JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When Amelia Island Concours Chairman Bill Warner was stumped by the Derby L8 at the recent Lake Mirror Classic in Lakeland, Fla., the vehicle had to be special. So special that he selected it for the Amelia Award, which gave it an automatic invite to the 16th Amelia set for March 11-13, 2011, at The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach.
Derby was a French-born sports and race car manufacturer particularly successful in the European under-two-liter engine classes during the 1920s and '30s. This rare car, a 1933 front wheel drive V8, comes to Amelia courtesy of the Tampa Bay Auto Museum in Tampa, Fla., and is reported to be one of the last surviving examples of the marque.
"The first time I saw it, I was impressed by its advanced technical aspects," says Warner. "It looked more British than French in its design and it was rare for a manufacturer to use an engine under two liters -- especially a V8 -- to power its racers." Derby used a variety of power plants including Ruby, Scap, Chapius Dornier, and Maserati.
According to the Tampa Bay Auto Museum, only 10 Derby L8s were built. This example, VIN 803, is a roadster body called a "Montlhery." It competed in the 1934 Monte Carlo Rally and was piloted by Gwenda Stewart, a very accomplished female racer of the era. Lost during WWII, this Derby was saved by the museum at La Rochetaille and remains in near original condition.
Tickets for the 16th Annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance are $45 for adults purchased in advance and $50 the day of the show. Students ages 12-18 are $20, and children under 12 are admitted at no charge when accompanied by a paying adult. A VIP ticket will again be offered for 2011 and it includes admission to the Concours, VIP parking, food & beverages, cash bar, preferred viewing tent for the awards, commemorative gifts, and a poster signing with the show honoree. Event tickets can be ordered in advance at www.ameliaconcours.org or can be purchased at the door.
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