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By Eddie LePine

I, along with over 250 credentialed journalists from around the world and over 22,000 car enthusiast spectators, participants, vendors and just plain ‘car guys’, descended upon the Ritz-Carlton at Amelia Island, Florida between March 3-6 to bask in the glory of the automobile and celebrate a new beginning for the event founded 28 years ago by the legendary Bill Warner.

As time has moved on, this annual event in northern Florida has continued to grow and flourish to the point where it is now known and admired internationally by everyone in the automotive community and rightly discussed in the same breath as Pebble Beach.

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, as it has been known for all those years, now has new ownership and a new name. Rebranded as simply ‘The Amelia’, Bill Warner’s creation is now in the excellent hands of Hagerty, Inc. as it looks to generate even more growth and success in the future.

This year continued the 27-year tradition of giving, started by Mr. Warner, with Hagerty pledging more than $200,000 to local charitable partners including Community Hospice and Palliative Care, Spina Bifida of Jacksonville and local area Shop with Cops programs. This year’s funds add to the more than $4,000,000 the event has contributed to charity in its history.

“The goal this year was to honor The Amelia’s many traditions while offering innovative experiences for new audiences. Thanks to our dedicated team, I believe we did,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty, Inc. “We received a lot of great feedback from attendees, vendors, local officials and participants that will help us make next year’s Amelia even better.”

This year’s event honored racing legend Chip Ganassi’s contributions to motorsport and an incredible selection of his Indy Car and sports racing cars related to his extensive racing career were on display.

Among the 215 cars on the field on Sunday for the Concours were a great selection of race cars celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 70th Anniversary of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. An excellent display of Dan Gurney Eagle race cars were also a highlight of the show.

So, a big ‘Thank You’ to Bill Warner for creating such an outstanding event and a big shout out to Hagerty for its leadership in moving the event to even greater heights and success.

I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year.

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