Amelia Island
2006 Concours d'Elegance


The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is regarded as ‘a Concours as good as Pebble Beach, but without an ego’.  This event, in the short span of eleven years, has grown to be one of the world’s finest shows.  The proceeds of this year’s Concours benefited the Community Hospice of Northern Florida.  The show field occupied none other than the 10th and 18th greens of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island and Golf Club.  An elegant setting for a most unusual and unique car show.

This year’s Honorary Chairman was racing legend Johnny Rutherford, who was introduced driving his 1974 Indy-winning McLaren M16C onto the field.  The featured automotive marquee for this years event was the Stanley Steamer.  Nineteen well preserved examples of various Stanley models, including one absolutely original, gave the thousands attending a glimpse of the the early days of automobile engineering.  There were numerous classes of cars displayed but the DuPont cars were of great interest to many.  No less than nine DuPonts were on display and one won Best in Show, Concours d’Elegance, as well as the DuPont Registry's People's Choice Award, and the Compass Bank Corporate Award for the Best Open Car.  It was a 1931 Model H Sport Phaeton, owned by Richard Riegel, that also won Best in Class and Most Elegant Open Car at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2005.

Brent Campbell was responsible for selecting the best Stanleys to display.  Mike May nominated my recently restored Stanley 735 for inclusion in the field as one of the better examples of a 735 7-passenger touring car that he'd seen.  In December, I was contacted by Brent and asked if I would display my car at Amelia Island.  As I had already made plans with Joe McAleese to attend the Centennial of the Stanley Land Speed Record in January at Ormond Beach, I agreed to leave the car in storage in Florida for six weeks and display it at the Concours d'Elegance.  Little did I expect to receive one of the three First Place Awards in the Condensing Steam Car Class!  At the left is a close-up of the Amelia Award Trophy with its Lalique Crystal Whooping Crane standing on a marble base.

With nearly 300 entries in 37 classes, the show did not include the usual hoards of muscle cars but instead was well stocked with 16-cylinder beauties from Chrysler, Packard, and others.  The "Promotional Vehicle" class offered some unique vehicles rarely seen.  The car that Himler was captured in, complete with bullet holes still intact, was displayed for all to view.  Motorcycles, microcars, turbines, steam and coal-fired vehicles were scattered throughout the entries.  A fashion show was included along with a parade of all the Stanleys for those in the viewing stands.  The event went off like clockwork; a tribute to Chairman Bill Warner and his excellent team of organizers.


On Friday morning, the Stanley was steamed up for the tour of Amelia Island.  Standing to the right is Curt Fullom with his son Curtis in the front seat.  Part of the steaming-up process for a Stanley is pumping fuel pressure.  Curtis is watching the fuel gauge as when it reaches 100 PSIG he will start pumping up fuel pressure to 120 PSIG.

The steam venting underneath the car is coming from the engine drip valve and is part of the preheating of the engine cylinders.

In addition to honoring the Stanley marquee, the Concours d'Elegance honored the career of 3-time Indy Winner Johnny Rutherford.  Johnny had never ridden in a steam car and Friday's tour was his opportunity.  We had extra seats available so Johnny rode with us.
Our Friday tour took us to the north end of Amelia Island and a visit to Fort Clinch State Park.  From Fort Clinch we traveled to the rustic town of Fernandina Beach located on the Amelia River.  Parking areas were blocked off for a display of all the steam cars invited to the Concours.  While on display we were treated to a delicious lunch at the restaurant off to the left in the photo.
This 1906 Stanley Model EX is perhaps the desire of many Stanley owners because it is entirely original.  This car has not been restored and features original paint, leather, and hardware.  It is exceedingly rare to find a Stanley that is just as it left the factory; untouched by its owners.  Only a couple of Stanleys still exist in this condition.  Here the Model EX is driven by Stanley Museum founder Sue Davis with the car's owner, Albert Wiseman, as passenger.
Mid-afternoon we returned to the industrial park where our car trailers were parked.  The afternoon was spent cleaning the wire wheels and wiping down the interior leather.  Saturday would be spent polishing nickel, cleaning linoleum and carpets, polishing the body, and generally cleaning the car in preparation for Sunday's show.

Curtis Fullom stands in front of the steam jets exiting the front of the car during the boiler blowdown.

On Sunday morning, all of the steam car owners (except perhaps those driving the Doble) were up bright and early to steam up their cars.  Once steam was up to 600 PSIG, the car was driven to the display field located on the 10th and 18th greens of the Ritz-Carlton golf course. 
The Stanley was parked on the 18th green along with other condensing steam cars invited to the Concours.  The green ribbon on the left windshield column signified that the car had been on tour on Friday.  Just over the center of the raised hood can be seen the top of the Blue Ribbon hanging from the right windshield support column.  This indicates that the car had won the Amelia Award for the condensing class.
The show got started with Johnny Rutherford taking a lap around the show field in the McLaren M16C he won the 1974 Indy 500 with.
When Stanleys are displayed, it is not uncommon to hear someone tell someone they are with, that a Stanley is coal fired.  Others will ask if a Stanley is coal fired.  All Stanleys were either gasoline or kerosene fired depending on the era of the car.

