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Amelia or Bust! Road rally route takes us from Northeast to northeast Florida

Vintage rallies are fun, and they don’t have to be expensive

(Editor’s note: During the month of April, the Journal presents a series of stories about vintage rallies and vintage racing. That series begins today with Andy Reid’s article about his participation in the Amelia or Bust road rally. If you have a story about your participation in a vintage rally or race that you’d like to share, please email us at [email protected].)

There are a multitude of driving events for those with collector and classic cars these days — The California Mille, Copperstate 1000, and the Going to the Sun rally to name just a few. But while these are amazing events, they also are expensive, with entry fees starting around $5,000 per car and going up from there to more than twice that figure.

I have been on such rallies and they are, indeed, a lot of fun. But for me, the most fun for the money spent rallies and tours I’ve driven are the lower-cost events. These tend to be much more liberal about the cars you can bring and like some of those cars, they cost a fraction of some of the more expensive events that tend to also attract more expensive vehicles.

The most recent lower-cost rally for me was the pre-pandemic Hagerty Drivers Club Amelia or Bust rally to the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. This was a 4-day trek from the Northeast US to the northeast coast of Florida, arriving just in time for the start of festivities there. 

Amelia or Bust
There was snow on the ground as the cars gathered for an early-morning departure
Amelia or Bust

We didn’t stay in 5-star hotels or partake in gourmet dinners. But what we did was travel on some wonderful roads, stop at some great locations along the way, and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow car enthusiasts.

I did the drive in my 1996 007-edition BMW Z3 roadster. I was joined by a number of Porsches, both air- and water-cooled varieties, a pair of Ferraris, a few other BMWs, muscle cars of various generations, Corvettes, and a gaggle of various British roadsters of numerous varieties. Any interesting car from any era was welcome.

Along the way, with rally master Brad Phillips in the lead, we saw some amazing scenery, drove some fantastic roads, enjoyed some fun dinners filled with great conversation, and ended up making a number of new friends while at the same time getting to spend time with old friends.

Amelia or Bust
Amelia or Bust

Along the way there were a few mechanical mishaps for some of the entrants, but others from the group stopped to assist and all the cars made it to Amelia.

The Amelia or Bust rally offers many of the things that the high-dollar rallies offer. Most important when organizing such events is to gather like-minded enthusiasts eager for an automobile driving adventure. The cost for all of this fun on your drive to Amelia? Less than $1,000, including what I spent on hotels and meals.

The 2021 Amelia or Bust rally is fully subscribed — and now includes meals, hotels and tours for car, driver and passenger for a fee of $2,250. But be sure to consider it for 2022. It’s still one of the best deals in the vintage rally space.

Vintage Rallies & Racing Series

Stories exploring numerous vintage rallies and racing events including first-person experiences.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


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Vintage Rallies & Racing Series

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