2023 Amelia Island Concours
Matt Anderson attended The Amelia, March 3 to 5, at The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island in northeastern Florida. He went back this year to volunteer on Saturday for the Cars & Community and then to spectate Sunday for the 28th Annual Amelia Concours d’Elegance. On Saturday, The Amelia Cars & Community presented by Griot’s Garage had over 500 vehicles on the same field as the Sunday Concours d’Elegance, featuring three segments. Cars & Caffeine, had 350 curated vehicles from across the country. 40 classic and contemporary BMWs were presented in front of the BMW stand. BMW of North America (BMW NA) showed special vehicles from its own US classic collection: the last Z4 M Coupe produced, a 2003 X5 4.6is in Imola Red and one of 50 2001 X5 4.4is produced for the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.
The other BMWs were presented by BMW CCA members spanning a 1973 BMW 3.0 CS to a 2021 BMW M3 Competition with a unique 1976 BMW 2002 Touring in the mix too! Esteban Valentin, M Chapter President, displayed his 2019 BMW F87 M2 Competition at the Griot’s Garage display. It’s always great to see his car with its many performance modifications from front lip spoiler to exhaust and everything in between.
RADwood, featured 150 awesome vehicles from the ’80s and ’90s and a costume contest for the coveted raddest dressed award. Here there were terrific BMWs including many imported E30 wagons and super rare E34 M5 wagon. Concours d’Lemons, a fan favorite celebration had about 50 oddball and unexceptional cars. There weren’t any BMWs in here from his memory but there was an AMC Pacer.
BMW NA and BMW Group Classic (BMW Classic) had a display focused on major celebrations. The first was the 50 Years of the BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ with two cars from Scott Hughes (Scott). He displayed his 1972 BMW CSL FIA Group 2 race car, campaigned under the direction of Jochen Neerpasch, in the German Touring Car Championship as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1973. The BMW Motorsport CSL factory team included drivers Hans Stuck, Chris Amon, Dieter Quester, and Toine Hezemans. One of nineteen original racing CSLs produced, this car, chassis number 997, was the fourth CSL race car built and has an extensive race history both in Europe and North America. His exceptional 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL was parked alongside the display in the 40 car collection as the second CSL. The road version of the 3.0 CSL provided BMW M with a homologation special with which to go racing, “L” in this case meant “Leicht”, or “Lightweight”. Almost every component of the 3.0 CS foundation vehicle was weighed and measured and, wherever possible, replaced with a lighter version. The doors, trunk lid, and hood were made of aluminum. The roof, the partition between the interior and trunk and the wheelwells were all made of thinner steel. The rear and side windows were Perspex. Even the hood supports were replaced with thin rods. Engineers saved about 440 lbs. In 1973, the 3.0 CSL was powered by a 3.2-liter inline-6 making 206 hp, which meant a power-to-weight ratio of 13.6 lbs/hp. Only 167 3.0 CSL road cars left the factory between 1973 and 1975. And his car recently won a prestigious award at the 2022 Hilton Head Island Concours.
The next major celebration was the global introduction of the refreshed 2024 BMW X5 and X6 with four vehicles on display including a X5 M Competition in Isle of Man Green, X5 PHEV in Blue Ridge Mountain, X6 M60i in Atlantis Blue and a X6 M in Frozen Pure Grey. These vehicles were introduced by the head of BMW M from Munich. And there were many friendly BMW Group Classic leaders visiting with BMW owners all weekend.
The third significant exhibit at BMW’s installation was the only 1960 BMW 507 Sport Series II. This particular example, chassis number 70240, is the only 507 designated as a 1960 model on its manufacturer’s plate. It was also the very last 507 to leave the Munich plant (though it was not the last one built) and one of very few to be fitted with the removable hardtop at the factory. The 3.2- liter V8 engine was upgraded to “Surtees” specification in the 1990s, bumping output from about 150 hp to around 165. And while repairs and maintenance have been performed over the years, this 507 has never been fully restored, the owners preferring to maintain it in as close to “as-delivered” condition as possible.
On Sunday, they attended the 28th Annual Amelia Concours d’Elegance where Scott’s 1972 BMW CSL race car was moved from the BMW display to the show field in the Race Car 1966 to 1974 section. Last but not least, BMW Classic displayed a 2000 BMW Williams FW22 in a special group of vehicles associated with this year’s honoree, Jeff Gordon (Jeff). The history and connection to Jeff is when he and Juan Pablo Montoya traded cars during an episode of the popular TV show Trading Paint. While Juan Pablo drove one of Jeff’s Championship winning #24 NASCAR cars, Jeff got time behind the wheel of Juan Pablo’s 2002 BMW Williams FW24 Formula One race car on the Indianapolis Grand Prix Circuit. The FW24 that Jeff drove was a further development of the first car developed in the BMW/Williams partnership: The 2000 FW22 presented here. Both these cars represented BMW’s re-entry to Formula One competition during a brilliant period of engine development featuring powerful, sonically-delightful, naturally aspirated 3.0-liter V10 engines and extremely high rev limits thanks to exotic valvetrains powered by pressurized nitrogen. The FW22 Chassis 02 there was powered by the BMW E41/4 3.0 liter V10 capable of 18,000rpm and producing over 810hp. This chassis raced in its current No. 9 livery during the 2000 season and was piloted by Ralf Schumacher to a fifth-place finish in that year’s Championship, with three podium finishes. Schumacher’s teammate was Jensen Button, who drove the No. 10 FW22. The BMW Williams F1 Team finished the 2000 season 3rd in team points.