The 10th Annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance held March 13 on the grounds of The Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida, saw perfect 70-degree sunshine, an array of vintage autos from seldom-seen collections nationwide, and a record crowd.
This year, the event also had more sponsor support, more spectator parking, and a 700-seat grandstand, allowing an uninterrupted view of the Parish Heacock Classic Car Insurance Fashion Show, the unveiling of "Batmobile" designer George Barris' one-of-a-kind GTO, and the complete awards presentation.
Several Corvette race cars were shown in the Chevrolet Small Block Race Car Class. The '60 Briggs-Cunningham Corvette that raced at Sebring and Le Mans in 1960, now owned by the Miller family (Chip) of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was also shown and won the same class this year.
Bobby Allison, 84-time NASCAR winner, served as honorary chairman. Other celebrities in attendance were past honorees Hurley Haywood, Brian Redman, and Bobby Unser, as well as Le Mans winner Derek Bell, NASCAR winners Junior Johnson and Donnie Allison, Bill "The Hat Man" Brodrick, Emmy-winning actor Edward Herrmann, and comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
The Amelia will contribute yet again to Community Hospice, the local organization caring for terminally ill children and adults. It has already received over $1.3 million since the show began a decade ago.
Corvette C6.R Races To 1-2 Finish At Road AtlantaFellows And O'connell Score First Victory For New Corvette Race CarCorvette Racing made history at Road Atlanta when Johnny O'Connell and Ron Fellows drove the new Corvette C6.R to its first victory. Following in the tire tracks of the championship-winning Corvette C5-R, the production-based Corvette C6.R notched Corvette Racing's 36th win at the Sportsbook.com Grand Prix of Atlanta. Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta were second across the stripe to score a 1-2 finish for Corvette Racing.
With this win by the No. 3 Compuware Corvette, teammates O'Connell and Fellows tallied their 22nd ALMS victory, tying the series record for career wins. O'Connell put the C6.R on the GT1 pole, and the duo led the class for the entire 2-hour, 45-minute race. They finished Fifth overall and one lap ahead of Gavin and Beretta in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette.
"Ron and I were able to get the last win in the C5-R, and to get the first win with the C6.R at my home track is very special," said O'Connell, who lives 7 miles from the Road Atlanta circuit. "I knew in qualifying that this was the best car I've driven since I joined Corvette Racing. Ron and I did what we always do: push as hard as we can and stay out of trouble."
Fellows concurred: "It's been a tremendous team effort by Corvette Racing since I joined the program in November 1997. I'm really proud to be part of it."
While the race was trouble-free for O'Connell and Fellows, their teammates had to overcome adversity. At the 90-minute mark, Oliver Gavin made an excursion into the Turn 10 gravel trap that dropped his yellow Corvette from Second to Fifth in class. Just as they did in the season-opening Sebring race, the team battled back to get a podium finish.
"I put a little drama into the day-going off in Turn 10 was not in the plan," Gavin explained. "I think I had the brake balance just a little too far to the rear. When I got hard on the brake pedal, it just locked the rears and looped me into the gravel."
Gavin then proceeded to chase down and overtake the Maserati MC12 and Saleen S7R that had benefited from his misfortune. With 12 minutes left in the race, he passed the Maserati in Turn 10 and secured the second spot on the podium. "I had to overtake the Saleen and pass the Maserati, and they were very strong," Gavin noted. "In the season to come, we're going to have some very good races."
GM Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan has played a key role in every Corvette Racing victory. He characterized the 1-2 finish by the factory team as another example of the racing spirit that infuses every Corvette. "Today's race again demonstrated that this team just does not give up," said Fehan. "The cars ran flawlessly all day long. Except for the slight off by Olly, it was clockwork."
Corvette Chief Engineer Dave Hill was on hand to witness the Corvette C6.R's milestone first victory. "Customer enthusiasm this weekend was at an all-time high with the new Z06 on display and the factory team racing here with the Corvette C6.R," said Hill. "It was a marvelous accomplishment for Corvette Racing to fight back to get a good finish, and we've now done that twice in two races. That shows tremendous determination."
Department Of Corrections
In our June "100 Top Corvette Shops" article, we inadvertently left out the following:
Vinci Hi Performance
105 Candace Dr., Unit 101
Maitland, FL 32751
(407) 478- 8388
1190 Hayes Industrial Dr.
Marietta, GA 30062
(770) 919-7974 (fax)
Also, Precision Motive of Hayward, California, was listed incorrectly as Precision Automotive. Finally, we learned The Vette Wrench Inc. of Naperville, Illinois, is out of business. We called the number listed, (630) 820-7400, and the recording states the number is being checked for trouble. We cannot validate if the initial claim is correct.
On The Block
This month, our coverage of Corvettes sold at special-interest and collector-car auctions took place in Washington, Arizona, Oklahoma, and New Jersey.
The majority of the sold Corvettes were in average street-driven condition. As one would expect, top honors went to a few of the Corvettes with the optional motors and special documentation. Leading the sales list was a '67 roadster with the 427-435 motor option that sold for $104,500. The No. 2 spot went to a '60 roadster in restored condition at $80,500. It had the optional dual carburetor, 283-245 motor, and a removable hardtop.
Rarely seen in today's market is a black '54 roadster, as it's been reported that only four were painted black. This beauty found a new home for $77,500.
The early models were few in number. A '61 roadster with a 283-270 motor changed owners at $59,000, and a '62 roadster with a 327-340 motor sold for $35,500.
The mid-years were selling above today's average prices. A '63 coupe with a 327-300 motor (built in August 1963, the last month of '63 production) sold for $38,000. A '64 roadster with an original 327-365 motor and both tops sold for $55,750, which was certainly at the high end of the scale for a '64 model.