The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.

Photographer: Basem Wasef/Bloomberg Business

The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.

Photographer: Basem Wasef/Bloomberg Business

Ten Gorgeous, Rare Vintage Cars From the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Each spring, the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island hosts an intimate celebration of priceless cars, the Councours d'Elegance. This year’s event was the twentieth anniversary, and title sponsor Mercedes-Benz trotted out some high-wattage specimens from their museum collection in Stuttgart. (That included arguably one of the most legendary race cars in history: the 300 SLR that devoured the Mille Miglia in 1955, setting a record that hasn’t been beat since.) Also on hand was an evocative array of exotica from the likes of Jaguar, Ferrari, Porsche, and Maserati. Here are ten of our favorites.
Mercedes-Benz W196 R Streamliner
Mercedes-Benz W196 R Streamliner
This slinky creation in the Speed Racer spirit made its debut at the French Grand Prix in 1954 at the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling, boasting aerodynamically efficient bodywork for high-speed tracks that could be swapped for an open-wheel setup at slower courses. Legendary racer Stirling Moss joined forces with Fangio by driving the Streamliner in the 1955 Grand Prix season, although the 300 SLR is what rocketed Moss to stardom.
Photographer: Basem Wasef/Bloomberg Business
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR
In 1955, Moss and his navigator, Denis “Jenks” Jenkinson, set out in this Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR to compete in the grueling thousand-mile lap of Italy known as the Mille Miglia. The car’s 722 number recalls their start time of 7:22 a.m., a number that became part of racing lore when they finished the Brescia-to-Rome round trip in 10:07:48—an astounding average speed of 97.90 miles per hour. This was an innovative piece of machinery for its time, with a direct-injected engine and Desmodromic valves that made sustained stints at more than 170 mph drama-free affairs.
Photographer: Basem Wasef/Bloomberg Business
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Ferrari GTOs have become Holy Grail items for billionaire collectors, and this 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO has stood above that rarified microcosm since it became the world’s most expensive car after trading hands for $35 million in 2012. This GTO was built for Moss but never raced by him because a 1962 crash at Goodwood ended his career. Nonetheless, this GTO seemed perfectly at home surrounded by its former competitors on the lawn.
Photographer: Basem Wasef/Bloomberg Business
1960 Porsche RS60
1960 Porsche RS60
This Porsche RS60, serial number 718-041, boasts a rich racing history that includes a Targa Florio win in 1960 and a second-place finish at the Nürburgring 1000. Moss fought an epic battle behind the wheel at the Nürburgring in 1961 and made a dramatic comeback to second place before the engine failed. This particular chassis later served as a factory mule for drivetrain testing before it was acquired by Stanford University’s Revs Institute for Automotive Research.
Photographer: Basem Wasef/Bloomberg Business
1937 Bugatti 57SC Atalante
1937 Bugatti 57SC Atalante
Some of the most gorgeous vehicles in automotive history hailed from 1920s and '30s-era France, a period when art deco elements and sumptuous curves made cars look more like rolling sculptures than transportation items. This Bugatti 57SC Atalante is one of only seven built and was once a part of the Harrahs Collection in Reno, Nev. A recent restoration took it back to its original color and configuration. Of the legendary French nameplates—Delage, Delahaye, Talbot Lago, and so forth—only Bugatti continues to produce, linking this classic beauty to the present.
Photographer: Basem Wasef/Bloomberg Business
1968 Lamborghini Miura
1968 Lamborghini Miura
Ferruccio Lamborghini shocked the world—not to mention archrival Enzo Ferrari—when he unveiled the Lamborghini Miura at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show. The sensuously curved beauty wore lashes like Veruschka and a tightly packaged, transversely-mounted V12 that made it the fastest car of its day, later earning an unofficial designation as the world’s first supercar. This particular example came out of restoration just in time to show at Amelia.
Photographer: Basem Wasef/Bloomberg Business
1928 Stutz Blackhawk Streamliner
1928 Stutz Blackhawk Streamliner
Few recreations deserve true vintage bona fides, but this stunning aluminum redo is a-OK in our books. Based on the famed 16-cylinder streamliner that set a land speed record at Daytona Beach but later killed driver Frank Lockhart at an estimated 225 mph, this Jeb Scolman-built homage is impeccably finished and painstakingly put together.
Photographer: Basem Wasef/Bloomberg Business
1939 Frazer Nash-BMW
1939 Frazer Nash-BMW
Only 464 BMW 328s were produced from 1936 to 1940, but this nifty green and white number is even more of an oddball because it found its way to Archie Frazer-Nash in the U.K., where it was fitted with a custom streamlined body. Its 79hp engine is humble by today’s standards, but this zingy lightning bolt managed to finish 6th in its class and 12th overall at Spa-Francorchamps in 1949, with Dickie Stoop at the wheel.
Photographer: Basem Wasef/Bloomberg Business
1930 Cord L29 Brooks Stevens Speedster
1930 Cord L29 Brooks Stevens Speedster
The Amelia Island Concours awards two Best in Show winners recognizing elegance and sportiness, and this domino-colored, vestigial-tailed Cord scored the former distinction. Brooks Stevens was one of the founders of the Industrial Designers Society of America, which helps explain why he completely restyled this Cord when he purchased it in 1930. Though it’s quite the looker with its flowing body work and delicate headlights, this Speedster has participated in plenty of hill climbs and races, including the Copperstate 1000 Rally.
Photographer: Basem Wasef/Bloomberg Business
1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Short Chassis Spyder
1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Short Chassis Spyder
The Best in Show Concours de Sport award was scored by this jaunty roadster that packs a straight-eight cylinder engine and plenty of race heritage. Elegant and sleek, this model made its name competing in everything from the Mille Miglia (sweeping victories from 1932 to 1934) to the 24 Hours of Spa.
Photographer: Basem Wasef/Bloomberg Business