While the range of cars on the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance show field is wide, only two cars are awarded the Best in Show Concours d’Elegance and Best in Show Concours de Sport, reflecting the classic concours-style cars and the motorsport legends that are a key part of Amelia. On Sunday, a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn-Kurier and 1957 Ferrari 335 S captured those honors.
The Amelia Island concours fairway is filled with the best examples of cars from several decades of fine motoring. From wooden-wheel turn-of-the-century cars to wild turbocharged prototype racing cars, there is something for every taste, but only two can be the best of the best.
The 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn-Kurier, owned by the California-based Keller Collection, captured the Best in Show Concours d’Elegance. Its unique fastback design stands out, even in its own featured 540K class. The only survivor with this coachwork, the Autobahn-Kurier was built in the Sindelfingen factory utilizing a supercharged 549K chassis.
Shown at the 1938 Paris Motor Show, the car was commissioned by Spanish optometrist Ignacio Barraquer. The car was kept by the Barraquer family until selling it to the Keller Collection in 2004. The 5.4-liter straight-eight was augmented with a supercharger and produces 180 horsepower. A four-speed manual transmission and independent suspension on all four corners cemented the 540K’s legacy, not just for speed but overall driving excellence.
A 1957 Ferrari 355 S owned by Cavallino Investments was recognized as Best in Show Concours de Sport. Highly advanced for its time, the race car employs a 60-degree V-12 with 24 spark plugs and two valves per cylinder. Output is 360 hp. Built by the Scuderia Factory team, the 335 S started life as a 290 MM, which was upgraded to a 315 S before finally transforming to 335 S specification.
The history of this 335 S includes a long list of great drivers, including Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill, Olivier Gendebien, Alfonso De Portago, Wolfgang von Trips, Peter Collins, Maurice Trintignant, Mike Hawthorn, Luigi Musso, Stirling Moss, and Gaston Andrey. The Ferrari participated in three racing seasons, taking the track at storied venues such as Sebring and LeMans, as well as the Mille Miglia.
The two cars were already stars, now they also own top awards at Amelia Island—a well-deserved honor for both fantastic automobiles.