Vincent motorcycles line the grass at Amelia Island, March 11, 2012.
When most people think of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, what generally comes to mind is cars. Really good cars. Acres of really good cars. But what most people don’t know is that motorcycles have been there with them on the green every year since the beginning, as they were March 11, 2012.
Now in its 17th year and widely considered one of the three best automobile shows in America along with shows like Pebble Beach and St. John’s (formerly Meadow Brook), Amelia is unusual because it’s an important show that doesn’t play by the traditional rules. Here, wild factory prototypes share the green with classic Bugatti’s and Lemans racers. You really never know what you might see, just that whatever it is, it’s going to be memorable, and the bikes are a good fit in that equation.
Each year the featured bikes are different, and over the years the motorcycle class has run the gamut from Daytona Beach racers, bikes of John Surtees, Art Deco classics, even sidecars. This year it was the classic British marque Vincent, and the most famous of all the Vincents were on display. Among them, the Rollie Free “bathing suit bike”, arguably the most famous motorcycle in the world, now even more so because it recently sold for a rumored $1 million, making it the first motorcycle to break the seven-figure price barrier. Across the grass isle was the other major Vincent icon - Gunga Din, the factory test mule and development bike for the Black Shadow, Black Lightning and all the Vincent factory’s performance modifications. Broken into pieces and considered lost for years, the story of its rescue and restoration is legend and was documented in the May/June 2010 issue of Motorcycle Classics.
New owner Chip Conner with the legendary Rollie Free Vincent.
Located just over an hour north of Daytona and held during Daytona Bike Week, the Amelia Island Concours is a great way to add a few more motorcycle memories before ending your vacation. The 2013 event is scheduled for March 8-10, 2013.