The 13th Amelia Island Concours -- called by some the Pebble Beach of the East Coast -- will begin on March 7th at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island in Florida. Held on the last two holes of the Ritz's golf course, this year's event will host 250 rare cars from private collections and museums, the traditional RM Auction, and will also be GM's splashdown as the first event of the General's 100-year anniversary. It will include the auctioning or appearance of three one-of-a-kind vehicles, and a Trans-Am rumble honoring Parnelli Jones. And who doesn't like the sound of a Trans-Am rumble?

Related Gallery2008 Amelia Island Concours Cars



RM Auctions will host its gavel-thumping vintage motor car extravaganza the day before the Concours, on Saturday. Among the cars on offer will be two one-of-a-kind Fords commissioned by Edsel: the 1934 Model 40 Ford Special Speedster, and the heart-front 1934 Brewster Ford Town Car. The Speedster has been to the Concours twice before, but this year it's driving up on the block to find a new home. Edsel Ford got the for it from a trip to Europe -- like a few of us today, he decided he wanted a car with a "Continental look." The boattail speedster was designed with Eugene T. "Bob" Gregorie, and Edsel liked it so much he used it as his personal car until he died. It's expected to fetch... a lot -- RM doesn't even list a reserve price.

The second special Ford one-of-a-kinder is the 1934 Brewster Ford Custom Town Car. Also commissioned by Edsel, this one was about his taste for American luxury as opposed to Euro speedsters. Ford spoke to the folks at Brewster, which was one of America's most prestigious coachbuilders (they had done bodies for Rolls-Royce before RRNA closed shop). During the Depression, Brewster turned to putting luxury bodies on economy chassis, and Ford ordered one of their sedans, customized with a Model 40 grille and a hood without louvers, 1936 Ford style headlights, 16-inch wheels, and a 1938-type banjo steering wheel, and in 1939 he installed a Mercury V8. The car hasn't been fully restored and RM doesn't list a reserve on this one either, but we suspect you should have well into six figures on hand if you want to make it yours.

In all there'll be 250 cars on the block, the highlights of which are: a 1929 Franklin Model 137 Dual Cowl Sport Touring, a 1936 Packard Eight Phaeton, a 1966 Shelby GT 350 Racing Car, a 1933 Packard Super Eight Convertible Victoria, 1932 Lincoln KB Dual Windshield Phaeton by Brunn, the 1934 Brewster Edsel Ford Custom Town Car, a 1911 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 Seven-Passenger Touring, and a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy that's expected to fetch up to $2 million.

The other big non-Ford car to see during the Concours is the Thomas Flyer that won The Great Race in 1908. The race -- only held once -- covered 22,000 miles from New York to Paris, via Alaska, Japan, Siberia, and Berlin. The Thomas Flyer did the do in 169 days. The runner up didn't arrive until 26 days later. The two ton car had a 4-cylinder that got it up to 60-MPH -- back when 60-MPH meant something -- and it's been restored to its original race trim. The car looks straight out of the Beverly Hillbillies, and the idea of crossing Siberia in it makes us shiver.

The Concours' seminar series is going to honor Trans-Am and Indy 500 champion Parnelli Jones. Along with drivers Dan Gurney, George Follmer, and Sam Posey, they'll be talking about the Trans-Am series from the seventies. There'll also be a showcase of cars on hand as well for a Trans-Am rumble. We're hoping that Jones' championship-winning Grabber Orange Mustang Boss 302 will get a chance to throw down against GM's Hugger Orange new Camaro. That's a rumble we'd make the trip to see.

The full press release is below, and be sure to check out the gallery of hi-res photos.

[Source: Amelia Island Concours]

PRESS RELEASE:

HIDDEN FROM PUBLIC EYE FOR DECADES, DISTINCTIVE PAIR OF EDSEL FORD'S PERSONAL AUTOMOBILES MAKE AUCTION DEBUT ON AMELIA ISLAND

RM Auctions will celebrate their 10th annual 'Automobiles of Amelia Island' event with the sale of two historic custom-built Edsel Ford motor cars. Hidden in storage for decades, the sale marks the first time these distinguished automobiles have been offered at public auction. They will join a magnificent line up of other motoring treasures at the elegant Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island on March 8, 2008.

To be held at the elegant Ritz-Carlton Hotel on March 8, 2008, the annual multi-million dollar sale is held in conjunction with the world-renowned Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. Combined, these events make for the ultimate vintage car weekend for discerning collectors.

