Images of motorsport immortals, by a most respectful observer

If you read this space, you’ve seen us discuss Bill Warner, the founder of one of motoring history’s most acclaimed events, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. More than any other individual, Bill makes this grand happening reality every spring. What most attendees likely don’t know is that before he got involved with showing landmark cars, Bill spent a lifetime photographing them, particularly on the race tracks of the world, which explains why historic race cars get equal billing with roadworthy automobiles at Amelia Island. Growing up near Jacksonville, Florida, Bill first picked up a serious camera at the suggestion of his late sister and commenced on a six-decade run shooting global motorsport at its highest levels, most notably for Sports Car Graphic and Road & Track. This experience gave him the historical grounding he needed to credibly organize a great concours. So Bill, and his images, are enormously valuable as historical resource. For the first time, Bill has gathered them into a book.

The Other Side of the Fence is lavishly produced and encompasses 200 large-format, hardcover pages, broadly organized into the author’s early years with photography, images of action and brilliantly composed portraits of auto racing’s biggest names dating back to the 1960s. An unforgettable image of Mark Donohue, glancing placidly moments from combat, and which I published in Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car with Bill’s commentary, is just the first course in this delicious buffet. Denny Hulme in a Can-Am McLaren, Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood in the conquering Brumos Porsches, and even Steve McQueen nearly winning Sebring in 1970 aboard a Porsche 908/2 – look it up – are among the magical images herein. All the images are eloquent and wonderfully composed, the portraits encompassing the likes of Cale Yarborough, Jochen Neerspach, Sir Ralph Lauren, and Darrell Waltrip trying to figure out how a Formula 1 Tyrell operates. And any book that recognizes the greatest Indianapolis 500 crew chief of all time, George Bignotti, is in our good graces. It’s a well-spent $100 from the concours offices plus retailers including Autobooks-Aerobooks of Burbank, California; and Pasteiner’s Collectibles and Hobbies on 14 Mile Road in Birmingham, Michigan. Like the concours, the book’s proceeds go toward charities in northeast Florida, including spina bifida. Tell them who sent you.

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