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Corvettes Gather at 2019 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Corvettes Gather at 2019 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Mar 29, 2019
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The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance celebrated its 24th year at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Golf Resort in Amelia Island, Florida. This is a charity event that over the years has raised over $3.45 million for several charities, including Spina Bifida of Jacksonville, Community Hospice & Palliative Care, Shop with Cops and The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. This fundraising effort continued when the 2019 Concours began on Thursday, March 7 and ended on Sunday, March 10. The weather was perfect all weekend and it was filled with automotive events from start to finish. Each year one of the world’s most accomplished racing drivers is selected as the event’s honoree. Mr. Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the Concours, named Mr. Jacky Ickx to receive that honor. Ickx is a six-time Le Mans 24 Hour race winner in addition to a Can-Am Championship, a Dakar Rally victory and multiple Formula One victories. His accomplishments were celebrated with panel discussions, special dinners and an autograph signing session for his many fans.

This year’s event featured a full schedule that included the RM Sotheby’s auction, manufacturer test drives and autograph sessions with automotive celebrities. Saturday morning, Heacock Classic Car Insurance presented the Cars & Coffee at the Concours. This automotive extravaganza was added to the weekend schedule in 2013, it hosted over 450 vehicles and thousands of spectators. Cars & Coffee allows individuals with vintage, exotic and collectible vehicles to gather on the same show field that is used to display vehicles for Sunday’s prestigious Concours d’Elegance. This is a free event for all brands, but Corvettes are the most popular marques in attendance. Reservations are required and often are completely filled by August of each year. Many Corvette owners displayed their cars on Saturday and every generation was represented. It was a great way to check out some amazing Corvettes in a beautiful setting.

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This 1965 Corvette convertible is a good example of the interesting examples that attended the Heacock Amelia Cars & Coffee event on Saturday.


Sunday is Amelia’s main event and hosts the best of the best from every automotive manufacturer from around the world. Many rarely seen significant (expensive) automobiles are displayed on the 10th and 18th fairways of the Golf Club of Amelia. Automotive celebrities served as judges and were tasked to select the Best of Show winners in a variety of classes. Three historic GM products (two Corvettes and one Camaro) were recognized by the judges for their contribution to automotive history. The first was the 1973 Chevrolet Corvette XP-897 GT prototype. It received the GM Design Center Award, For The Most Innovative GM Design. This two-seat mid-engine Corvette was powered by a two-rotor Wankel rotary engine. It was introduced to the public in 1973 and displayed at auto shows around the world for close to a year. However, the Wankel engine that powered this Corvette proved to be too thirsty and polluting, so the project was cancelled. This running example was withdrawn from public view and stored at GM’s Vauxhall Design Center in Bedford, England. It was scheduled to be crushed in 1983. However, Jerry Palmer (Retired Executive Director of Design for GM), approved Tom Falconer (Corvette author) to become its new owner. Tom resides in England and still owns XP-897.

The next Corvette to be recognized by the judges was a 1966 Corvette race car named “8 Ball.” It received the Amelia Award, For Race Cars 1958-1966. It was a beautifully restored Tuxedo Black coupe, powered by an L72 427/425hp big-block engine. Doug Bergen was the original owner he hired the late Bob Johnson to successfully campaign 8 Ball. Johnson was from Marietta, Ohio, and he drove this car after its restoration by Corvette Repair. It is now owned by the American Muscle Car Museum. The last GM car to receive an Amelia award was a 1968 Penske/Sunoco Chevrolet Camaro owned by Irwin Kroiz. It was given the Grand Sport Trophy, For The Most Historically Significant General Motors Competition Car. In 1968, this car placed 2nd in the Trans-Am + class at Daytona and 4th overall and 2nd in Trans-Am + class at the 12 Hours of Sebring. It also secured many other podium finishes that season. The Penske team won the Trans-Am championship in 1968 and this Camaro played a key role in that accomplishment.

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Heacock Classic Car Insurance displayed the Fabulous Restorations replica Owens Corning L88 Corvette in their display area. It was a popular stop for the Cars & Coffee attendees.


Singer John Oates from the Hall & Oates duo assembled the “Cars of the Rock Stars” display. One of the cars associated with well-known Rock Stars was the 1959 Corvette Stingray Racer that is now part of GM’s Heritage Collection. This car was driven by Elvis Presley in the 1967 film Clambake. In the movie, Elvis drove the Stingray from Texas to Florida and traded identities with a water ski instructor.

Other significant Corvettes on display included a Tuxedo Black 1957 fuel-injected “airbox” (RPO 579D) race car. It was equipped with the big-brake package (RPO 684) and is just one of 28 that were produced with these options. It is owned by Frank and Loni Buck. Another Corvette that caught our attention was a beautiful Tuxedo Black 1963 split-window fuel injected coupe. This 29,000-mile Corvette was equipped with rare two bar knock-off aluminum wheels (RPO P48). This car underwent a 1,600-hour restoration in 2014 and was flawless.

