Winners of the 2015 Ponte Vedra Auto Show will be selected by a panel of 15 judges. The judges this year represent auto enthusiasts, collectors and experts from around the First Coast. Get to know your 2015 judging panel!
Larry Weisman (Head Judge) — Weisman holds a BS in Aeronautical Engineering, is a financial advisor and a self-described car nut. “From the age of five, anything with four wheels got my attention,” Weisman said. Weisman worked in flight test on commercial and military aircraft, and 21 years ago became a financial advisor. Just over 10 years ago, Weisman owned an interest in an automotive performance and restoration shop here in Jacksonville. Weisman has owned over 50 cars and currently has a Grand Sport Corvette and a Mustang SVO. Weisman has been sponsoring and volunteering with the Ponte Vedra Auto Show for 10 years and is Chief Judge.
Bob Barren — Born and raised in Jacksonville, Barren has been a member of the Florida Crown Region and Porsche Club of America (PCA) for nearly 20 years. Barren volunteers for club races at Roebling Road, Daytona and Sebring and has participated in many PCA Concours events at the local, regional and national levels. Barren serves on the Board of Directors for Florida Crown Region and has served on the national staff of PCA as a Zone 12 representative for the state of Florida. Barrne also volunteers at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, including volunteering as a co-chair for several years.
Glen Branch — Branch is from Blackpool England where he built and raced dragsters. Branch has worked for TVR Engineering on their sports cars, and came to America with TVR in 1985. In the 1990s, Branch worked with Mercedes and Jaguar. He has also been a designer and builder with Kit Cars. Branch says that he has been in the car business in one way or another for at least 40 years, and he is also an experienced motorcycle rider.
Jimmy Britts — Supporting the Navy at NAS JAX is what Britts does when he is not “playing with cars.” Britts is a past ARCA racecar driver, chassis builder and painter. Britts is the main racecar mover at the Amelia Island Concours, and he has been judging with the Ponte Vedra Auto Show for two years.
John Duss — Duss, another original founder of the Amelia Concours, has served as a chief judge of the motorcycle category. He has been an active motorcyclist for over 40 years, owning numerous marques, participating in several clubs and is a member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. Automobiles as a hobby span the same period with a particular affection for Alfa Romeo. His racing enthusiasm extends from Formula 1 to sprint cars and everything in between. In addition to serving on the foundation board, Duss serves as foundation attorney.
Mike Ferran — Ferran has been repairing, modifying and restoring vehicles professionally for 40 years. He is an ASE Master Technician and has owned Ferran Automotive since 1991. Although he currently owns a Ferrari Challenge Stradale, Ferran says he loves anything with wheels.
Steve Giambra — It all started for Giambra when he bought his first car in high school, a 1956 Corvette. Fifty years later, after a long search, Giambra was able to relive the dream by purchasing another ‘vette like the one he had in high school. Steve collects American, American Muscle and British Sports cars and has been a judge for the past four years.
Mark Laszlo — Laszlo describes himself as a “lifelong car nut” and states that the Porsche is his favorite Marque. Although Laszlo has owned 18 Porsches in the past 45 years, he has an affinity for Mopars and GTO’s and has been judging at various shows since 1972.
Dick Messer — For 12 years, until June 2010, Messer was Executive Director at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Located in Los Angeles, California, the museum is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious automotive museums. Messer, a life-long car collector who is well connected in the collector car community, was the first to hold the Museum Director post.
Ken Perry — Perry is currently at IT project manager at Landstar System Inc. Perry owns a 2003 Boxster S and is on the board of PCA. Perry currently serves as chief judge at the Festival of Speed, and this is Perry’s second year judging with the Ponte Vedra Auto Show.
Mike Ross — Ross holds a mechanical engineering degree from General Motors Institute and attended the Harvard Business School. As an executive with GM from the late 50s to the late 90s, Ross was the head of the Fisher Body Division Operations, which consisted of 28 plants and 100,000 employees. In the 80s, Ross moved to Europe to become the head of Passenger Car Europe (Opel and Vauxhall) Operations, whose volume at the time was 1.6 million units and 100,000 employees. Ross returned to the United States to head up Truck Group Operations, launching the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon before retiring. Ross and his wife, Janet, live on the Intracoastal Waterway in Ponte Vedra Beach, and is famous for wining car of the year in 1984 with the Opel Kadett.
Mark Sellers — Sellers moved to St. Johns County from Atlanta, GA, in August 2014. One of his first events in Florida was last year’s Ponte Vedra Auto Show! After the move, Sellers transferred his Porsche Club of America regional affiliation from the Peachstate Region in Atlanta to the Florida Crown Region. At the first FCR social he attended, Sellers met Bill Hughes. “As Bill and I got acquainted, the subject of my concours involvement came up,” Sellers said. “Bill told me, ‘We’re going to put you to work next year.’” Sellers has been a member of the Porsche Club of America for 20 years, is a former Concours Chairman of Atlanta’s Peachstate Region and is a longtime participant in Porsche Concours events. Sellers has been a PCA judge at the regional level for many years, and received his Parade Judging certification (PCA National level) in 2010. Over that time, Sellers has owned five Porsches. One of his prior cars was the highest scoring at the PCA’s Savannah Parade event in 2011, and Sellers has been Peachstate’s annual overall champion five times (2001, 2004, 2011, 2012 and 2013). Sellers has also been invited to participate in the Hilton Head Motoring Festival for the last two years and the Amelia Island Concours Cars & Coffee event in 2014 with his current Porsche, a 911 Turbo.
Dan Scanlan — A 28-year resident of Jacksonville, Dan Scanlan has worked in local television and radio, handled election campaign advertising accounts for a circuit court judge and a clerk of court race and opened a local comedy club before coming to the Florida Times-Union 20 years ago. He is married with one son, and is active in church and community activities. Scanlan is the main contributor to the Wheels section of the Jacksonville TU.
AJ Tasker — Tasker is an attorney at law specializing in criminal DUI. Tasker owns a 5.0 Mustang, the eleventh Mustang that he has owned. Tasker is a member of the First Coast Modified Mustang Club and has been judging with the Ponte Vedra Auto Show for the past 5 years.
Bill Warner — Bill Warner is founder of The Amelia Concours d’Elegance, chairman of the Amelia Foundation and also serves as president of his own business, H. C. Warner, Inc., an industrial filtration company. He also owns and operates Bill Warner Racing. He won the 2002 Meguiar’s Award for Collector Car Hobby Person of the Year. Known as the ‘Oscar’ of car collecting, this award recognizes those who make a significant contribution to the quality, visibility and growth of classic car collecting. The Foundation established by Warner has donated over $2 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Spina Bifida of Jacksonville, Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, Shop with Cops and other charities since he founded The Amelia 17 years ago.
For his efforts, he has been recognized as the 1997 Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year by the National Society of Fundraising Enterprises, one of the 1999 12 Who Care in the Jacksonville Community, and he is the recipient of the 2001 Frank W. Sherman Award presented by the Rotary Club of South Jacksonville for exemplary community service.
—Compiled by Kelly H. McDermott