One of the good things about following the world of cars, and motorsport, is that you get the privilege of meeting truly unique individuals who have their feet firmly planted in both those orbits, the kind of person that Bill Warner embodies. You’ve met my fellow Floridian in this space before. He is the founder of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, which traditionally kicks off the U.S. season of really high-end car events each spring from its location at the Ritz-Carlton in that northeast Florida oasis. Amelia Island has been taking place there since 1996, except for the pandemic interruption of 2020. I personally rank it alongside Pebble Beach and the Goodwood Festival of Speed as gatherings of historic automobiles that every enthusiast ought to visit, or try to, at least once.
As I type this, Bill is just back from receiving a very special honor, a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2021 Historic Motoring Awards in London. In presenting the recognition, James Elliott, editor-in-chief of Octane magazine, said, “It was a privilege to give it to such a wonderful gent who has done so much for our hobby.” No argument here. Besides handling the million last-minute things that come up at a weekend of Amelia Island’s magnitude, Bill does a lot of what the photo depicts, leading an auction during the concours weekend to raise a lot of money for regional charities, getting bids on cool stuff like the painting of Hans Stuck Jr. seen here. Bill was a greatly noted motorsport photojournalist, published everywhere from Autoweek to the Atlantic Monthly, and an SCCA Nationals-level road racer before he conceptualized the concours. Bill now holds the Amelia Island title of Chairman Emeritus, the concours having been acquired by Hagerty earlier this year. The automotive world is full of good people like this and it’s cool to see one of the best recognized so prominently,