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Hagerty Acquires Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

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Bill Bortzfield
/
WJCT News
A crowd admires the 1961 Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier-based van prototype/concept/dream car during the 2021 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.

Hagerty announced Wednesday it has acquired the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, one of the country’s premiere automotive events.

The classic car insurance company is taking over the event from Bill Warner, who founded the concours in 1996.

“Our objective is to knit the enthusiast community together in a way that supports and protects the future of car culture,” said McKeel Hagerty. “Amelia Island is synonymous with 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.” 

Under Warner’s guidance The Amelia has raised more than $4 million for area charities, including Community Hospice & Palliative Care.

Hagerty, historically a major sponsor of many automotive events, has been recently acquiring a host of premiere events around the country, including Concours d’Elegance of America, the California Mille and the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance.

Hagerty spokesman Kevin Fisher explained to WJCT News how the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance will be structured under the new ownership. "The events that have joined our portfolio are joining a for profit entity. And then of course, they each have either an existing charitable arm that continues, or the charitable arm gets folded into Hagerty's charitable giving."

Fisher noted that Hagerty currently supports the Hagerty Drivers Foundation, which aims to preserve automotive culture and education. "We've taken 28 historically relevant, classic cars in American history, and registered them with something called the National Historic Register. And that's an entity that lives in the Library of Congress."

The primary charities The Amelia currently supports are: Community Hospice & Palliative Care, Spina Bifida of Jacksonville and Shops with Cops. The Amelia has donated over $3.75 million to Community Hospice & Palliative Care since its inception.

Because details of the transition are still being finalized, Fisher couldn't immediately confirm whether there would be changes to the charities list that The Amelia currently supports, but did say: "It is our belief that by running the Concours as a for-profit endeavor, the charities will actually see more support than ever."

McKeel Hagerty echoed that sentiment. "We also have a national and global charity and philanthropic effort around the automotive world that's larger than what the Amelia Island Councours traditionally has done in the past."

In all, Hagerty takes part in more than 2,500 car events annually, with McKeel Hagerty stressing just how prominent The Amelia is. “The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is one of most important car shows, car events, lifestyle automotive events, in the entire circuit of automotive events around the world.”

McKeel Hagerty told WJCT News the things that people expect from The Amelia will stay the same and that his group will be looking to extend the love of automobiles and automotive history. "You know, engaging, schools, engaging other parts of the local car community, all different aspects of it to keep making it really more of a festival in a sense."

McKeel Hagerty said the popular free Cars & Coffee at the Concours Saturday event that features local classics will also be back. Although, it might be somewhat different given its local organizers are also in the midst of a transition unrelated to Hagerty.

The local Cars & Coffee team has teamed with suburban Atlanta's Cafeine & Octaine and are currently rebranding.  The first Caffeine & Octane Jacksonville is scheduled July 10 at The Avenues mall

The 27th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will take place March 3-6, 2022 and remain at the Ritz-Carlton. The 2022 field will have more than 250 classic, "historically relevant" vehicles, according to organizers. 

Warner still stay on as chairman emeritus. McKeel Hagerty said his company is working with The Amelia’s existing operations team to expand the annual event and they have been offered positions with Hagerty.

Fisher does not anitcipate any significant change to The Amelia's ticket prices, which for 2021 were $125 for early general admission and $150 day of the show at the gate.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.