The world's rarest and most expensive cars were out in force in Florida – here are the highlights

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1955 Porsche 550 RS Spyder

This ultra-rare Porsche 550 RS Spyder was originally sold to a friend of Ferry Porsche’s in 1955 – and the outrageous wing was thereafter soon fitted by engineer Michael May. The device allowed May’s car to lap the Nürburgring four seconds quicker than the updated works 550 Spyders at the 1000km race in 1956, and despite the crude aesthetic, it could be adjusted through 17 degrees via a lever in the cockpit. How effective was it? According to May’s calculations, at just 93mph, downforce was equal to the car’s weight.

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1952 Glasspar G2

Glasspar was established in California in 1950, and was an early adopter of glassfibre. The G2 arrived in 1952, following on from a development car that mounted the attractive body atop the chassis from a Willys Jeep (yes, you read that right). An early creation in the world of kit-car, the G2 could be ordered either as a turn-key product or as a separate body or chassis. Only around 150 bodies were made, including this fabulously presented example.

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

2017 Pagani Huayra BC

The Huayra BC has now been with us for three years but so rare is the car – just 40 will be made, costing around £3.7m each before options – that any sighting is one to savour. Underneath the artful carbonfibre body, whose weave is perfectly aligned across the panels, sits a 6.0-litre AMG V12 with 791bhp and 774lb ft.  

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1993 Jaguar XJ220

Plenty of Brit heroes were out in force at Amelia, including this gorgeous midnight-blue Jaguar XJ220. Underappreciated for years – due in some part to Jaguar’s decision to substitute the car’s planned V12 for twin-turbo  3.5-litre V6 – the XJ220 is becoming increasingly sought-after, and this is related not only to the car’s rarity but also the stunningly elegant design.

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1999 Lamborghini Diablo GT

Lambos don’t come much punchier than the Diablo GT, whose gold cam-covers and three-tiered rear end (wing, bumper, diffuser) pack the kind of aesthetic fireworks that helped lay the ground for the current Aventador SVJ. Built in 1999, the GT was a trackday model linked to the GT2 Diablo racing car. It was solely rear-driven, and the enlarged V12 – up from 5.7 litres to 6.0 – was fed via a roof-mounted scoof. Only 80 were made.

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1962 Toyota Sports 800

Before the GR86, Supra or MR2 – in fact, way before those cars came on the scene, and before even the 2000GT – there was the Sports 800. Debuting at the 1962 Tokyo Motor Show, this is Toyota’s very first sports car, replete with 790cc air-cooled flat-two engine driving the rear wheels through a four-speed manual gearbox. It made just 45bhp, but so small is the 800s frontal area that almost 100mph was possible. This example at Amelia was particularly special. 

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1990 BMW E31 M8

The one and only E31 M8 prototype, which was built in total secrecy BMW’s M-division in 1990 and wasn’t even publically acknowledged by the company until two decades later. With carbonfibre body panels, carbon-shell bucket seats and, on paper, an output 630bhp, the M8 would have been not simply the most hardcore and quickest BMW road car ever made, but also a match for the incoming likes of the Bugatti EB110. Its S70/1 6.0-litre V12 is the highlight of the package, and is loosely related to that which found its way into the McLaren F1. BMW is currently in the process of recommissioning this car. Maybe we’ll see it at Goodwood.

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE

A 1971 Mercedes 280SE in arguably the most desirable colour combinations imaginable (the interior is tan leather, with a pristine white steering wheel). Under the body is a 3.5-litre V8 making around 200bhp, but it’s the styling that arrests – the W111 was conspicuously influenced by American cars of the 1950s and 1960s, which is why this car looked right at home at Amelia. 

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1989 BMW 635 CSI

BMWs were everywhere at this year’s event, in no small part because 2022 is M-division’s 50th birthday. M3, M5, Z3M, M1, 3.0 CSL – all were to be found, but this M6 from the late 1980s stood out for its remarkable condition and colour. It had a blend of subtlety and presence few other cars at the show even came close to achieving. 

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1962 Ghia L 6.4 Coupé

A champagne-coloured Ghia L 6.4 Coupe. These were powered by Chrysler’s 6.3-litre ‘wedge’ V8, and were spawned from a project of Detroit businessman Eugene Casaroll, who took in the mid-1950s had taken one of Chrysler’s concept cars and developed it into a limited-run production convertible with Ghia styling. The L 6.4 Coupé was the successor to that car, and was built almost entirely by Ghia. Frank Sinatra was a client.

