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5 of the Most Interesting Cars at the Amelia Island Cars and Coffee

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author photo by Tyler Hoover March 2017

One word sums up the festivities at Amelia Island this year: chaos -- but in the best way possible. With bad weather threatening the Concours d'Elegance on Sunday, officials chose to move the event to Saturday. Considering that the cars featured at the Concours included the Aston Martin DB5 driven by James Bond in "Goldfinger" -- along with a gaggle of 1957 Jaguar XKSSs worth over $10 million each -- you can understand why the change was made. This meant all the festivities, including the very popular Cars and Coffee, took place at the SAME TIME. It was nuts, but certainly made for an action-packed day.

The entire event spanned about five holes of golf around the Ritz Carlton hotel. While tickets for the Concours are over $100, the Cars and Coffee is free to the public. The cars are allowed to attend the Cars and Coffee by invitation only, selected by various clubs across the country. While some might have disappointed by the lack of modern mustangs in attendance to threaten the crowd, the incredible variety and rarity of cars at the show was totally overwhelming. I could easily make this a list of 100 interesting cars, but I will limit it to five that stopped me cold.

Mercedes-Benz E420 Pickup Truck

 1. Mercedes-Benz E420 Pickup Truck

A Mercedes mad scientist completed this conversion just in time for the Cars and Coffee. It was originally a sedan that had been stripped and modified for racing, but the owner went nuts creating this cross between a stately golden-era Mercedes and something from the NASCAR Craftsman truck series. Especially hilarious is that this Frankenstein was drawing more attention than the incredibly rare supercar parked in front of it, which leads me to...

Jaguar XJ220

 2. Jaguar XJ220

Parked on the grass without a velvet rope to stop kids from pressing their faces against the windows, or grown men from caressing and salivating over it -- keep in mind I was there -- was a Jaguar XJ220, one of just 280 examples produced. This was recognized as the fastest production car in the world, with a top speed of 213 mph -- until the McLaren F1 came along a few years later. This Jag was stunning to gaze upon from every angle.

Jeep Grand Wagoneer

3. Jeep Grand Wagoneer

This Grand Wagoneer looks like it was made in the last few years of production -- but it sported a "Rhino nose" grill from the earliest 1960s models. Since so few changes were made during the Wagoneer's ultra-long 1963-to-1991 production cycle, a vintage nose simply bolts into the body. This was the first time I had seen this nose job in person, and it looks fantastic. Another nice touch was the ghost-flame treatment to the wood paneling -- and judging from all the stickers in the rear windows, the Jeep appears to be very well traveled.

Morgan Aero 8

 4. Morgan Aero 8

This was my first time getting into a staring contest with this cross-eyed roadster. Afterwards, it took me a minute before I could see straight again. Headlights aside, it has a very elegant 1920s-looking body mated to a modern BMW V8 engine and manual transmission. This car actually looks much less awkward in person.

Lamborghini LM002

5. Lamborghini LM002

Unlike the Morgan, this Countach-engined Lamborghini 4x4 looks incredibly awkward in the flesh. Doug recently had the chance drive one of these, and used it to terrify oncoming traffic by crossing a narrow bridge. This Lambor-thingy is indeed very imposing, but hilarious-looking at the same time. It's a shame they're out of Doug's price range, as I can't think of a more perfect DougCar.

Apollo 911, my duck-tailed 1999 Porsche 911 with 248,000 miles, would have been parked with the hundreds of others at the Cars and Coffee as well -- if I hadn't forgotten my invitation at home 1500 miles away. Oh well ... maybe next year.

Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.

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