BAY COUNTRY REGION, AACA

 

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HISTORY

 

 

In the early 1980's increasing numbers of local residents were searching for and buying cars related to their youth. Cars like their parents or grandparents had driven, their first owned cars (or the ones they really wished they could have owned) were now available, in restorable condition, priced within their means. As the hobby grew, some became members of antique car clubs in Salisbury, MD or Washington, D.C.

In 1984, Bob Prouse drove his 1921 Model T touring car from Federalsburg, MD to the World Trade Center, New York City. There he joined a tour commemorating the 75th anniversary of the First Cross Country Race--from New York to Seattle, Washington. Two Model T Fords participating in the 1909 race successfully completed the entire trip. Many entrants did not complete the trip due to bad roads and breakdowns. The 1984 tour went from New York City to Detroit, where they joined the Annual Tour. After completing the Annual Tour, they drove on to Seattle. The return trip was by a slightly different route, for a total of 7,000 miles. Bob thought that the Model T's could go anywhere if they were maintained.

Such feats gained in popularity and the number of antique car buffs in the area soared. A group of men began to discuss the possibility of forming a "Mid-Shore" club. Under the pioneering leadership of Don Brown, Bobby Faulkner, Lee Gillis, Jules Grau, Jim Jones, Jim Mielke, David North, Adam Quick, Jack Weaver and Woody Woodson, public meetings were held at Hog Neck Community center to test the degree of interest. Those gathered said--let's go for it and get chartered by the Antique Automobile Club of America.

Bay Country received its AACA charter in 1985. The Eastern Shore Region AACA Club from Salisbury was our sponsoring Club.

Our first Fall Meet was held October 1985 at Martingham's Harbourtowne Inn along the banks of the Miles River. When expansion of their facilities took over our show field, we moved our show to the Miles River Yacht Club through the 1996 show. Today, our show is held on the grounds of The Inn at Perry Cabin, continuing our unique appeal of staying on the water, being within walking proximity to St. Michaels, the Maritime Museum, and charming shops.

Antique cars come from the surrounding five state area. Many are very unusual cars, rarely seen except at car shows. There cars will be polished to perfection, with wheels and chrome glistening in the sunlight. Registered and assigned their aisle for judging, the cars bring back memories of the past as we go throughout the show field to pick our personal favorites. Show chairman Fred Connolly Jr. and his capable staff are already hard at work putting the wheels in motion to have our usual excellent car show.

In 1989 our first Winter Parts Meet was held at Caroline County 4-H Park near Denton, under the leadership of Woody Woodson. Current leaders are Ollie Smith and Joe Glime. Our enthusiastic volunteers, headed by Bob and Cathy Prouse, provide breakfast and light lunch. Our fifteenth show will be held at Sailwinds Park, Cambridge, MD on January 25, 2003.

Bus trips to Bird-in-Hand, Intercourse, PA, Railroad Museum, Baltimore's Inner harbor, White Post Restoration Shop, Luray Caverns, Smithsonian Institute, and Sugar Loaf Mountain Flea Market (with a side trip for antique shopping) have been well attended.

We have driven our antique cars aboard ferry boats traveling from Oxford to Bellevue, MD, Lewes, DE to Cape May, NJ and Woods Hole to Martha's Vineyard, MA.

Local "Poker Runs" and tours to Cape May, NJ; Gettysburg and Lancaster County, PA; Chincoteague and Winchester VA; Harpers Ferry, WV; Westminster, Crisfield and Tangier Island, Hoopers Island and Southern Maryland have given us lots of pleasure as we drove our wonderful old cars along the scenic back roads and enjoyed the admiring smiles and thumbs up along the way.

We display our cars at celebrations, festivals, bridge openings, parades, and other civic affairs. Club outings to area Nursing Homes are always happy events. As we show off our pride and joy, the patients share with us their experiences of driving these cars when they were new.

Members have enjoyed the companionship and interest in our hobby when we participate in National and Regional antique car tours and meets throughout the country. The hub-type tours have a central headquarters, where the antique cars begin and end their daily runs. a typical tour day is 85 to 140 miles, round trip, with stops to visit museums, historic landmarks, scenic mountain overlooks, points of interest, and options to shop for antiques and bargains at malls.

Years later, Bob Prouse still believed his Model T would go anywhere. so he drove it to Florida and back and then to Kentucky and back. Only a few of us drive our cars to tours that are hundreds of miles from home. Instead, most of us trailer our cars to the tour areas, joining other hobbyists at the tour site. Some of our most recent touring has taken place in Florida, West Virginia, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York and Georgia.

As co-sponsors of the 1993 Delmarva Glidden Tour, our club proved what a small club of active members can accomplish.

It's a great club, sharing information, pursuing restoration and showing antique cars. We are proud of our accomplishments and hope to remain active for many years.

                                                                By Peggy Frampton