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Corvettes Invade Amelia

Rare Greenwood Racecars Gather at 21st Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance

Walt Thurn Mar 24, 2016
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The Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance recently celebrated its 21st year at the Ritz-Carlton hotel and golf resort in Amelia Island, Florida (March 10-13, 2016). The event starts on Thursday and is packed with activities until it ends with the Concours on Sunday afternoon. It is packed with automotive celebrities and seminars that are held on Friday and Saturday that draw large crowds of enthusiasts. Each year one of the world’s most accomplished racing drivers is selected as honoree for the weekend. This year Hans Joachim Stuck was chosen and was given a warm welcome from his friends and racing fans. Hans successfully drove a variety of sports cars and amassed numerous victories and championships. Anyone who is passionate about automobiles should make an effort to attend this amazing event at least once in their lifetime.

Saturday morning the fairway next to the hotel was home to the annual Cars & Coffee event. Attendance is free, but requires an advance reservation to bring your car. It is worth making the effort. Many Corvette owners displayed their cars on Saturday and stayed near their cars to answer questions. Every generation was represented from C1 to C7. It was a great way to check out some amazing Corvettes in a beautiful setting. Also on Saturday the RM/Sotheby Auction offered close to 100 rare collector cars that were for sale during the day. This year one of the cars sold was a Roman Red 1961 Corvette that brought $110,000.

Sunday is Amelia’s main event and they paid tribute to the late John Greenwood’s amazing racing Corvettes. John passed away on July 7, 2015, but his legacy was on full display with seven Greenwood widebody Corvettes sitting on the show field. Each of these wild looking Corvettes had extensive racing history including stints at the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. John’s racecars started as C3 (1968-1982) street cars and ended up as some of the fastest Corvettes ever produced. One of his cars that was on display ran 238 mph down Daytona’s back straightaway. Three of these Amelia Greenwood Corvettes came from Europe. Two are from Fuveau, France and one resides in Bern, Switzerland. The French owners are active vintage racers who transport their Corvettes to vintage races in America. It is nice to see these old warriors being exercised and they are certainly loud. Ken Lingenfelter also brought his John Greenwood GTO streetcar to Amelia’s Greenwood display. Only a few of these Corvette conversions were constructed and they feature the legendary driver’s widebody racing design.

One other Corvette was invited to Amelia’s Sunday Concours. It was a black 1965 Corvette coupe that sat in a barn near Los Angeles for forty-two years. It underwent a one year restoration by Corvette Repair in Valley Stream, NY and is now owned by Doug Fortune in Norwalk, Connecticut. It is powered by a 365hp/327cid engine coupled to a four-speed transmission and includes a rare 36-gallon fuel tank.

Next year’s event will be held on March 10-12, 2017. If you plan on attending we recommend making your hotel reservations as early as possible. Hope to see you next year.

02 2016 Amelia Island Concours Corvettes 2/18

The C3 Aerobody was developed by GM stylists and GM engineers to accommodate wider tires and produce downforce for cornering. The wedge shape allowed this Corvette design to exceed 230mph at Daytona.

03 2016 Amelia Island Concours Corvettes 3/18

This Spirit of Le Mans Greenwood Corvette participated in the 1976 24 Hours of Le Mans race. It qualified ninth overall with a time of 3:54.600, but was withdrawn when the fuel tank split. It is presently owned by Goldin Brothers Racing in Miami, Florida.

04 2016 Amelia Island Concours Corvettes 4/18

Every Greenwood widebody was stuffed with a big-block Corvette engine. This Le Mans Corvette used a 427cid BBC with Kinsler fuel injection that produced 720hp. Notice how far back the engine sits in the chassis to help weight distribution. Its top speed on the Mulsanne straight exceeded 230mph.

05 2016 Amelia Island Concours Corvettes 5/18

This Corvette was entered in the 1980 24 Hours of Le Mans by a Canadian team, but did not start the race. It was stored for a number of years, found and restored. It is owned and vintage raced by Eric Roturier and Patrick Caldentey from Fuveau, France.

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