Hobbs And Indy Roadsters Headline 14th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

The 14th Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is one of the best car shows that one can attend. Once again Bill Warner-the driving force behind this great event has taken it to a new level. Just being there to see international driving star David Hobbs drive the same Penske Ferrari 512 he campaigned with Mark Donohue in originally in 1971 was worth it alone. Hobbs’ drive down the fare way was something to see and with the beautiful weather on Sunday after so-so conditions on Friday and Saturday made it even more special. Warner, Concours founder and co-chairman has to be the hardest working host as he is non-stop all week making sure everything is perfect. Hobbs was honoree for this weekend and even David was speechless for once when he got to see all the cars he drove which brought back many memories. Seeing all the cars there was quite special for the popular English driver, “Some of the cars look better now than when I drove them.” Hobbs remarked. It was a special honor for Hobbs whose career spanned more than thirty years. The versatile driver from the Midlands of England drove sports, touring, Indy, IMSA, F-1, NASCAR, and Group C endurance racers all with equal skill. Hobbs won the ’71 U.S. F-5000 championship and 12 years later added the 1983 Trans-Am championship to his trophy case. A 20-time competitor at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, “Hobbo” drove for a wide variety of manufacturers and teams, including BMW, McLaren, BRM, and Honda.

The legendary Indy Roadsters where also honored during the weekend. With the Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting to celebrate its centennial this year, this was a special week for Indy 500 winners, Jim Rathman, Parnelli Jones, Bobby Unser and Johnny Rutherford who were all at Amelia which was another reason to make this year’s event something to remember. JR and Bobby Unser who were both rookies in 1963 got to drive roadsters at Indianapolis for several years. Both agreed those cars where a hand full. Bobby only did three laps in his first two years at the Speedway, crashing out in both. Both Unser and JR in were caught up in the Sachs-MacDonald fire in ’64. Both were happy to drive them, but also to survive that tumultuous period.

I had the opportunity to chat with Unser, as we talked about how the sport has changed and how money has changed the sport Unser told me when he raced stock cars it was something extra to do and he did not do it for the money. Unser said periodically he would give the prize money to the mechanics and that would they would give him a better prepared cars. Back in the day, Unser, as did many in those days, would drive anything anywhere just to get seat time. The sport certainly has changed. Unser was really looking forward to the Indy 500 this year when they will have all the previous living winners together.

On the Thursday before the Concours d’Elegance, at Daytona International Speedway many of those same roadsters toured the 2

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