AMELIA ISLAND, FLORIDA—Elo. He goes by only one name, with bases in Florida and in London, where he owns an auto museum that specializes in supercars. Once one of Britain’s best-known male models, he invested his money in cars instead of, you know, whatever models buy.
Elo brought one of his cars over from England to the Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance, driving it up from Miami (where he has an art gallery). The concours celebrates the exotic and unusual, and Elo’s car fits—it’s a two-door 2010 Maybach 57S Coupe, as customized by Xanetec. They cost $985,000 new, and the one in Florida is the sole example in the U.S.
Just about everything on the Ritz Carlton lawn was very special in some way, and many were unique.
Here’s a photo gallery of some breathtaking cars I thought were a kind of visual candy, plus a few of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s wilder customs—united at Amelia Island for the first time:
This beautiful early Ferrari, a 1951 212 Export Barchetta, is one of only seven made. It won several races, and was seen in the film The Racers, starring Kirk Douglas. The current owner relocated the original body and commissioned a two-year restoration in Italy.
Ferrari never actually built a station wagon, alas. This one, a 1972 Daytona, was designed by Luigi “Coco” Chinetti, Jr. (son of Ferrari’s importer) and Gene Garfinkle. With a 4.4-liter V-12, it’s capable of 173 mph, and will also get your groceries. The “bread van” Ferrari has less than 4,000 miles on the odometer.
This Jaguar 150S convertible was parked with just 42,000 miles, and slept for decades, before a Greek enthusiast found it and got it back on the road. Its current Connecticut owners commissioned a full restoration. It was a Amelia Island class winner.
One of the most beautiful cars ever built, the BMW 507’s $10,000 cost (in the 1950s!) doomed it in the marketplace. Only 252 were built, and Elvis Presley had one in Germany. This other one at Amelia Island was equipped with a rare hardtop, as well as knock-off wheels.
John Tojeiro styled some race cars that bore a strong resemblance to the Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta. He sold a version of his design to AC for the car that became the Ace, and then the Cobra. So was Ferrari responsible for the Cobra, or was John Tojeiro?
This is an actual Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta, with body by Oblin. Does it look like a Cobra?
Only three Cisitalia 202 SC convertibles were made by the Italian coachbuilder Vignale, and here’s one of them, powered by a tiny four-cylinder, 1.1-liter engine.
The Kurtis convertible was the brainchild of Frank Kurtis of Glendale, California. Just 17 were built before the company crashed and burned. A Kurtis was Motor Trend’s first cover car in 1949.
This 1961 Porsche/Abarth 356 Carrera came first in class at LeMans in 1961, and second in 1962. Carreras were being celebrated—the only 356 customized by George Barris was also present.
“Shooting brakes” were wood-bodied hunting cars. This 1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom I is now resident at a ranch in Mineola, Texas.
“Outlaw” was the first “Big Daddy” Roth custom, with a fiberglass body and a 1949 Cadillac engine. Believe it or not, the 1957 “Outlaw” began life as a 1929 Model A Ford.
From 1961 comes the “Beatnik Bandit I,” built on a 1949 Oldsmobile chassis. The bubble top is clear acrylic, and undoubtedly turned the car into an oven.
Two years later, Roth built “Mysterion,” powered by two side-by-side 406-cubic-inch Thunderbird engines. It also had two FMX transmissions. This isn’t the original; it’s a replicar built by Galpin Motors.
“Surfite” was right in time for the surfing craze, and was featured in the movie Bikini Beach. It was sedate for a Roth car, with a 60-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Roth signed the car, praising the restoration.
And finally, this tiny thing, seen with owner Jeff Lane of the memorable Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, is a British-made Peel. In one seater form, it's the smallest roadgoing car ever made, but this is the limousine-like two-seater. Ripley's Believe it or Not loves these microcars.