What Happens When Radwood Meets the Concours D'Lemons?

Saturday at the Amelia Island Concours will never be the same, because two of the nation’s most loved events took place simultaneously.
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The first weekend in March has now been rebranded as “The Amelia.” Now under the stewardship of Hagerty Collector Car Insurance, what was once a Sunday gathering has evolved into a week of incredible events. While the main event on Sunday has remained largely unchanged, Saturday has combined three events into one. The Golf Club at Summer Beach hosts Radwood along with a Concours d’Lemons, while the Ritz-Carlton opens their main show field for “Cars & Community,” their version of a Cars & Coffee show.

In order to give you a feel for the day, let’s look at the target audience for each group. A Lemons show is a play on words invoking images of Le Mans, but we were a long way from the Mulsanne Straight. Aimed at oddball cars, autoevolution was invited to see truly awful automobiles that have been burned into our collective consiousness.

Notable among them were rat rod examples of old trucks along with surviving full-size American cruisers. A '91 Lincoln Towncar looks better without a roof while a '94 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon won the long-haul award for crossing the lower 48 to make the show. The top award is known as “Worst in Show,” and it went to an abused Nautique ski boat that was given a Ford F150 chassis, it was truly disturbing and lovely.

Radwood, Lemons, Cars & Caffeine
While it made for a fun opening, Radwood held real treasures. Open to everything from 1980 to '99, these are the cars you had hanging on your wall as a kid. Skylines and Supras celebrated JDM heritage, while Diablos, Corvettes, and DTM replicas wore period-correct wheels. One of the best groups were cars with pop-up headlights. They, along with any car with digital gauges made us long for simpler times.

Over the past 25 years I have junked a dozen 3rd generation Camaros & Firebirds. Therefore, it’s a hard pill to swallow watching them become popular again. Radwood is your first spot to find affordable performance, as all ages of Toyota MR2 can be found amongst turbo and supercharged Buick 3800s.

Across the street, Cars & Caffeine was a way for locals to display their prized rides. I attempted to register my CTS-V, but all 200 spots were gone by early February. Because Sunday’s main event has grown to rival Pebble Beach, C&C entries were world-class. Superformance had new examples of their Grand Sport Corvette and the GT40 replicas, while the BMW factory in South Carolina brought their entire heritage fleet. Cadillac, Jaguar, Ferrari, and McLaren offered test drives of their 2023 lineup, while Chevrolet extolled the virtues of the new Z06 Convertible (with Z07 package).

Radwood, Lemons, Cars & Caffeine
It was nice to see daily-driver examples of British Luxury, with Defenders conquering the high ground. Like any Florida show, we saw Camaros, Vipers, and fast Fords shining to perfection. The only way they could be eclipsed is by watching RM Sotheby’s auction from inside the hotel.

The conference center hosted seminars chaired by legendary racers. Ray Evernham, Chip Ganassi, and Hurley Haywood were just a few of the notables. Saturday was also the culmination of auctions by Gooding & Co and Bonham’s, whose traffic gridlocks this small island for hours at a time.

Because the island is not getting any bigger, more events have been moved forward to Friday. If you plan on attending next year, be sure to bring sunscreen, water, and a battery backup for your devices. We are still unpacking the overload of content, so stay here for all your event coverage!


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