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November 6th, 2011 was the date of the annual Winter Park Concours d'Elegance. This was my fourth time attending the event that was established in 2002 and every year I see something new and exciting. This year I was especially impressed with the Ferrari section which included several beautiful vintage models. About the only thing missing was a 458 Italia and a 250 GTO which continues to escape me. The show has become quite popular and is now regarded as one of the finest, judged exotic car show in the United States. As with any car shows the venue location plays a big part in the ambience and Winter Park scores a ten with six blocks of brick covered fifth Ave lined with quaint stores, homes and restaurants nestled under the shade trees. Many cars were parked in the park and I made sure I was there early enough as they drove in across the railroad tracks.

This year had a great variety of cars to look at which goes a long way in keeping everyone happy. Just the day before I had caught my first look at the new Lamborghini Aventador at the Le Belle Macchine d'Italia at Daytona and i was still excited to photograph this white one. It was also my first time seeing a 1948 Tucker Sedan. One of only 51 ever made. Just a few years later this 1951 XK 120 Fixed Head Coupe Jaguar was built and was just as amazing to look at and admired its design and workmanship. The one car i wanted to see the most was this beautiful red 1959 Ferrari California Spyder that could be yours for a cool $3.5 million. What a thrill it must have been to drive it back in the day and i was thrilled to see it on the road today. The men behind that Ferrari were pure genius but I wonder if they ever imagined the day we would have a car like the Fisker Karma that appeared at the show. This plug-in hybrid luxury sports sedan was stunning to see in person and it was comforting to know that going green will not mean sacrificing style. Having seen pictures of the prototypes, I can't wait to see what Porsche and BMW have for us in the next few years. Then going green will mean low lean and mean with speed and style.

My favorite part about shows like this is walking around and talking to the car owners who are more than friendly and happy to answer any questions one might have. When this Ferrari 166mm drove up I just had to get a better look and the two gentleman kindly answered my questions with enthusiasm matched only by the awe I felt with each answer. I walked from one end to the other and had several similar experiences. These owners hold a wealth of knowledge and experience and its refreshing to be around so many that are willing to share. My favorite moment came very early in the day when I was photographing the cars as they came in. An elderly gentleman saw me capturing some video with my GoPro Hero HD camera and wanted to know what it was. I asked him if he was showing a car and he said he had a Ferrari Dino 246 GTS that he was waiting to be delivered. I asked him where he was from and he said Gainesville, Fl which is about two and half hours away. I told him it was a good idea to have his Dino brought in because that would've been a pretty long drive. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said " I once drove that car from New York City to Los Angeles in 35 hours and 53 minutes to set the record for driving across the United States. You might have seen the movie they made about it called the Cannonball Run. "He set that amazing record time in 1975 by beating the record set the year before by legendary driver Dan Gurney in a Ferrari Daytona by a full minute. What a ride that must have been! A chance meeting with someone like Jack May is what cars show are all about and you never know what might be waiting for you just around the corner. FL has several annual cars shows and I know I'll be returning to Winter Park!