Saturday at Amelia Island

I once was ridiculed in critique class in Art School for one of my sunrise photographs, and have hesitated snapping a picture for years whenever I saw a sunrise. Well, screw the Fine Art Critics!

The Saturday show under the new Hagerty ownership started with a Trifecta of car shows: Cars and Coffee, Radwood, and Concours De Lemons. If you’re a car guy in America, you would have probably attended or heard of one of these car shows. Each one of these events has shown the diversity of the car culture in America and that it’s not just about middle aged white guys on a golf course looking at restored automobiles! Don’t get me wrong, I love going to Pebble Beach, and all the usual shows I grew up with, but times are a changin’!

Concours D’Lemons started by Alan Galbraith as a spin off idea of the race series 24 Hours du Lemons by celebrating the lower and less desirable part of the automobile. From the “Head Gasket” Galbraith, to all the participants, no one takes cars seriously and seems to thumb its nose at all things Concours! The irony is the popularity of this movement had brought Alan and his followers to the lawns at Amelia Island!

Not taking itself seriously is a welcome addition to the world of Automotive Shows, and although it may confuse the octogenarians that wandered across the street to to see all these young people and their self deprecating cars, the fans of this show are just as dedicated to celebrating the automobile as any one else!

Radwood, is the second show of three that happened on Saturday, and this show it mash up of the word Radical, and Goodwood. The Goodwood Revival held in the UK celebrates an era of the 40s through the 60s with cars and culture. Not only do the participants dress in period clothing, but most of the spectators do as well. The organizers of “Radwood” wanted to celebrate the “Radical” cars of the 80s and 90s that really weren’t getting any love in any sort of show in America. I attended my first Radwood a few years ago, dressed in a nylon track suit and white sneakers and had a ton of fun.

Radwood is now under the Hagerty flag and they waved it along with the other two shows proudly displaying some great cars from the 80s and 90s. I grew up with these cars and was amazed the owners today are not my age, but younger. After thinking about it, I was their age in the 80s driving my “66 Mustang to high school!

The biggest event held on the main lawn at the Ritz Carlton was the Cars and Coffee Event. Unlike other C&C events, this one had a pre-registration with tickets for entry, but was included with your ticket to all the Amelia Island shows. This show attracted everything from Tom Cotter’s real 289 Corbra, to GTOs of the Pontiac kind. Hundreds of cars were in attendance with vendors and food. If half of these people had Hagerty Insurance Policies, McKeel Hagerty was on the right track!

The Saturday event was fantastic with something for everyone. There was more of camaraderie among the owners and their fellow collectors and less off an elitism that can be felt at a major Concours. If I had one concern, it would be the future of Radwood. Upon my return from Amelia Island, I heard Hagerty bought the Radwood series of shows, so I would imagine they will plan to incorporate this show with Amelia again, and continue to do it with their upcoming Greenwich Concours in June. Having three shows in one is a great value, but one of the successes of Radwood was the unique idea of a car show. Showing a car from a. specific period in time and celebrating that particular culture and lifestyle through clothes and accessories is what made Radwood special with not only the car owners, but the spectators who also participated. I believe incorporating it with two other shows on the same day will perhaps dissuade spectators from dressing up and participating in what is so much fun with Radwood. It’s a minor concern and I would imagine the people in charge at Hagerty have great plans for all the shows!