Saturday, March 18

Amelia Concours d'Elegance, AKA And Another Porsche

To be fair, I didn't actually attend The Amelia, also called the Amelia Concours d'Elegance. So I'm not sure which vehicles are represented at the event. Someday, I'll check it out. I just wanted to take my 86 Bertone X 1/9 for a leisurely drive around Amelia Island while the concours was happening so that I could see some of the locals doing the same. Cruising, I guess. I figured I'd see all kinds of vehicles like mine: MGs, Triumphs, TVRs, Lotuses, Alfas, Ferraris. MR2s and Fieros wanting to be X 1/9s. Miatas wanting to be 124s. At least one Viper. Grand Nationals, Chevelles, Camaros and Mustangs. Of course, plenty of Corvettes. Some Teslas and Maseratis, too. However, I mostly saw Porsches.

I like Porsches, so I wasn't as disappointed as I was surprised. After I saw my first half-dozen German sports cars, I stopped looking too closely at them, just offering my event catch phrase, "And another Porsche."

I did see my fair share of Corvettes, so some of the coolest grandpas from several retirement communities were checking out the concours. I saw one MG, one Alpha Romeo Spyder, one legit American muscle car, maybe three Ferraris, etc. It was fun to see these cars, so I'm glad I ventured out. Perhaps Saturday is the big day to bring your own ride that might need an emergency tow, whereas Sunday is the day to bring the family in a Blah-serati SUV. But of the folks that did show up with sports cars, a majority of them drove Porsches. I guess Sunday could have been some kind of Porsche owners club event. 

I estimate that I saw about double the number of Porsches as Corvettes. Probably 25 Corvettes and 50 Porsches. Granted, a Corvette is a model while Porsche is a make, with such offerings as the 911, Cayman, and Boxster. I saw mostly 911s, though I did see a vintage 928 parked along A1A. I wish I'd seen at least one other Fiat, though I did get thumbs up from at least one Porsche driver and one Corvette passenger (whose grandpa probably used to have a Fiat).
I guess I'm wondering if the Porsche phenomenon is local to northeast Florida or attendees of fancy auto shows. Plenty of Navy guys in Jax own Mustangs, Camaros, and Chargers, but those guys are more likely to attend auto shows in local strip mall parking lots than at the Ritz-Carlton. Also, the categories for show cars include the "Porsche 959," "Porsche 2.7 Carrera," "Porsche Fiberglass Racing Spyders," etc. Lots of Porsche categories probably means lots of Porsche fans.

I was on the X 1/9 forum recently and saw that there are roughly 1,000 registered and licensed Xs in the US (about 100 from 1986), and one argument was that if you don't pay premium prices for collector cars, you don't keep them up and expect premium sales prices later. I know Corvettes are seen as investments, and I bet all those Porsche owners probably feel the same way. For me, it's enough to invest in a yearly-ish oil change and hope the car keeps running. However, I did have to replace the fuel filter after I nearly stalled taking on the Dames Point Bridge (I luckily had an extra filter in my pre-bought parts box).

Anyhow, back to Porsches. They cost about $1,000 a year to maintain. Corvettes are around $700. My budget is maybe $200, which I've tried to stick to since my marriage 20 years ago. I used to take it to a real Italian dealership in Milwaukee (Reina) where it got pricey love. If 911 and Corvette owners believe it makes sense to spend 4 to 5 times my budget for keeping their cars from falling apart, that probably explains the numbers of those vehicles on the road. Maybe someday I'll own a Porsche along with my Fiat.

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