"To many collectors, the Amelia Island vintage car weekend is regarded as the 'Pebble Beach' of the East Coast," said Ian Kelleher, Managing Director of RM Auctions. "Both the auction and the concours events have attracted increasing international interest over the years – including strong European attendance – with many European collectors choosing Amelia Island over Pebble Beach due to its closer proximity," he added.

For those with a passion for Fords, one of the star attractions of the 2008 auction line-up is an historic 1934 Ford Model 40 Special Speedster, custom-built for Edsel Ford. A sports car enthusiast with an affinity for European style, Edsel Ford had the Model 40 Special Speedster built for his own private collection in 1934 after being inspired by a trip to Europe. Often referred to as the Continental Series II Speedster, it was the personal vehicle and alleged favorite of Mr. Ford from 1934 up until his death in 1943. The '34 Speedster has the overall effect of a pure racing car- a low-riding aluminum body, twin windscreens, no doors and headlamps positioned at axle height. Sold after Mr. Ford's passing, it remained in storage for nearly 40 years before being purchased by its current owner in 1999. Its sale at RM's Amelia Island event presents an extremely rare and unique ownership opportunity and is expected to draw significant global interest.

"The Edsel Ford Speedster is an American Icon and one of Ford's most significant motor cars ever built," added Kelleher. "It is quite possibly the most famous and well-documented unique one-off custom car in American automobile history. Seen by millions of people around the world, it's significance in US history is never to be duplicated."

Also set to cross the block at RM's Amelia Island auction is an original, one-of-a-kind 1934 Brewster Edsel Ford Custom Town Car.

"If the '34 Speedster reflected Edsel Ford's passion for sports cars, the elegant '34 Brewster surely portrayed his predilection for refined sophistication," said Kelleher.

This elegant automobile was a collaborative effort between the Ford Motor Company and Brewster & Co, regarded as the country's oldest and most prestigious coachbuilder in the 1930s. The car came into production after Ford approached Brewster to produce a series of limited production motor cars combining a Ford chassis with a prestigious Brewster body; when production commenced, Mr. Ford arranged for one of the cars to be personalized for his own collection. This car differentiated from the rest of the line in its color scheme, use of a '34 Ford Front end, and various other special amenities. Launched at the 1934 New York Auto Show, it is believed the Edsel Ford example was the first Ford-Brewster seen by the public. Mr. Ford owned the car from 1934 through to 1941, after which it was sold to a collector in New Jersey. It then languished in storage for some 55 years before being purchased by its current owner in 2005.

"The combination of both the 1934 Edsel Ford Special Speedster and the 1934 Brewster Edsel Ford Custom Town car being offered at the same auction, presents a very rare and not-to-be missed ownership opportunity for professional collectors, particularly those with an affinity for the Ford marque," added Kelleher.

"It is very rare for such two such historically important, original custom-built cars to come up for auction, yet alone be offered at the same time. There is no other explanation other than fate that would bring these two cars together. The additional fact that these two cars both languished in storage for so many years, labels them 'hidden gems' and makes this event a truly historic meeting," he added.

Other notable consignments for the March sale include:

• An elegant 1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy
• A rare 1933 Packard Super 8 Convertible Victoria
• A 1911 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 Seven-Passenger Touring
• A handsome 1932 Lincoln KB Dual Cowl Phaeton.

RM's much-anticipated "Automobiles of Amelia Island" – formerly known as "Vintage Motor Cars of Amelia Island" – will be held at the elegant Ritz-Carlton Hotel on March 8th, 2008. An auction preview will be held March 7th between 9am and 6pm. Doors open on March 8th from 9am, with the auction action getting underway from 11am.

The event precedes the famed Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, coincidentally the very same show that the prized 1934 Edsel Ford Speedster has participated in on two previous occasions, and the 1934 Brewster Town Car took out the 'Amelia Award' in the Custom Bodied Fords category in 2006.

Admission to the auction is by catalog only, which admits both the catalog holder and a guest. The full-color collectable catalog is available for $80 U.S. (plus shipping), by calling (800)-211-4371 or visiting www.rmauctions.com.

About RM Auctions Inc.
Celebrating nearly three decades in the collector car industry, RM Auctions, Inc. and its sister companies are responsible for acquisition, restoration and sales of the world's rarest and most valuable vintage automobiles including Best of Show winning cars at the prestigious Pebble Beach, Amelia Island and Meadow Brook Concours. For additional information on RM Auction events, please call (800) 211-4371 or visit
www.rmauctions.com.