When it comes to cars, John Oates can definitely go for that — and will at next week’s 25th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance March 5-8 in Florida.
To celebrate that silver anniversary as well as his 25th with wife Aimee, Oates is donating a 1984 Tiga SC84 Sports 2000 race car for auction to benefit the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation. Oates is also bringing his first Porsche, a Special Wishes custom model he first bought in 1983 and reacquired at auction late last year, to exhibit at the show.
“It’s a real time capsule, and it’s amazing that after all these years I was able to get it back,” Oates tells Billboard. “I first got it while I was on tour in Germany in ’83 with Daryl (Hall); I went to the Porsche factory and was able to spec out this really unique, one-of-a-kind car.” Oates subsequently sold the vehicle but discovered it while looking at cars online. “I was dating (Aimee) when I first got it, so we were like, ‘Are you kidding? We’ve got to get this car!'” Oates says with a laugh. “We ended up winning it, and luckily for me the previous owners had kept it almost totally original, with all the paperwork. It’s a true unicorn.”
Oates also has some history with Tiga. He raced a similar model during 1983-84 at a variety of celebrity events. The model being auctioned, which Oates acquired in 2018, won races at Le Mans and Daytona, racking up multiple British and European championships. “We restored it with a good friend of mine in Florida, and it’s absolutely pristine,” Oates says. “It’s another time capsule.”
These days, of course, you won’t find Oates, 71 — who underwent emergency gallbladder surgery Feb. 20 in Nashville — doing much racing. “I go to these various track days where you can go out and exercise your car. I do that a lot,” says Oates, who maintains a small collection of sports cars, “heavy on the Porsche stuff,” at his home near Nashville. “Those (racing) days are over for me, but I still enjoy the driving and all that. Now that I live in Tennessee, with these great country roads, it’s really great to go out and drive around and clear my head. It’s something I enjoy.”
Oates, meanwhile, is keeping himself busy musically with Hall & Oates. The duo plays a sold-out Madison Square Garden show in New York on Feb. 28 — its first at the venue in 30 years — with Squeeze and KT Tunstall; The concert is a preview of the three acts’ upcoming tour, which begins May 23 in Hall & Oates’ native Philadelphia (Tunstall joins six days later at the Hollywood Bowl). Hall & Oates have some other spring dates in the U.S. as well.
Plus, they surprised fans by revealing that they’re planning a new album, the first studio set by the duo since its 2006 Home For Christmas album.
“Daryl’s jump-staring this whole project,” says Oates, who’s spent the past few years with his Americana solo album Arkansas and touring with his Good Road Band. “Daryl’s in this place where he needs to be creative, so he’s been reaching out, looking for something. His TV show (Live From Daryl’s House) is on hiatus. It’s just great, honestly, that’s he’s really making the effort to kind of move forward on this.”
Oates says he’ll now “disengage my brain from all the other stuff I’ve been doing and put my Hall & Oates hat on,” but he adds that he and Hall have not assigned any kind of timetable for the project. “I think once the word gets out that we’re going to make a record people are going to anticipate it,” Oates says, “but our life doesn’t revolve around record labels, timetables, release dates. That’s not important to us anymore and thank God. We live in our own universe, which is somewhat parallel to the (music) world but kind of separate as well. My goal would be to make the best record we can, write the best songs and put it out when it’s ready.”