The annual trek to Amelia Island each year has seen an explosion of air-cooled Porsches appearing on every corner during Amelia Car Week. The Porsche Club of America (PCA) Werks Reunion brings together over 600 Porsches on the Friday of car week. This is the main driving factor for seeing a Porsche on every corner. The growth of the event from a two-day weekend to becoming “Amelia Car Week” doesn’t hurt either.
When I first started to come to Amelia in the late nineties, rooms were available at a reasonable rate, you could get into restaurants and you waved at fellow car enthusiasts as you passed each other in your collector car on Route A1A. The Amelia Island Concours was on Sunday and the RM Collector Car Auction was on Saturday so it was a nice weekend of car activities for those “in the know” of the collector car world.
Of course, in the late nineties, all Porsches on the road were air-cooled, but they gradually disappeared on the island as the new, modern water-cooled Porsches became the “Porsches to have.” The start of the PCA Werks Reunion and the run-up of air-cooled Porsche prices, in the early 2000’s, changed all that.
Now that the weekend is five-day event with the Concours, four auctions, Werks Reunion and Hagerty Cars & Community Porsche enthusiasts dominate the island. The high-end, glamorous auction houses of RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Company and Bonhams now feature an extensive collection of collector Porsches to sell to the well-heeled Porsche enthusiasts drawn to the island by Werks Reunion.
Last year Hagerty Insurance bought out the Amelia Concours, renamed the event The Amelia and bought into the new Broad Arrow Auctions so that Hagerty now dominates the weekend with their entities. It has not lessened the enthusiasm of Porsche owners to drive, show, sell and buy a Porsche.
Over 40 air-cooled Porsches featured at the four auctions with the highest prices being fetched for the famous racing Porsches such as the Leyton House 962 or the rare 1969 Porsche 911 factory T/R at Gooding & Company, while Broad Arrow featured a Vic Elford Targa Florio winning Porsche 907K. The 907K did not sell, but is now available for $4,700,000.
The Saturday morning Hagerty Cars & Community held on the grounds of the Ritz Carlton as a lead-up to the featured concours on Sunday has become a must-attend event featuring all marques, but dominated by Porsches. This year’s event had showers most of the morning, but it didn’t seem to sway attendees’ enthusiasm. Many of the same cars that were at the Friday Werks Reunion appeared again on Saturday, but they showed in a totally different environment from the Friday Werks.
The Sunday Amelia Concours was featuring a special collection of nine Porsche 959’s on the show field. Five of them appeared for the Cars & Community on Saturday.
The rain personally dampened Air Brigade’s desire to stomp through the wet fields, so we took advantage of an invitation by RM Sotheby’s to attend a brunch to celebrate the final Amelia auction by RM Sotheby’s. The quality of RM Sotheby’s venue and cars were the highest with just four air-cooled Porsches, but they were the best of the best with a historic early 911 race car, a factory turbo slant nose, and two pristine early 911S’s.
As the Air Brigade team returned to the beach house after another day of cars, Porsches and auctions, the heads continued to swivel along A1A with the next sighting of another air-cooled Porsche. Just going to dinner at Salt Life in Fernandina Beach had Air Brigade meeting member Chuck Harris and his ’76 Guards Red 930 while sighting the two cool 914’s casually parked in the public lot.
Key words: Air-Cooled Porsches, Amelia Car Week, The Amelia