PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Amelia Island Florida February 24, 2013; Edsel Ford's "continental car", a custom boattail speedster, will take its rightful place in the Sports Car Class of the 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. In the shape of Edsel's seminal speedster is the genesis of Ford's legendary design department.

Edsel Ford was hardly "a chip off the old block". The acorn fell well away from the mighty oak that was Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company. Edsel was not just the President of Ford; he was a car guy to his core. His tastes and passions still resonate in the lines of Ford's contemporary cars.

Edsel was enchanted by European sports cars. His trips to Europe, he called it "the continent", triggered visions of Fords with "continental" styling. In 1934 what would become Ford's in-house design department created his first "long, low and rakish continental car" (as Edsel described it to his designer and confederate E.T"Bob" Gregorie) on a '32 Ford chassis.

His boattail speedster had Ford V-8 power and running gear wrapped in a sleek, all-aluminum boattail body made by Ford's aircraft division. It was just what Edsel Ford wanted and had described. No running boards and a steeply raked split windshield that disguised Edsel's continental car's humble assembly line origins.

The Continental name stuck. Within the decade, the radical new Lincoln Continental was a stylish world class luxury contender. When the 1939 Lincoln Continental debuted, the world famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright called it "the most beautiful car in the world". All because Edsel Ford wanted a sports car when he came home from Europe.

When Edsel's boattail speedster was resurrected and restored more than seven decades later, the new owners, Jim and Bonnie Gombos, spent five years returning it to Edsel's original specifications. They even painted it "gunmetal gray", Edsel'sfavorite color.

About The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

Now in its second decade, the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, "The Amelia" draws nearly 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show's Foundation has donated over $2 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other deserving charities on Florida's First Coast. The 18th annual Amelia Island Concoursd'Elegance is scheduled for March 8-10, 2013. For more information, visitwww.ameliaconcours.org or call 904-636-0027.

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