Three local auto enthusiasts share their passion for the hobby.
Bluffton resident Kara Fortney has lived in the area since 1991. She is one of three committee members for Women Driving America, an organization focused on creating more opportunities for females interested in vehicles.
Q: How did you get involved in collecting cars? A: I have always loved cars. Growing up, I was the only girl with car posters and model cars. Everyone else had pop stars on their walls. I learned to drive on an old airport road that curved in and angled like a race track. My dad taught me when to accelerate and when to brake, as if we were racing. It was so much fun. I was hooked!
Q: What do you love most about the hobby? A: I love the lines of a car, the art of the design, the sound of a motor and the feel of acceleration. I love attending car shows and events, seeing beautiful cars, meeting wonderful people and hearing their car stories.
Q: How are you involved with Women Driving America? A: Women Driving America began as a category at the HHI Concours in 2019. We are working to expand and welcome more women each year. I am part of a three-person advisory committee.
Q: What are the goals of Women Driving America? A: Our goal is to promote and encourage camaraderie among women automotive enthusiasts by bringing women together to share their automotive interest and raise money for the HHI Concours Charitable Fund. We are not a car club; events held by Women Driving America will promote participation in local car clubs and enhance the experience. Our events are designed to bring women together to share in their automotive interests while raising money for the advancement of women and automotives, whether car collecting, automotive design, racing or any other interactions.
Q: Have you shown any cars at the Concours? A: I have shown our 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle and Mercedes C43 Coupe.
Q: What do you love most about the event? A: The Lowcountry venue is beautiful, and it is my home event. When friends show their cars at the Hilton Head Island Concours d’ Elegance, they are coming to my home, the Lowcountry!
Beaufort resident Gordon King recently moved to the area from Charleston. He has been involved with the Concours since its inception and is a member of the Selection Committee.
Q: What cars have you shown at the event? A: I have shown several, most recently our 1930 Bentley 4 1/2 liter. I have also shown a Ford GT, a BMW Z8, a Ford GT40 and a Porsche 356.
Q: What was your first car? A: A 1934 Morris Roadster
Q: What car do you love the most? A: It would have to be the Bentley 41/2
Q: What do you love most about the Concours? A: The people, both the organizers and the attendees and the atmosphere. Hilton Head is unique in its warm southern hospitality and inclusiveness. Everyone is very approachable.
Bluffton resident Peter Brown has been involved with the Concours since moving to the area in 2016. He is a member of the Selection Committee.
Q: How are the cars selected? A: The Selection Committee approves the cars that apply. We do get an overabundance, so we need to methodically weed out some of the applications.
Q: How does the process work? A: Most of the criteria involves the overall condition of the vehicle, which includes outward appearance, interior workmanship, engine compartment details and originality. How it came from the factory when it was produced.
Q: What have been your favorite vehicles at the event over the years? A: ’50s and ’60s cars.
Q: Have you shown any cars at the event? A: I have shown a car every year. In order of appearance: 1954 Hudson Convertible, 1977 AMC Matador Barcelona, 1964 Chrysler Imperial convertible, 1950 Chevrolet convertible and most recently a 1957 Ford Convertible. The year before last there was a terrible rain storm, so I chose not to show the car.
Q: You recently sold a 1954 Hudson? A: I had owned the Hudson for 23 years and enjoyed every moment during that time. It is by far and away the most original Hudson convertible in the country with everything original from the factory which includes the paint, interior, engine compartment and convertible top. At this point in my life, I just simply wanted a more modern vehicle that I could drive longer distances to shows.
Q: What do you love most about the Concours? A: The one thing that I enjoy most about the meet is the quality of cars that we get for the event. The condition of the vehicles is exceptional.