Bill Warner, chairman & founder of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, has been confirmed to speak at our 2020 Drive History Conference! Warner, a lifelong racer, automotive photographer, and all around gearhead will be presenting on the subject of his latest book “Cuba’s Car Culture” where he and Tom Cotter (host of Barnfind Hunter) tell the story of how the automobile came to Cuba and how the country’s automotive culture has evolved since the Cuban Revolution of 1959.
Bill Warner has been working with cars his entire life, getting his start as a teenager working in the parts department and driving a delivery truck for a local Volkswagen dealership. After earning his degree in Electrical Engineering from The Citadel in 1966, Warner joined the Florida Air National Guard where he served for 30 years, married his wife Jane, and started selling filters at his father’s business, H.C. Warner, Inc. Although Warner was a busy man, he always wanted to be involved with cars and racing, picking up a side gig photographing races at Daytona for Sports Car Graphic in 1967.
Warner’s abilities for dramatic photography and storytelling quickly earned him the Sports Car Club of America Photographer of the Year award for 1970, as well as having his work published across various other publications. Although Warner found success in his photographic and journalism abilities, he knew he wanted to be the one racing the cars he had spent so long photographing. Warner began racing in the late 70s and has taken part in the past time ever since, winning three IMSA Media Challenges, participating in the SAAB World Speed Record Run, driven factory sponsored racer cars for Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Mercury, and Ford, taken part in the Cannonball Run in 1975, and more.
Photos #1-3 Courtesy of The Amelia Island Concours
In 1996, Warner was approached by the public relations team of the Ritz-Carlton of Amelia Island, who wished to put together a world class car show to draw visitors to their resort. Warner decided he would help, as long as the event would benefit the Hospice organization where his father had recently passed away. With a worthy cause to support, Warner called in many of his connections from over the years for the inaugural Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in April of 1996. Now going into its 25th year, The Amelia has become a staple in the automotive world, known as the People’s Concours for the community feeling and friendliness of many who attend this show every March.
Warner’s experience in the car world will make a noteworthy addition to the lineup of speakers and presenters for our 2020 Drive History Conference. Other events on the schedule include a historic vehicle driving experience, unveiling of the newest cars to be added to the National Historic Vehicle Register for 2020, and more! Don’t miss out on this amazing annual event by registering your spot now here! Full schedule to be announced soon!