Hispano-Suiza and Shadow DN4 win Best in Show honors at Amelia Island 2021

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Jim and Corrine Bartel's 1974 Shadow DN4 race car (left) won Best in Show Concours d'Sport, and Charles and Jill Mitchell's 1926 Hispano Suiza H6B won Best in Show Concours d'Elegance at the 2021 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. Kayla Keenan

For Charles and Jill Mitchell, the first time is the charm. For Jim and Corrine Bartel, better late than never. The Mitchells’ 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Convertible won Best in Show at the 2021 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, while the Bartels’ 1974 Shadow DN4 took Best in Show Concours d’Sport.

The Amelia Island Concours was the last major car show held in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out virtually every in-person event for more than a year. Fourteen months later, the 26th annual event was the first in-person concours held in 2021.

“Last year we had to move up a week because of another event,” founder and chairman Bill Warner told the crowd gathered for the awards ceremony, then joked, “It proves that God loves car guys more than golfers.”

The Mitchells’ Hispano-Suiza was purchased new by the King of Tunisia in 1926. It was rebodied by Chapron in 1932.

“What’s not to like about it? It’s pure elegance,” said Charlie Mitchell while drinking a celebratory glass of champagne. “This is the first show I’ve taken it to. I’ve been to cruises in it, but not to a show. This is amazing.”

2021 Amelia Island Best in Show - closeup
Jeff Peek

At an event that drew car enthusiasts and entrants from all over the country, the winners were both from Florida. The Mitchells live in Stewart, the Bartels in Key West.

The Bartels have shown several CanAm race cars at previous Amelia Island Concours, so Jim was shocked to win with the Shadow. “I’m just overjoyed,” he said. “I just never expected a contemporary race car to win at Amelia.”

Bartel said “there’s nothing pretty” about the ominous black racer. “It’s a sinister, mean, serious race car,” he said. “Lolas are pretty. These are just nasty mean.”

Winning Hagerty-sponsored awards were a 1912 Hispano-Suiza, selected as the most well-preserved car; an 1895 Electrobat, chosen the most historically significant automobile; and a 1967 Ferrari GTB/4 N.A.R.T. Spyder, named the most significant post-war race car. The Ferrari was driven by Denise McCluggage—the award’s namesake—to a second-place finish at the 1967 12 Hours of Sebring.

The 27th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, at the Ritz-Carlton’s Amelia Island Golf Club, is scheduled for March 4–6, 2022.

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