For car enthusiasts, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance offers a unique perspective that blends classics and sports into an extraordinary showcase of elegance and horsepower. Now in its third decade, Bill Warner and his team have long set the bar for how any Concours shows should be run, and 2017 was in that regard no exception.
Having been fortunate to attend the Amelia Concours multiple times in past years, it is easy to see why over 30,000 people spend an entire day perusing the tenth and eighteenth fairways at the Golf Club of Amelia Island. From a 1900 De Dion Bouton to a 1950 Ferrari 166 MM/195S Berlinetta Lemans to a rare 1968 Bizzarrini Strada 5300, the Amelia Concours features it all. Each year, the sheer quality of automobiles and motorcycles exceeds expectations with every major marque represented, yet the Amelia Concours also manages to showcase fun and unexpected themes.
While this year’s weather forced the Amelia team to move the Concours to Saturday, Warner and his crew executed a flawless ‘change-of-plan’, resulting in an automotive sensory overload with both the Concours and the Cars & Coffee taking place at the same time.
“Considering that the decision to move Sunday’s Concours d'Elegance to Saturday was made less than 48 hours to show time, we really couldn’t have asked for a better result”, noted Chris Brewer, Director of Public Relations for the Amelia Island Concours.
Thanks to the amazing efforts of staff, sponsors, vendors, operations and volunteer teams, more than 300 concours vehicles made it to the show field, and the judging and awards went on as planned. Making the decision to run both the Cars & Coffee and the Concours simultaneously certainly created some obstacles, but a solid group effort proved effective and in many ways the additional 450 Cars & Coffee vehicles enhanced the Amelia’s Concours event.
What makes the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance truly unique is that Bill Warner has never forgotten that in the end it is all about fun, friendship and having a great time; from honoring passed-on traditions to celebrating passion, dedication and achievements, a concours is where friendships are made, knowledge is shared and, above all, where the appreciation for attention to detail and admiration for craftsmanship is passed on from one generation to the next.
Voted Best Motoring Festival Award twice in the past five years, the Amelia Concours grew from a small event with 2,000 spectators to one of the top car shows in the world generating over $15 million in economic impact, according to the Amelia Tourist Development Council. And if that in itself is not enough, the show also raised over a million dollars to assist local charities, giving back to the community it receives so much from.
And that same philanthropic notion is what makes it so special to Bill Warner, who remains one of the most genuine, approachable, and congenial persons in the Concours world. For Warner, organizing a show is all about the people he is surrounded with. His trinity of elegance, excellence and style in both automotive, friendship and philanthropy is what makes the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance so special and why I look forward to attending many more years.