That was 80 years ago. Today, the trophy of motorsport’s most important and glamorous race still packs the same potency it did when it was first awarded to the winner of the Indianapolis 500.
A quarter century before the Borg-Warner became auto racing’s most famous trophy, Indianapolis awarded a selection of impressive trophies. But none were as imposing as the seven-foot-plus, sterling silver Wheeler-Schebler Trophy (created by Tiffany’s) that will become the centerpiece of the 21st annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 13, 2016.
Indy’s massive Wheeler-Schebler was first awarded in 1909, the year The Speedway opened. It was last presented to Harry Hartz, the owner of the car leading at the 400-mile mark of the 1932 Indy 500. That was the third consecutive year that one of Harry’s cars won the huge prize. Hartz donated it to The Indianapolis Speedway Museum where it still impresses visitors with its sheer size and imposing presence.
The massive Harley Earl Trophy celebrates the success of winning the most prestigious stock car race in the world and the permanent display trophy in all its grandeur will join the Borg-Warner trophy for only the second time in history.
The rarely seen Maurice G. Bauer Trophy, emblematic of victory in the legendary Cannonball, will be displayed with the 246 Dino that won the 1975 running. It is emblematic because it was never awarded. A Bolus & Snopes operative bought the bronze bust of Bauer in 1972 and gave it to Brock Yates for use as a trophy. Yates liked it so much that it never left his home. Little is known of Bauer beyond his having “…watched developments from the front porch of his home in Grand Island, Nebraska.” What those developments concerned remains a mystery, as does Bauer.
“To have these trophies and the cars that won them on Amelia’s concours field brings home the true spirit of racing and the power of Louis Meyer’s words,” said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “It brings our long racing history and heritage into sharp focus.”
Amelia’s “Trophy Cars” will feature eleven significant competition cars and the famous trophies they won in some of history’s fabled classic races.
Borg-Warner Trophy – Indianapolis 500, 1970 Indy 500-winning PJ Colt #2
Wheeler Schebler Trophy – Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 1909 Buick “Old #10”
Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 Perpetual Trophy – Richard Petty Plymouth Superbird
Le Mans 24 Hour Trophy (1965) — Ferrari 250 LM NART, Ferrari’s last Le Mans 24 winner
Le Mans 24 Hour Trophy(1949)—Ferrari 166MM
Stevens Trophy – Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Cord 810 speed record car, 1937
Race of Two Worlds – Monza, Italy, Watson/Offenhauser “roadster”, 1957
Vanderbilt Cup – ALCO “Black Beast” (the only two-time Vanderbilt Cup winner) 1908 & ‘09
The Maurice G. Bauer Trophy (Cannonball Run)..1973 246 Dino
The 1914 French GP Trophy— Mercedes GP
Alec Ulmann Trophy (Sebring)—1954 OSCA MT-4
The 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will be held March 11-13 on the 10th and 18th fairways of The Golf Club of Amelia Island at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.