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.
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