2012 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. Photo by Bill Bortzfield/First Coast News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- 2012 has been a fantastic year for car lovers along the First Coast. The number of shows and cruise-ins has been top notch.
On any given weekend you can find a show or cruise-in to go to. Based on what I attended in 2012, here are just a few my personal favorites to mark on that new 2013 calendar.
February 8-10: Jacksonville International Car & Truck Show, Prime Osborn Convention Center, 1000 Water St., Jacksonville.
It's Jacksonville's biggest new vehicle show of the year and the best place to check out what might end up being your next ride without the any of the pressure that sometimes goes along with new car shopping. Regardless of whether you're in the market or just like cars, it's always a fun event. Where else can you get behind the wheel of hundreds of new vehicles from just abound every brand in one location and drive some of them? And don't forget about the concepts. Although the concept car lineup hasn't been announced yet, you can always count on a good glimpse into the automotive future.
March 8-10: The Amelia Island Councours d'Elegance, The Ritz-Carlton, 4750 Amelia Island Parkway, Amelia Island.
Without question, this is our area's most prestigious automotive event of the year. In fact, it's one of the premiere international automotive events. The 2011 show was nominated For Motoring Event of the Year by the International Historic Motoring Awards.
Held on the beautiful golf course and grounds of the Ritz-Carlton on the ocean, the 2013 highlights will include the 50th Anniversary of Corvette Sting Ray Seminar. Historically General Motors has brought along some of its concepts and upcoming models to the Concours. Let's keep our fingers crossed that Chevrolet brings the 2014 Corvette this year. Porsche will present a 911 seminar on the marquee's flagship at 50. The panel is scheduled to include Peter Schutz, President of Porsche Cars, AG, retired.
April 13: Fruit Cove Baptist Church Car Show, 501 State Road 13, St. Johns. More information will be posted closer to the event at:
If firstcoastnews.com page views are any indication, people absolutely love this show. It was one of the highest ranking First Coast Gears slideshows of 2012. Perfect weather traditionally blesses the show which had more than 400 classics on display last April. Look for another huge representation of area classics in 2013.
June 15: Annual Vettes at the Village, World Golf Village, St. Augustine
You'll find more than a hundred Corvettes, likely with every generation represented, at this annual show as you stroll the lake that takes you past the World Golf Hall of Fame, Murray Bros. Caddy Shack and other World Golf Village landmarks.
Most weekendS: First Coast Car Council cruise-ins.
The First Coast Car Council serves as an umbrella group for many local car clubs and holds a weekly Saturday night cruise-in that rotates to a different location on most weekends. They've been around since 1986 and also sponsor many area shows.
Multiple cruise-ins per month: Sunshine State Chevelles.
Sunshine State Chevelles is one of the most active car clubs in our area. They had multiple cruise-ins each month in 2012 and yes, the classics represented go way beyond Chevy Chevelles. They also sponsor many area shows. One of the club's most successful cruise-ins is held on the first Saturday of each month at 8015 Merrill Rd. in Jacksonville from 4 to 7 p.m. You'll find a strong representation of American classics from the '50s, '60s and '70s along with current day Camaros, Mustangs, Challengers and more.
Second Saturday of every month: Automotive Addicts Cars and Coffee. Whiskey River, The Markets at Town Center, 4850 Big Island Drive, Jacksonville.
Automotive Addicts Cars and Coffee and is getting a new home in 2013. The cruise-in is moving to Whiskey River, which is likely to result in even bigger crowds. If you're into exotic cars such as Ferraris, Lotuses and Maseratis, this cruise-in is for you. You'll also find plenty of Japanese hot hatches, German cars and yes, some nice American muscle as well. All makes and models are welcome. The cruise-in averages about 70 cars, although they've seen as many as 200.
This is just a small sample of what's coming up in 2013. To the many local clubs that weren't mentioned, rest assured we'll be covering you as well. Be sure to check Shifting Gears in the Drive section each Saturday in the Times-Union and the car calendar at firstcoastgears.com throughout 2013. Another excellent source of event information is at http://www.carshowjax.com.
You can also sign up for a weekly newsletter and automotive text alerts in the left rail of this story.
Here's hoping every shift of the gears will be a smooth one for car area enthusiasts in 2013.
Happy new year from all of us at The Florida Times-Union and First Coast News!
Car clubs can email information about their events to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
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