Amelia Island Concours d’LeMons “gets bigger and dumber every year”

A 1973 Triumph Stag needs a push to reach the show field. Jeff Peek

Considering the two events couldn’t be more different, it seems appropriate that this year’s Amelia Island Concours d’LeMons found a new location even farther away from the high-brow Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance than in previous years. One day before some of the world’s most prestigious automobiles were to assemble on the lawn at the Ritz-Carlton’s Amelia Island Golf Club, LeMons’ jovial band of misfits crashed the party like a wiseass making fun of the boss in a business meeting.

“LeMons is all about having fun,” insists founder Alan Galbraith. “If you have a crappy car and a sense of humor, you’ll fit right in.”

There were plenty of both at Fernandina Beach’s Main Beach Park on Saturday (May 22). The third annual Amelia Island Concours d’LeMons, which celebrated “the oddball, mundane, and truly awful of the automotive world,” attracted 50 generally terrible cars and trucks, along with a handful of motorcycles.

021 Amelia Island Lemons - Junky VW Herbie
1965 Volkswagen Jeff Peek

Participants came from as far away as Maryland, and vehicles included marques from the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, and Russia. In a nutshell, Galbraith says, “They’re either bad examples of good cars, or good examples of bad cars.”

In addition to LeMons’ usual array of rustbuckets, there were some nice examples of vehicles that just don’t get much love, or perhaps they never did. A meticulously maintained 1978 Mercury Grand Marquis with 50,000 miles was honored for having the “Best Back Seat,” while a clean 1960 Panhard PL17 Tigre received the “French Legion of Horror” award.

2021 Amelia Island Lemons - 1978 Mercury Grand Marquis
1978 Mercury Grand Marquis Jeff Peek

In more typical LeMons fashion, a 1973 Triumph Stag passed beneath the Concours d’LeMons welcome banner and promptly crapped out. After oil poured from its Buick engine, a hearty group of showgoers pushed the Stag into a parking spot. Galbraith took the opportunity to remind attendees: “Remember, if you bring a car, you have to leave with one. You can’t just leave it here.”

Naturally, the Stag won an award.

Another Triumph—a nice-condition, lemon-yellow TR3—received the “Sight for Sour Eyes” award. Its owner happily played along, saying, “It’s such a humiliation to be here.”

Time Machine - Rear view
Jeff Peek

The big winner (loser?) of Worst in Show was a 1982 DeLorean DMC-12 that owners Oliver and Terry Holler turned into an amazingly accurate replica of the Back to the Future time machine. The DeLorean has helped the Hollers raise more than $800,000  for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, and their car was likely the most photographed vehicle at the show.

Galbraith, who first tried his Concours d’LeMons idea at Pebble Beach in 2009 and has since “ruined concours all over the country,” was thrilled with the growing number of attendees at the Amelia Island event.

“This show gets bigger and dumber every year—just like me.”

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