCA National Championship. Jeffords repeated this feat in 1959 with this Nickey Chevrolet prepared/owned ’59 Corvette. Lance Miller is the owner of this historic straight axle Corvette.

1960 Chevy Corvette 3/16

Five of the 10 rare solid axle Corvettes caravan though the Ritz Carlton grounds on their way to be displayed onto the hotel fairway. The ’59 Purple People Eater is our photo car. Directly in front is the ’60 Corvette that raced at Le Mans in 1962. Next up is a ’56 Sebring racer. Leading the pack are two ’62 Sebring racing Corvettes. 

1962 Chevy Corvette 4/16

This ’62 Corvette raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1962 by the Italian Scuderia Scirocco Race Team in Modena, Italy. It was equipped with fuel injection, four-speed transmission, HD suspension, and brakes. It retired after 14.5 hours when the engine expired. It has undergone a complete restoration and is owned by Steve Leitstein. 

The process of gathering so many cars onto the resort's fairways begins on Saturday afternoon. Corvette restorer Kevin Mackay, owner of Corvette Repair, always brings a variety of his customer Corvettes to the show. This year he invited Team Vette to ride along as five of his customer Corvettes caravanned through the hotel grounds and onto the showfield. We rode in the Purple People Eater owned by Lance Miller of Corvettes @ Carlisle fame. These cars are loud, brash, attention-getting, and capture the early roots of Corvette racing. The 10 straight axle Corvettes were parked around a large lake on the fairway. Chevrolet displayed a '14 convertible and the '15 Z06 in the middle of the early Corvettes. Ed Welburn, Vice President of Global Design for GM is one of Amelia's show judges and we spotted him standing next to the Z06. He told us that this Z06 would be one of the best performance bargains on the market, and we agree.

Two 1967 Corvettes were also on the showfield. The first was a historic L88 race car that has a lengthy and successful racing career. It was restored by noted Corvette historian David Burroughs to look exactly as it did when it finished the 1970 24 Hour Daytona race. This included oil stains and marks on its paint. This Corvette was inducted into Bloomington's Great Hall in 2013. The other Corvette was a Marina Blue 427 coupe. This car underwent a five year restoration by its current owner and is a very nice example the C2's last year of production.

The Amelia Concours continues to grow in significance. Bill Warner is very careful who is invited to this amazing gathering. If you want to get an up close look at some of the world's most historic automobiles (including Corvettes) mark your calendar for March 14-15, 2015 to attend this amazing show.

Chevy Corvette 89 11/16

Corvette No. 89 is only one of 20 L88s built in 1967. Driver Cliff Gottlob entered 350 races and finished First in 150 of them. It scored 11th overall and 2nd in GT+2.0 with drivers Dave Dooley and Cliff Gottlob in the 1970 24 Hours of Daytona. It was clocked at 186 mph during the race. This L88 was driven 3,272 miles roundtrip from Kansas to Daytona and complete

Chevy Corvette 5 12/16

Corvette No. 5 was one of five factory sponsored entries in the 1962 12 Hours of Sebring. It was sponsored by Bardahl Oil and driven by Jerry Grant and Pat Pigotte. It completed 148 laps and was out of the race with a broken fuel pump and not classified. Irwin Kroiz currently owns this historic Corvette.

1960 White Chevy Corvette 13/16

This Ermine White ’60 Corvette was ordered through Nickey Chevrolet with all of the correct RPO racing options. The car raced at the 1960 12 Hours of Sebring where it finished first in the GT-14 class and 16th overall. It was completely restored in 2007 and is owned by John and Marie Justo 

2015 Chevy Corvette 14/16

Ed Welburn, GM's Vice President of Global Design, stands beside the 2015 Corvette Z06 equipped with the Z07 equipment package. The new Corvette was on prominent display between the solid axle historic Corvettes on the showfield.

1967 Chevrolet Corvette 15/16

This Marina Blue Corvette coupe was built on April 7, 1967. and is equipped with a 427/400 engine with tri-power. It also has power steering, brakes and windows, and is coupled to a four-speed transmission. Chuck and Carolyn Arnold are the current owners.

1956 Chevy Corvette 16/16

This is one of six ’56 production Corvettes that were built to race at Sebring. This Aztec Copper Corvette is one of two that are known to still exist. This car is equipped with many SR (Special Racing) options including HD suspension, cerametallic brake shoes, and special drums with backing plates, rear brake scoops, Halibrand magnesium wheels, and a Duntov camshaft. In 1957 it reached 126.93 at an El Mirage Dry Lake event. John and Sally Neas own it.

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