This year's Concours featured a car actually powered by coal.  The 1938 Citroen Traction Avant included a coal conversion that occupied two conversion canisters to either side of the engine just behind the front wheel.  The basic principal was that as the coal burned, the emitted gasses would be collected and directed to the cylinders for burning.  A bag of coal bricks rests on the ground.

The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance strives to distinguish itself from other Concours by offering unique vehicles seldom seen.  Included in the display field was this 1932 Helicron prototype.  Owned by the Lane Motor Museum, the car is seen here being prepared for it's drive over to the display field. 
Several turbine powered cars were in the display field.  Pictured here is a 1963 Chrysler Turbine car.  Chrysler built 55 prototypes and loaned them out to the public for evaluation under varied driving conditions and to determine the public's reaction to turbine power.  Designed to run on diesel fuel, the car would run on any flammable liquid. Fuels tested included unleaded gas, kerosene, jet fuel, home heating oil, peanut oil, tequila and even Chanel No. 5.

Public reaction to the car was positive, but Chrysler gave up development of the turbine engine in favor of getting the piston engine up to par. All but a few of the cars were crushed or melted to avoid paying import tariffs on their Italian-built bodies.
The Promotional Vehicle class of cars drew a lot of attention.  The Moxie Company is the oldest bottler of soft drinks in the US. Years ago they had a fleet of six of these cars which were used for parades and publicity. The driver sits atop the horse and drives the car using the stirrups as the accelerator and brake.

This is a replica Moxie Car built and owned by Will Markey of Dallastown, PA. Mr. Markey built this one with permission of the Moxie Company with a 1927 Rolls Royce. Only one of the original cars still exists.

Behind the Moxie car is the 1930 Budweiser II Cadillac from the 2004 St. Louis Exposition.  Behind the Budweiser car is the top of the 1947 Chrysler New Yorker Zippo Lighter car.

The lush grasses of the 10th and 18th greens displayed some of the most elegant cars ever produced.  This photo, taken before the public was permitted to enter the display field, shows many of the press and media who were permitted early access to photograph the cars as they were positioned on the field. 

In the background is the 1949 GM Futurliner  A similar Futurliner sold for 4.3 million at the 2006 Barrett-Jackson Auction.  The tenth of twelve built, it is the only one restored to original condition.  Eight other Futurliners exist today.  Weighing just over 26,000 pounds, it’s 33 feet long and 13 feet tall. Power comes from a 302-cubic-inch, inline 6-cylinder engine that delivers a mere 145 horsepower. Top speed for the Futurliner is about 50 mph.

In addition to a fashion show, the event planners held a Parade of Stanleys where each owner took their car around the field and were introduced to those attending the show.  A description of the car and a brief history were broadcast over the PA system while the car moved past the reviewing area.
This photo taken late in the morning shows, how crowded the display field became within a couple of hours.  In the foreground is the 1918 Stanley 7-passenger Touring car along with the 1921 Model 735 Roadster to the right.  Several of the Can-Am cars are off to the left center of the photo across from the Stanleys.
The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance awards three trophies for the various classes of cars entered.  While all are designated First Place awards, the three awards are the Amelia Award, Class Award, and Corporate Award.  In addition there are Peoples' Choice and Best of Show awards.

The Class Award for Condensing Steam Cars was awarded to Scott and Susan Cruse's 1921 Stanley Model 735 Roadster

Winning the Parish-Heacock Corporate Award for the most elegant steam car was this 1925 Doble E-series owned by the Nethercutt Collection.  This photo was taken while the car was being positioned on the field. 

A 1921 Doble Open Phaeton 5 seater is positioned to the left of the 1925 Doble.

Robert Wilhelm's 1918 Stanley Model 735 7-passenger Touring car won the Amelia Award.

Just beyond the 1918 Stanley is Pat and Merrily Farrell's 1916 Stanley Model 826 Mountain Wagon.

For the presentation of the awards, the cars winning their class were queued up.  Each was called up in turn for the awarding of the trophies and a brief discussion with the car's owner/driver.  A large section of bleachers was set up for reviewing the cars as they made their way to the reviewing stand.

Pictured above are the ribbons and trophy awarded during the 2006 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.  The green ribbon signified that a steam car participated in the Marquee Tour on Friday.  The Blue Ribbon recognizes the car as a First Place winner.  At the right is the trophy featuring a Lalique Crystal Whooping Crane on a polished marble base along with the Amelia Island Award plate.  The blue license plate is one of the souvenirs provided to each entrant in recognition of their participation.  The link below lists all of the awards presented at the 2006 Amelia Concours

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