Long an automotive celebration like no other, “The Amelia” is the annual award-winning motoring event that returns this year to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island from March 2 to March 5. Luxury shopping, auctions, new vehicle reveals, experiential drives, exclusive gatherings, and entertaining seminars fill Saturday’s Cars & Community events and Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance. Each year, The Amelia honors a racing legend and attracts celebrities from across the automotive landscape.
A Jacksonville native, Bill Warner, had a long and successful career in the automotive industry before The Amelia even started. In 1996, after years of working as an automotive photographer, journalist, and driver, the public relations team from The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island reached out to Warner in hopes of finding a champion to build an automotive event on their campus. Warner didn’t consider himself a “Concours guy,” but he agreed to help with the stipulation that the show give back to the community.
The inaugural event, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, took place in April of 1996. Warner used his connections in the automotive world to advertise, report on, and sponsor the weekend of motoring. The Amelia attracted personalities from across the motoring landscape, from legendary drivers who would serve as the event’s yearly honorees to automotive designers, television personalities, and industry executives. Without Warner, along with his small, dedicated staff and an incredible group of volunteers, The Amelia would never have been what it was then or what it has become today.
Armed with decades of experience hosting car-centric events and a purpose to save driving and car culture for future generations, Hagerty took over as the host of The Amelia in 2021. The Amelia Island Concours staff joined the Hagerty team, providing their unmatched expertise and historic knowledge on how to run a successful, legendary automotive event.
“Our objective is to knit the enthusiast community together in a way that supports and protects the future of car culture,” says McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. “Amelia Island is synonymous with the Concours and motorsports heritage due to the steadfast efforts of Bill Warner and his team. We are incredibly proud to have the opportunity to build upon and scale Bill’s vision.”
Warner and his team’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Amelia won the coveted “Motoring Event of the Year” distinction from the International Historic Motoring Awards both in 2013 and 2016. But The Amelia is not just about cars. Since it began, the team has donated over $4 million to Spina Bifida of Jacksonville, Community Hospice & Palliative Care, including the Jane and Bill Warner Center for Caring, located in Fernandina Beach, Shop with Cops, and other deserving charities from Florida’s First Coast.
NASCAR LEGEND JEFF GORDON HONORED AT THE AMELIA IN 2023
Each year, The Amelia honors a star from the racing community. Jeff Gordon, NASCAR Hall of Famer and Vice Chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, will serve as the 2023 Honoree of The Amelia. The winner of four NASCAR Cup Series championships in a seven-year span, Gordon helped transform auto racing into a mainstream American sport. In 1998, NASCAR named Gordon to its 50 Greatest Drivers list. Ten years later in a 2008 article, ESPN’s Terry Blount ranked him tenth in the 25 Greatest Drivers of All-Time. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2019.
The famed driver launched the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation in 1999 to help fund pediatric cancer research. In 2006, he opened the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital in Concord, North Carolina. Gordon’s vast career and philanthropic nature makes him the perfect fit for The Amelia’s “Motor with Meaning” mantra.
“Honoring a hero from the racing community is an important component of The Amelia’s DNA,” says McKeel Hagerty. “From the inaugural Honoree, Sir Stirling Moss, to last year’s celebration of Chip Ganassi, The Amelia has anchored the celebration of the automobile to the incredible people, like this year’s Honoree, Jeff Gordon, who have devoted their lives as ambassadors for driving.”\
AMELIA AUCTION WITH BROAD ARROW GROUP AND EIGHT FLAGS ROAD TOUR
Broad Arrow Group is honored to host its inaugural Amelia Auction on Saturday March 4 at 10:30 a.m., with auction previews being held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning. With Hagerty’s stewardship of The Amelia, and Broad Arrow Group’s new appointment as the official auction house of this esteemed Concours, The Amelia Auction is the ideal setting for enthusiasts seeking collector car camaraderie. The Amelia Auction will feature more than 100 exceptional collector cars ranging from pre-War American and European classics to motorsport icons.
The Amelia Kicks off on Thursday, March 2 with Broad Arrow Auction’s Preview, held in the ballroom of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Later that evening, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., is the beloved Porsche Winemaker’s Dinner, presented by Porsche Cars NA. This event features a celebrated sommelier, who pairs each course with wines complementary to the menu. The dinner yearly has been known to attract drivers and celebrities from across the Porsche landscape. Tickets are required, and cocktail attire is recommended.
On Friday, March 3, The Amelia is in full swing with its Reliable Carriers Eight Flags Road Tour. The Tour stops at various points on and around Amelia Island, concluding with a public display in historic downtown Fernandina Beach on Centre Street around noon. This driving tour includes breakfast, a coffee stop, and lunch, and is reserved for Concours entrants and special guests only.