The Amelia Concours is a smorgasbord of significant and pristine historic automobiles and other specialty vehicles. Corvettes were well represented at the Cars & Coffee on Saturday and the Concours d’Elegance on Sunday. This is a must-see automotive event and if you decide to go, now would be a good time to make your reservations. It will be held on March 12-15, 2020, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Golf Resort in Amelia Island, Florida. For more event details go to www.ameliaconcours.org. Vette

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The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort fairways provide a spectacular backdrop for the Heacock Cars & Coffee event. The weather was excellent all weekend. (Photo courtesy of DeremerStudios.com)

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A large selection of Corvettes like this 1967 convertible drove onto the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort for the Cars & Coffee event. (Photo courtesy of DeremerStudios.com)

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These Corvettes and other GM products were parked around the fairway lake. This proved to be a prime photo spot.

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Michael Stevenson displayed his supercharged, 93-mile, Cyber Gray 2011 Callaway Corvette Grand Sport at the Cars & Coffee event.

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This Marlboro Maroon 1967 convertible was fitted with N89 cast-aluminum wheels, N14 side exhaust and the L71 427/435hp big-block engine mated to a four-speed transmission.

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The L71 big-block engine is tightly packed into this Marlboro Maroon 1967 Corvette convertible that was on display at the Cars & Coffee event.

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This 1953 Corvette was the 239th of 300 total that were produced at the first assembly plant in Flint, MI.

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Rally Red was a perfect color for this 1965 Corvette convertible. It was equipped with a L75 327/300hp small-block and backed with a four-speed transmission. It had P48 cast-aluminum wheels and N14 side mounted exhausts.

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The owner of this Arctic White Z51 convertible had this unique model rotating on top of his car’s detailed LT1 engine.

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Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance was packed with spectators. The event included over 300 rare and classic automobiles that filled the fairways of the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. (Photo courtesy of DeremerStudios.com)

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Jacky Ickx was the 2019 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance honoree. Jacky amassed multiple wins during his driving career, including six 24 Hours of Le Mans victories. (Photo courtesy of DeremerStudios.com)

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The 1959 Corvette Stingray on display is from GM’s Heritage Collection. It was included in the Cars of Rock Stars exhibit because Elvis Presley drove the Stingray it in his 1967 movie titled Clambake.

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This mid-engine Corvette prototype XP-897 was powered by a two-rotor Wankel engine. It was purchased by British Corvette writer Tom Falconer and Tom is still its owner.

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The prototype was built using a highly modified Porsche 914 chassis. The two-rotor engine lies directly underneath the cover inside the rear window. The posters are lying on top of the cover.

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The interior is spacious and simply laid out. The front wheelwells do intrude into the passenger compartment and somewhat restricts leg room.

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This spare compact two-rotor engine was recently located and is now exhibited with the XP-897.

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Owner Tom Falconer is sitting in the passenger seat of his XP-897 as it is driven to accept its award. The prototype received the GM Design Center Award, For The Most Innovative GM Design

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Privateer Doug Bergen purchased this Corvette named 8-Ball in 1966. He hired driver Bob Johnson from Marietta, Ohio, to race it where it won many A-Production races. It competed in the SCCA Central Division for two years.

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Corvette Repair in Valley Stream, New York, restored this Corvette in 1999. Doug Bergen and Bob Johnson were reunited with it at an NCRS event in Orlando, Florida. It is now owned by the American Muscle Car Museum.

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The Corvette was ordered with a saddle interior, teak steering wheel and the C48 heater/defroster delete option. The interior is surprisingly stock for a race car.

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Doug Bergen and Bob Johnson both signed the chrome air cleaner on the L72 427/425hp big-block engine.

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George Koehn had this Tuxedo Black split-window coupe restored in 2014. The restorer spent 1,600 hours completing the project. It has a total of 29,000 miles and is equipped with rare two-bar knock off wheels.

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Frank and Loni Buck own this 1957 Corvette “airbox” equipped fuel injected racer. It was restored in 2007 and is still a stunning example of a rare early Corvette competition car.

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All of the car’s rear trim has been removed to reduce unnecessary weight. It was raced successfully until 1965 when it retired from racing. It was restored to the way it raced before its retirement.

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Cold air was fed into the fuel-injection unit from the fender-mounted airbox to improve engine performance. Only 28 Corvettes were fitted with this option in 1957.

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The factory windshield was removed and replaced with a low Plexiglas windscreen. This Corvette participated in the 1957 Bonneville Speed Trails.

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This Trans-Am 1968 Camaro finished 4th overall at the 1968 12 Hours of Sebring. It was restored by Corvette Repair and owned by Irwin Kroiz.

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Mike Simcoe, Vice President of Global Design for GM presented this Grand Sport Trophy to Irwin Kroiz, owner of the 1968 Roger Penske Trans-Am Camaro.

Photography by Walt Thurn; Deremer Studios.com

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