Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance 2012

You do not have to be a college student to experience Spring Break! Amelia Island Concours is the first of the triple crown of USA Concours events, held in early March, this is the first sense that winter is over, and how the season begins for many MBCA members.

The week before the “Amelia Island Show” is filled with events that satisfy any automotive enthusiast. Car auctions, seminars, marque drives of new models and celebrity-studded social events make up the glamour and excitement of the Amelia Island experience, and has for the last 17 years.

Mercedes-Benz is right there in the center of everything - as a founding sponsor of the show, showing off classic, as well as brand new models, highlighting the brand in a number of ways. From displays and drives, to dinners and press introductions of new models!

This year AMG played a big role having the AMG Driving Academy staff on hand to demonstrate the AMG product line. From the C63 AMG Coupe to the E63 Wagon, and of course the full line of C, E, and S sedans, CLS, and SLS. Not just a display of Mercedes-Benzs alone, attendees are able to test drive many different high-line brands around this island paradise.

For those who like to shop, you can buy everything from auto themed art work and jewelry to the cars themselves. Two prestigious auction houses, RM Auctions and Gooding & Company hold high-line vehicle auctions in the days prior to the show, with vehicles going into the six and seven digits!

Arriving on Friday we attended the Gooding & Company Auction at the Omni Plantation. Although not directly affiliated with the Amelia Island Concours, RM benefits from the excitement and the crowds that come for the Amelia Island Concours weekend of events.

Friday is a great day to take in the seminars, vendor displays and new marque drives held at the Ritz Carlton where the Amelia Concours is hosted. Friday is a more intimate experience than Saturday, you are not overwhelmed by the crowds and you get to see the cars and talk with manufacturers representatives, visit with friends, that may not be as easy to do on Saturday or Sunday.

Saturday repeats what happens on Friday, just with more enthusiasm! Saturday night is when a number of dinner and social events happen, including the annual MBCA | Peachtree and Mercedes-Benz Dinners.
This year the MBCA | Peachtree Section dinner was host to members from 17 different sections around the country. A select number of MBCA members are invited to attend the black-tie dinner held at the Ritz Carlton hosted by Mercedes-Benz.

The culmination of events is the show on Sunday. This year it has expanded to include more cars and more people than ever before. Mercedes-Benz Club of America this year provided “The Mercedes-Benz Club of America Award” for the Most Historically Significant Mercedes-Benz. Presented by MBCA Past National President, Roger Van Ness. I was awarded to a 1952 Mercedes-Benz W194, owned by Bruce and Jolene McCaw of Bellevue, WA.

Each year this event becomes more popular and grows in strength, from the activities and the vendors, to the show itself! If you have not attended, you are missing a great opportunity to see and experience an amazing Concours event.  Next year’s event will be held March 8-10 2013, plan on attending, and participating as an MBCA member.

Book Review: Pagoda Style: Our Stories, Our Pictures, Our Cars.

Pagoda Style: Our Stories, Our Pictures, Our Cars.
by Michael Salemi
If you’ve ever wanted a W113 SL (230, 250,280) or if you own one already, you will want to pick up this hardcover book. It is a collection of stories from owners  all over the world!  How they came about the car, what drove them to own the car, and how they have cared for the car(s) they have owned.

The 144 page book also contains beautiful pictures that accompany each article. Photos of the cars, and the owners including orginal works of Paul Bracq, such as his Pagoda painting. Pagoda Style recently won the Silver Award from the Indpendant Publishers Book Awards!

It will be an excellent addition to your MB library, one you will want to display or give as a gift to a friend.  A limited edition print run with less than 100 copies remaining, order soon before they are all gone! 

Find out more about the book on the www.sl113.org website, as well as Facebook. If you aspire to own one of these classics or if you own one, this book is a “must have”.
Michael Salemi, past president of MBCA’s International Stars Section and a contributing editor to MBCA’s Star magazine, conceived, designed and edited the book and is now offering it for sale to the public.

The cost is $75 (US) available on Amazon, as well as directly from the author Michael Salemi          mdsalemi@sbcglobal.net.