“I would have to say that Amelia Island is my favorite,” says Jeff Lane, director of the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, who regularly fields calls from concours organizers interested in the museum’s collection of micro-sized cars. “Warner does the best job of having a complete cadre of cars. He’s really interested in weird cars.”
The concours season that opens at Amelia Island in March ends in November at Hilton Head Island with a show at the Port Royal Golf Club. The Hilton Head Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance is a week-long event that begins with a vintage car race on a track that circumvents a golf course on Hutchinson Island, less than an hour away from the Hilton Head location where the automotive beauty contest takes place, naturally, on fairways.
“We’ve taken, really, a very different approach to how we’ve orchestrated our event,” says Carolyn Vanagel, president of the festival. “We are the only ones that are running vintage racing as well as exhibits and a concours.”
In addition to cars, the Hilton Head event includes a vintage boat show. This year’s incarnation will feature a “Life On The Beach” exhibit with woodie station wagons, dune buggies, and surfboards as well as a Great Gatsby exhibition with vehicles from the Roaring Twenties and folks dressed in white suits and spectator shoes. Sunday’s competition will be limited to about 150 vehicles, and organizers turn away about 30 percent of would-be contestants who nominate their vehicles.
“We don’t want our event to be too big,” Vanagel says. “We bring a lot of people in who are not gearheads. It’s as much a lifestyle event as a car event. That really has not been by accident.”