Classic guitars added for special class at Amelia Island Concours

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Amelia Island concours
Rocker John Oates with his Porsche 911 in 1977 | Amelia Island Concours photos

Editor’s note: The ClassicCars.com Journal is your source for Amelia Island news – from collector car auctions and shows to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Read more of our coverage on our dedicated page.


Cars, guitars and a rock ‘n roll star will constitute a special class for the 2019 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, celebrating the relationship between automobiles and popular music.

The rock star is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, John Oates of the singing duo Hall and Oates. He will help curate the class that centers on his own collection of classic cars and special guitars.   Oates already has taken part in the Amelia Concours, participating as a judge for the event this past March.

“John Oates is a masterful songwriter and musician,” Chris Brewer, guitar collector and the Amelia’s director of communications, said in a concours news release.  “John is also a car guy with a long connection to the automobile and racing. It was our honor to have him participate at The Amelia in 2018 as a judge. We are thrilled to celebrate John in 2019.”

Amelia Island Concours
Oates is an avid car guy and guitar collector

The special class also will feature the cars of other music celebrities.

“The Amelia will gather a small number of historically significant vehicles previously or currently owned by musicians,” the release says. “John will work with The Amelia to pair each vehicle with a carefully selected guitar for the field.”

During the 1950s and ’60s, American cars and electric guitars borrowed styling cues from each other, such as the vibrant candy colors of Fender guitar classics and the flamboyant curves of the automobiles.  Gibson guitars even hired automotive coachbuilder Ray Dietrich to create the iconic “reverse” Firebird guitar in 1963.  The Amelia class will explore some of that connection.

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Amelia Island Concours
Vintage Gibson Firebird electric guitar

Oates, along with John Hall, comprised one of the most successful rock duos of all time, with Hall and Oates scoring strings of hits during the 1970s and ’80s.  Their top singles included She’s Gone, Rich Girl, Maneater, You Make My Dreams and I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do).

“Throughout my life there I have always had two major passions: driving cars and playing guitars,” Oates said in the release. “Both the machine and the instrument are paragons of inspired and purposeful design. Both tell their unique story historically and culturally. Both have their roots in the late 19th century, evolving and continuing to fascinate and excite through the 20th and now into the 21st centuries.

“I’m very proud to have the opportunity to collaborate and curate this unique collection with Chris Brewer and the Amelia Island folks.”

The 2019 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance takes place March 8-10 at The Golf Club of Amelia Island at the Ritz-Carlton Resort in northeastern Florida. For more information, visit the concours website.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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