Perhaps the most luxurious batch of car shows Florida has to offer, the Festivals of Speed (FoS) provide a place for enthusiasts and collectors to gather for a weekend of automotive therapy in the most upscale environments. Founded in 2004, the Festivals have been around for 11 consecutive years. They are currently held four times a year in Orlando, Miami, St. Petersburg, and Amelia Island at the most prestige hotels with the finest accommodations- The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, The Epic Hotel in Miami, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, and the Renaissance Vinoy Hotel in St. Pete. Past Festivals include those in California and New York, but we’re a bit biased towards Florida *wink.*
Whether the shows be three days or one, they are much more than just a car show. In particular, the Orlando Festival of Speed stretched over 3 days (December 4th-December 6th, 2015) to include a luxury Jetport reception, a Golf Tournament and Wine Connoisseurs Dinner to benefit charities, Ride & Drive experiences, Fine Art & Jewelry displays, Yacht displays, sponsor booths, VIP experiences, and of course the main Display of Exotics. There’s something for every enthusiast: from classics and hyper cars, to boats and bikes, and even a plane.
Never heard of these shows? Well, the Festivals are certainly no secret. Show days can pull in over 20,000 attendees, receptions bring in over 700 attendees, and more private events like the Golf Tournament and Wine Connoisseurs dinner host up to 250 attendees each.
And so, for less than a fill up at the gas station, I was able to attend the Display of Exotics show on Sunday and revel at some pretty awesome pieces of machinery.
By far the most popular attraction was Aston Martin’s mega-powered hyper-track car: the 2016 Aston Martin Vulcan (no, the name is not a reference to Star Trek). This gorgeous piece of carbon machinery is the FIRST Vulcan to arrive in the United States, courtesy of Aston Martin Cleveland. There are only 25 in the entire world. So of course it was on display here at one of the most prestigious car shows in the nation… and I thank the car gods it was. Pictures will never do this car justice, it is just one of those you have to see to fully appreciate. A total track car (not street legal), this beast pushes out 800+ horsepower from a 7.0L V12 engine developed in partnership with Aston Martin Racing. A few noticeable features include its beautiful aerodynamic design, some crazy stick-like taillights, side outlet exhausts, Brembo brakes with carbon ceramic discs, a giant wing, and basically CARBON FIBER EVERYWHERE.
Near the Vulcan, another prestige Aston loomed in all its rare glory: the Aston Martin Lagonda. Offered in limited numbers and exclusively to the Middle East, U.K., and Europe, this giant boat of luxury is a revival of the historic classic Lagonda from the 1970s-1990s. Oh. No, it’s not a boat… It’s just a very long sedan.
While the Vulcan may have been the most popular feature (rightfully so), there were definitely others that deserve a shout-out. Several of those were bunched together in a pretty terrace area of the hotel grounds.
These special cars included a rare yellow Enzo Ferrari, a Pagani Huayra, McLaren P1, white McLaren 650s, a very rare Alfa Romeo Zagato TZ3 Stradale (#9 of 9), a Ferrari 275 GTB, Porsche Carrera GT, a racing-spec Mercedes SLS AMG, a pair of slant nose Porsches, a pair of rare Jaguars, a diesel Porsche tractor, and a few more racecars…. Because racecar.
A plethora of automotive brands were present to showcase their newest and best vehicles. A few car groups and vendors were in attendance as well, displaying the best they had to offer. There was quite a big and unexpected showing of classic vehicles, from several Volkswagens and Porsches -that included a gorgeous 928-, to a beautifully placed Thunderbird by the water, and a few rare Studebaker Avantis. And then there were these two little cool cruisers, who for sure won the cuteness award for the day.
The parking lots were almost as good as the show as Ferraris and Porsches and Lamborghinis filled the valet parking area.
I have to say, this year’s FoS was pretty awesome. I think it may have the edge on last year, which had a pretty crazy display of 3 McLaren P1’s, a Huayra, a Ferrari 333sp racecar, a Ferrari 275 NART, and the world-renowned record-holding Hennessy Venom GT.
There is so much more to say, but I’ll let the photos speak for themselves! Check out them out below and then grab your tickets for the next show in Amelia Island on March 11th, 2016!