Calendar of Events

Welcome Bill Warner, Rotary Club of South Jacksonville

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lunch begins at noon - Meeting begins at 12:30 p.m.

Meet Bill Warner
Concours d'Elegance

William (Bill) C. Warner is the CEO of H.C. Warner, Inc., a retired Major of the Florida Air National Guard, a Contributing Editor of Road & Track Magazine, and the Founder and Chairman of The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.

Bill Warner has been around automobiles his whole life.  As a teenager he worked at the local Volkswagen and imported car dealership in the parts department and driving the delivery truck.  On weekends, he worked as a “gopher” for the dealership racing team and became enthralled with motor racing.  Upon earning his degree in Electrical Engineering, he entered the family filter business and started work on the side for Sports Car Graphic Magazine.  In 1971, he began his relationship with Road & Track Magazine which continues today.  His photographs and writing have appeared in Road & Track, Car and Driver, Autoweek, The Atlantic Monthly, Automobile, Automotor und Sport, Classic & Sportscar, Porsche Panorama, and Forza to mention a few.   His photography has won awards from The Los Angeles Art Directors, the Creative Arts Yearbook, and the Sports Car Club of America (Photographer of the Year 1970).  His photos have been featured in the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles as part of the 50th Anniversary of Ferrari and at the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

In 1975, he teamed with Tom Nehl in a Porsche 911 to finish 14th in the third running of the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash (AKA The Cannonball run) and with English racing great, Innes Ireland; Can Am racer, George Drolsom; and sedan racer, Dick Starita, to finish 26th in the inaugural running of the Cannonball One Lap of America.  The One Lap was run in a Hertz-Unlimited Mileage Lincoln Town Car.  Warner started racing in 1978 in a Brabham BT-8 and later in the SCCA in an ex-Bob Sharp Racing Datsun B210.  He finished 5th in the American Road Racing Amateur Championships at Road Atlanta in 1982 in Class GT-3 (having started in 22nd place).  His drive earned him a nomination for the Mark Donohue Award.  In 1984 he entered the International Motorsports Association Firehawk Series in a Camaro and had top ten finishes at St. Louis and Sebring, top five finishes at Watkins Glen (twice), a 3rd at Road America, a 2nd at Lime Rock, Ct., and a win in the Escort Series at Mid Ohio, all in Camaros.  Warner won the IMSA Media Challenge (for racing journalists) in 1984, 1985, and 1986.   He participated as a driver in the SAAB World Speed Record Run at Talladega, Alabama in 1986.  Warner has driven factory sponsored road races for Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Mercury, and Ford.  He currently races the ex-Bob Tullius, Group 44/ ex-Paul Newman Triumph TR-6 and the ex-Group 44 Triumph TR-8 Trans Am/IMSA car in vintage racing. He has been awarded the Skip Barber Cup (Lime Rock) and the John Kelly Trophy (Mid Ohio) for driving. 

In addition to racing, he restores and collects interesting cars.  Currently in his collection are a 1957 Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz, a 1958 Cadillac El Dorado Brougham, a 1955 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1972 Ferrari 365GTB/4 “Daytona”, a 1952 Muntz Road Jet, a 1971 Porsche 911T (owned since new), a 1979 Mercedes Benz 450SL (Jane’s car), a 1928 Simplex Piston Ring Special, 1978 Bill Mitchell Special Vehicles Development Oldsmobile Omega, a 1970 Maserati Ghibli Spyder, a 2005 Ford GT, and the two previously mentioned Triumph race cars.  The centerpiece of his collection was Edsel Ford’s 1934 Ford Model 40 Special Speedster which he sold in 2008.  Over the years he has restored a Brabham BT-8 (ex-Denny Hulme, Tourist Trophy winner), an Elva Mk 5, a Lotus 11 LeMans (ex-Innes Ireland), the Lang Cooper (nee Shelby King Cobra), a 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta (now in the General Motors Heritage Collection),  a 1954 Corvette, and a BMW M-1.

In 1996, he founded The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance near his home of Jacksonville, Florida.  In the fifteen year history of the show, it has raised over $ 1.7 million dollars for Community Hospice and Spina Bifida.  For his charitable work, he was recognized by The Rotary Club of South Jacksonville with the Frank Sherman Award;  The WTLV Channel 12, Twelve Who Care Award;  The National Philanthropic Award as Volunteer of the Year (1998)and the American Institute for Public Service, Jefferson Award.

In 2002, he was recognized by a panel of automotive writers and journalists with the Meguiar’s Automobile Hobby Person of the Year.  The ceremony was held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, California, and was nationally televised.  Other recipients of the Meguiar’s Award have been Jay Leno, the late Chip Miller of Carlisle Productions, and Steve Earle of the Monterey Historic Races.

In 2003, he was inducted into the Road Racing Driver’s Club by British Racing Champion, Brian Redman.

In September of 2005, Warner was named to the Steering Committee of the LeMay Automotive Museum, Tacoma, Washington.

In February 2006, The Federacion de Automovilismo de Puerto Rico recognized Bill and Jane for their contribution to the preservation of antique and classic cars.

In July of 2008, Bill was named  one of the “Top 50 Players in the Classic Car World” by Octane Magazine (UK) joining such automotive luminaries at Sir Stirling Moss, Dan Gurney, Jay Leno, Phil Hill and Lord March.

In October of 2008, Bill was awarded the Lee Iococca Award given as recognition for “Dedication to Excellence in Perpetuating an American Automotive Tradition”. 

In August of 2009, Bill was appointed to the Selection Committee of the Monterey Historic Races, Monterey, California.

He has served as the Honorary Chief Judge at the Thousand Oaks Concours d’Elegance, Thousand Oaks, California, and Honorary Chairman of the EyesOn Design, Detroit, Michigan (2010).  He has served on judging teams at the Glenmoor Gathering (Ohio), the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance (Philadelphia), The Louis Vuitton Concours, New York City, and the Keels and Wheels Concours d’Elegance (near Houston).

Bill is recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Florida Service ribbon and served 30 years in the Florida Air National Guard, retiring at the rank of Major.

He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from The Citadel in 1966.

His wife of forty-four years, Jane, has patiently put up with his automotive mania with an understanding beyond reasonable expectations, as have his three children, son, Clay, and twin daughters, Demery Webber and Dana Shewmaker, and granddaughters, Lindsey Jane Webber and Mildred Huxley Warner.

Newest Paul Harris Fellow

Congratulation to South Jacksonville Rotary Club's newest Paul Harris Fellow, Chris Bouton!

Board Action
Approved for your consideration into membership - John Lawlor, sponsor is PP Al Wilkinson and the classification is Law, Wills/Estates/Trusts.  Anyone having an objection, please submit it in writing to the Board within ten (10) days.

A spring time social will be held on May 22 at the Alhambra dinner theatre.  The show is the Buddy Holly Story and we are looking forward to a fun event!  Mark your calendars and be sure to support the club.

We are pleased to announce the Jacksonville Historical Society raised approximately $15,000 with the Gingerbread Event this year.