Amelia Island Concours rounds up cowboy-cars class

Leo Carillo’s 1948 Chrysler is known as the ‘Steer Car’ for obvious reasons | Alejandro Rodriguez/ Gooding and Company
Leo Carillo’s 1948 Chrysler is known as the ‘Steer Car’ for obvious reasons | Alejandro Rodriguez/ Gooding

Six guns and steer horns will be moseying into the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance next March as the 20th annual event says howdy to its latest featured class: Cars of the Cowboys.

These were the unique custom cars that were designed for and driven by the great Hollywood Western stars of the past, from Tom Mix to Roy Rogers, who expressed their cowboy-movie flair with flamboyant and sometimes outlandish creations.

The 1937 Cord in which Tom Mix was killed | Amelia Island Concours
The 1937 Cord in which Tom Mix was killed | Amelia Island Concours

The Amelia Island Concours, which has taken its place among the world’s top classic car events, is known for its creative featured classes, and Cars of the Cowboys will mark another first. The collection focuses on an era when Western movies and later TV series were an entertainment staple in the U.S., from the 1920s through the 1960s.

“This is the first gathering of cowboy cars at a major international concours,” Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the concours, said in a news release. “We hope to retrieve a few happy memories for the grown up kids of the 1950s who can bring their children and grandchildren to Amelia to see something that was such a fun part of our lives. Besides, without classes like ‘Cars of the Cowboys,’ it just wouldn’t be Amelia.”

Roy Rogers’ wildly festooned 1963 Pontiac | RM Auctions
Roy Rogers’ wildly festooned 1963 Pontiac | RM Auctions

Among the featured Cars of the Cowboys will be the 1948 Chrysler Town and Country “Steer Car” originally owned by Leo Carillo, who played Pancho in The Cisco Kid TV series. A longhorn steer’s head and enormous horns are mounted on the front of the Chrysler’s hood.

Another is the 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton in which Tom Mix was killed in a crash while speeding through southern Arizona in 1940. The Cord has been repaired and restored to the way it appeared when Mix owned it.

Yet another is Roy Rogers’ over-the-top 1963 Pontiac Bonneville that was lavishly festooned with pistols, rifles, horse statues, a saddle console and other shiny emblems of the Old West by famed Western-wear designer Nudie Cohn.

The Amelia Island Concours is scheduled for March 15, 2015, at the Golf Club of Amelia Island at The Ritz-Carlton. The concours and its foundation raise money for Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other charities on Florida’s First Coast, and have donated $2.5 million for charity since the concours’ inception in 1996.

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