Saturday at Amelia, Finding the Cars ...
By Ken Visser
Saturdays at Amelia are very busy. It's like the calm before the storm but you feel the ratcheting up of the anticipation. Both Goodings and RM have significant auctions at the Amelia Island Concours. The top sale at Goodings on Friday was a 1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder that sold for $4.4 million. Speculation has it going to the Seinfeld collection. At RM on Saturday, a 1929 Cord L-29 Special Coupe went for $2,420,000. Astounding figures for astounding vehicles. Once again, provenance and presence drive the pricing.
In the parking lot, a mechanical frenzy of test drives in Lamborghinis, Audi's, Mercedes, and Porsches compete with incoming hotel traffic and the rumblings of an occasional vintage car pacing up the drive.
The RM auction fired up at 11 a.m. but I wanted to hunt for cars. My quest was temporarily quenched by this car:
It's a one-of-a-kind 1938 Delage D8S Sports Model. I interviewed the owner who had just purchased it at the Milhouse auction one month ago. This was the car maiden voyage and the owner was learning all about the French bombshell.
As I drove up we found John Sloane by his very loud 1968 L88 Corvette. The L88 is a legendary motor meant to go fast. The cars were very conservatively advertised at 425 hp but in reality belched out more the 550 hp.
Tucked around the corner I found this leviathon lurking:
This 1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster was owned by Alfred Hitchcock. His signature is enshrined in the centercap for the steering wheel.
I was interviewing John Sloan about his L-88 when this magnificent Ferrari strolled in:
The 1969 Ferrari 512S came roaring right next to our spot. It garnered signficant attention one might say. This is the ultimate derivation of the venerated Ferrari P3 - P4 race cars.
After Peters Point, I came back to the field for the first phase of load-in. This is when any car can be left overnight in the elements (and careful covering in most cases). It is here that I encountered the ultimate prize:
This particular Ferrari 250 GTO is one of 36. It was driven by John Surtees to much acclaim. It has been under the same ownership for 45 continuous years. The car is driven and has all the imperfections of a life of competition which conversely makes it more valuable.