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

2021 Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG004

The SCG004 of Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus is a mid-engined three-seater with endurance-racing pedigree from the Nürburgring. It’s based on the track-only SCG 004C (C for Competizione, S for Stradale) and totes 650bhp from a supercharged V8, while the bubble windscreen and relatively restrained aero are reminiscent of Jim Glickenhaus’s 2006 Ferrari P4/5 one-off by Pininfarina.

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1977 Porsche 935

US-based motorsport is well-represented at Amelia. Here an IMSA-spec Porsche 935 rubs shoulders with a 1956 Kurtis Kraft 500G Indy roadster.

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1968 Toyota 2000GT

A Toyota 2000GT parts the crowds. Japan’s answer to the Ferrari 250-series, the 2000GT laid the ground for the first Supra, and proved that the marque could build a world-class sports car that was a far cry from the from  theergonomic, economical offerings it was mostly known for. Jaguar, Porsche and Corvette were put on notice, but Japan wouldn’t create another truly profound supercar until Honda’s NSX arrived decades later.

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1970 Alpina 6.0 CSR

Restomods weren’t especially thin on the ground at Amelia and one of the standouts (and, by dint of that fact, one of the most controversial cars at the show) was this Alpina ‘6.0 CSR’. Inspired by the idea of a BMW-Alpina E9 CSL with a Group 6 V8 engine, it’s based on a 2800 and was built on-spec for a film studio. According to Florida-based Pathfinder Motorsports, who made the car, the script featured a retired MI6 officer who drove a converted former BMW racecar. Not so subtle, but in his next outing, Bond could do far worse than the current B3 Touring (without Deko-set, of course).

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

The official displays on the lawns aren’t the only place to find exceptional cars. There’s also an underground car park near the hotel, which is where this Porsche 959 was snuggled up to a 993 GT2 (note the rivetted-on wheelarch extensions). Aside from being exceptionally rare and, these days, nauseatingly valuable, the two represent two sides of Porsche at its best: technological innovation and world-beating capability in the 959, and unfettered aggression and competitive drive in the GT2 homologation special. What a special find. 

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

BMW M at 50

On the Saturday, BMW M cars new and old were everywhere as part of the 50 years of M celebrations. 

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1968 Olsonite Eagle

The perfectly squared-off nose, the offset NACA duct, the crisp wrap-around aero-screen, and the long, Yorkie-proportioned body: Dan Gurney’s #48 Olsonite entry for the 1969 Indy 500 is an esoteric machine for the average British petrolhead but it is simply stunning to behold and surely one of the most aesthetically unusual racing cars of the era. With a Ford V8 behind him, Gurney finished second. The car was later sold to Carroll Shelby. 

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1970 Puma GTE

How many Brazilian sports car manufacturers can you name? Here’s one: Puma Automoveis. It made cars between 1964 and 1968, including the GTE of 1970 – a vaguely Dino-faced two-seater with a glassfibre body and a VW boxer engine. 

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1965 Iso Grifo

First made in 1965, the Iso Grifo represented an irresistible cross-pollination of American and Italian automotive preferences. Built as an alternative to GT offerings from Maserati and Ferrari, it was styling by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Bertone and the mechanicals entrusted to none other than Giotto Bizzarini, but the engine was Chevrolet-supplied, in the form of a small-block V8. Very much an iron fist in a velvet glove, the Grifo later evolved in Series II form, using first a 7.4-litre Chevy big-block V8 before Ford Boss 351 V8 was enlisted.

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1971 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R

Japanese cars were well-represented at Amelia, not least by this is breathtaking 1971 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R, aka Hakosuka. The early GT-R was originally launched in 1969 as a four-door saloon with a race-derived S20 straight-six engine. The two-door arrived the following year and did outstandingly well on the racetrack, which helped cement the incipient Skyline legend. 

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1989 Ferrari F40

An F40, but not just any F40: Nigel Mansell’s old F40, complete with copies of the Autocar issue in which we rode along with Nige to find out exactly what the car could do in God-like hands. The F40 still ranks as among the greatest and most exciting supercars ever made, and this one appeared to be in superb condition.

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500

The impeccable surface-tension of the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500’s bodywork – particularly around the cabin, where the glasshouse is seamlessly integrated – is impossible to appreciate without seeing the car in the metal. The chassis was powered by six cylinders and designed to go racing, while the elegant bodies were crafted by the likes of Zagato and Pininfarina. This one was the work of Touring Superleggera.

autos, cars, reviews, the best cars from the amelia island concours d'elegance 2022

1980 BMW M1

Mid-engined M1 is typcially seen in red-orange but this year’s Amelia Island concours was joined by this example, in a subtle dark blue. Designed by Guigiaro and assembled in Turin and then Munich, with a tubular chassis devised by Dallara, the M1 is the most special BMW of all time – something the collecting world has only woken up to relatively recently. 

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