March 11-12 2016
So this year I had the pleasure of making it back to North Florida for what is clearly the East Coast alternative to Pebble Beach, the several days of automotive fun centered around the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. I did not attend Concours Sunday this year, as I was too tired after driving down late (VERY late) on Thursday from North Carolina, and running about at the RM Auction preview on Friday. Combine the fact I had my car (a newly restored 1970 Fiat 124 Coupe) entered in the Cars & Coffee event, and attended a private party on Saturday night, it meant I was pretty knackered by Sunday AM, and unable to get out of bed to get to the Concours.
Nonetheless, I saw plenty of fine cars over Friday and Saturday, and had fun talking about my 124 to the attending crowds at the Cars & Coffee. I was asked numerous questions about the car, many saying “I once had one and wish I had kept it”, and one person saying “you look rather young to be interested in this type of car”. I said in response “well, my tastes are a bit unconventional” (only the tip of the iceberg there) while finding the question a bit funny. I have a real affinity for cars built between about 1950 and 1973, the reasons are somewhat hard to explain, but foremost because it was an era in which styling reached its peak. Before computers, in an era where automobiles could be designed with few design restrictions forced by need to adhere to safety and emissions laws , cars reflected the creative thoughts of the engineers and designers at the auto companies, resulting in a great diversity of product. In addition, it was an era of global trade protectionism, so auto companies focused heavily on domestic markets. This also meant the cars were direct reflections of the tastes of the consumers and auto designers of the originating nations. The auto was not the appliance it is today, but much more a creative expression of the society from which the designs sprang.
To give you a flavor of the auction and Cars and Coffee event, without further delay let me head on to the pictures.