Michael G. Tillson III, Chairman and Founder
The career of Michael Tillson’s grandfather spanned two eras – although he was deeply involved in horse transportation, he also entered the automobile business. In the next generation, Michael’s father extended the family’s involvement in the world of cars. Michael G. Tillson III, today one of the most highly regarded authorities in the country on classic and sports cars as well as a lover of fine horses, began his career ferrying cars from one of his father’s facilities to another – at the age of 12.
The world of very special and exotic cars opened when Michael became associated with the Derham Body Company of Rosemont, Pennsylvania – a firm that had crafted the finest custom bodies for chassis supplied by manufacturers such as Packard, Cadillac and Duesenberg. During Mike’s tenure, Derham was still hand-crafting custom work for clients on Philadelphia’s famed Main Line as well as armor-plating limousines for diplomats and dictators.
For Michael Tillson, it was then on to the position of service manager for the legendary Ferrari dealer, Algar of Rosemont. Tillson’s encyclopedic knowledge of Ferraris and Alfa Romeos owes much to this experience. By now, he had entered another phase of the automotive scene – he had become a serious and respected sports car racer, appearing regularly on the SCCA and IMSA tracks. He burned rubber at Daytona, Sebring, and Lime Rock as well as courses in Mexico and Canada. Among his treasured memories of this period are the races where he was co-driver with such legends of the track as Innes Ireland, Al Holbert, and Bruce Jennings.
In 1997, Michael decided to bring together two of his great loves – classic cars and the world of horses and fox hunting – by staging a benefit Concours d’Elegance at the Radnor Hunt in the rolling country of Chester County, Pennsylvania. In a way, this is a happy synthesis of the two passions that have characterized three generations of the Tillson family – Michael is a governor of the Hunt and an avid horseman. Since then, the Concours has continued to grow and is now a recognized prestige event that showcases the most elegant Packard, Cadillac, Du Pont, Bentley, Duesenberg, Rolls-Royce and Mercedes Benz automobiles from around the nation. The sporting marques that have graced the show field include Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Porsche. His hard work and dedication have produced an event that brings great pleasure to many classic car enthusiasts and has resulted in significant gifts to various charities and, for the past several years, has focused on Thorncroft Equestrian Center and the local troops of the Boy Scouts.