PORSCHE DRIVING EXPERIENCE AND RIDE & DRIVE
Also on the docket is the Porsche Driving Experience presented by Porsche Cars NA. Held from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., drivers and an optional passenger will travel in their personal vehicles to Fernandina Beach Airport for check-in, coffee, donuts, and the day’s briefing. Participants will be split into groups to enjoy automotive activities, including an autocross in one of the latest Porsches and a spirited ride with a professional driver, a tour of the Brumos Collection Museum and Race Shop, and a provided lunch and seminar about Porsche. Tickets are required.
Friday also features Ride & Drive, where you can get behind the wheel of a cool car and cruise on a guided drive around the area. This event is free and open to the public, first come, first served. Find the Ride & Drive booth at the entrance to The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.
The Amelia’s Silent Auction takes place Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. A collection of unique, rare, and eclectic film, television, automotive, and motorsports-related items, as well as fine jewelry, collectible watches, original art, and autographed limited-edition prints, can be found in the Plaza Ballroom Foyer of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. In 2023, bidding will be virtual, which means you don’t have to be present to bid. Visit www.ameliaconcours.com for details.
CORVETTE AT LE MANS AND CARS & COMMUNITY
Friday is a busy day at The Amelia! You won’t want to miss a special seminar at 3 p.m. entitled Corvette at Le Mans, led by NASCAR Hall of Fame Crew Chief Ray Evernham with a panel of people who took Corvette to Le Mans. Panelists scheduled to appear include Justin Bell, Dan Binks, and Ron Fellows. Tickets are required. Friday evening at 7 p.m., Corvette fans are also invited to a viewing of a film called The Quest. In 1960, Corvettes joined the field of the renowned French 24 Hours of Le Mans Endurance Race for the first time. Through historical footage, The Quest reveals what happened to each of the four Corvettes after they raced at Le Mans and then were lost for decades. Tickets are required.
On Saturday, March 4, The Amelia offers Cars & Community, presented by Griot’s Garage, held at The Golf Club of Amelia Island. This unique day of automotive family fun includes Cars & Caffeine, a 1980s and ’90s-focused RADwood display, the fun and low-brow Concours d’Lemons, and The Amelia’s Future Drivers Club, all for the price of a single ticket.
Saturday’s seminar, Jeff Gordon: The Hendrick Motorsports Years, held at 10:30 a.m., features NASCAR Hall of Fame Crew Chief Ray Evernham hosting a panel discussion in celebration of racing legend Jeff Gordon, The Amelia’s 2023 Honoree. Gordon and his former crew chief will be joined by Steve Letarte, multi-time winning crew chief at Hendrick Motorsports and NBC TV analyst, as they share a rare behind the scenes glimpse of Gordon’s greatest moments on the track and beyond. Tickets are required.
And on Saturday evening at 6:30, join The Amelia for an exciting evening honoring NASCAR Hall of Famer and Vice Chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, Jeff Gordon. Dinner will feature interactive food stations, cocktails, live musical entertainment, and a lively in-person interview with Gordon. Tickets are required, and cocktail attire is recommended.
24 HOURS OF LE MANS WINNERS AND 120TH ANNIVERSARY OF BUICK
On Sunday, March 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., it’s what we’ve all been waiting for: The Amelia Concours d’Elegance, featuring over 250 historically significant vehicles from collections around the world gathered for a celebration of the automobile like no other! Some of the car classes featured this year include: Le Mans Winners, 120th Anniversary of Buick, Fiberglass Racing Spyders, and over 30 more amazing classes of historic and iconic automobiles.
For automotive manufacturers, victory in the world’s premier sports car race meant fame, commercial success, and sporting immortality. Across a century, no race has had a greater or more lasting effect on the automobile, its systems, operating environment, and the automotive business than the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Don’t miss out on this special display of Le Mans winners!
In the early twentieth century, automotive pioneer David Dunbar Buick championed advanced concepts that led to Buick’s “valve-in-head” engine design. It won races by delivering greater power than more common and traditional designs. Buick Motor Company became the cornerstone of General Motors and changed the course of automotive history. Come celebrate the 120th anniversary of Buick when you visit The Amelia this year.
From the 908/02 that clinched Porsche’s first World Championship, the International Championship of Makes of 1969, to the dominant 917/30—the most powerful circuit-racing car even built—Porsche’s fiberglass-bodied Spyders made history and rewrote the record books. Check out the collection featured at The Amelia on Sunday.
For more information and a complete schedule, and to purchase tickets for their various events, visit The Amelia’s website at www.ameliaconcours.com. You’ll find the most up-to-date announcements about the 2023 show, as well as what has happened over The Amelia Concours d’Elegance’s past 27 years. Since 1996, The Amelia has featured some very significant cars, drivers, and concepts. Feel free to go back in time to relive the highlights!