The ignominious stars of the 2020 Amelia Island Concours d’Lemons

In a world filled with carefully curated automotive events—and increasing ticket prices—an ever-shrinking number of events welcome enthusiasts of every variety, rust bubbles and all.  

Stemming from the low-buck racing series the 24 Hours of Lemons and first held in 2009, each Concours d’Lemons delights in being the exact opposite of a perfectly polished concours.

The promotional materials call for “the best examples of the worst cars,” and every Concours d’Lemons is free, both for participants and attendees. The laid-back nature of these events, which are typically held the same weekend as a major concours (like Monterey or Amelia Island) allows folks to laugh at themselves a bit and just have fun. Which is exactly what the car world needs sometimes.

While in Florida for the 2020 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, we ventured away from the gleaming chrome and impeccable paint to the front lawn of a local realty company.

The half-dead grass was fitting for the occasion, because it soaked up the oil leaking from half of the cars crammed in front of the building. Event organizer Alan Galbraith makes a point of turning away no car or owner wanting to take part—which is why you are sure to see some interesting pieces of automobile culture at Lemons. Take a digital tour with us below.

This year a local Shriners group brought out its Model A Ford, which had been turned into a parade vehicle. A saddle hung out in the air off the rear of the truck, which allowed even a middle-weight person to bounce the truck into a two-foot wheelie. A castor on the rear bumper kept the whole teeter-totter in check

Concours d'Lemons Amelia Island
Kyle Smith

On the other end of the absurdly-modified spectrum was what appeared to be a perfectly preserved Yugo, owned by a person with a real sense of humor. A magnet on the door identified the tiny red convertible as “the ultimate chick magnet.” How this product of Yugoslavia survived over two decades without completely deteriorating is beyond me. 

Along with those extreme examples of oddity was a smattering of VWs, Triumphs, and even a surprisingly nice Chevy II that I wanted to drive all the way back to Michigan

Concours d'Lemons Amelia Island
Kyle Smith

It was more than the cars, though. Everyone there was having a relaxed time chatting it up about cars, events, projects, and everything else. The Amelia Island Concours d’Lemons was a small gathering of like-minded folks who all just wanted to have a good time. It didn’t seem as though anyone was there purely to be seen or to check in on Facebook so all their friends would know. A perfect car gathering, in my mind.

If you want in on the next one, be sure to keep an eye on the Concours d’Lemons website for an event popping up in your area.

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