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About the AACA Dixie Region

The AACA Dixie Region serves the greater Birmingham area. Regular meetings are the fourth Tuesday of the month and rotate among various locations within the metropolitan area. Special events are most often on Saturdays and generally (but not always) take the place of a regular meeting within a given month.

National AACA membership is required to be a member of the Dixie Region. National dues per year are $35, either for a single person or for joint (husband-wife) membership. Local dues are $15, either for a single person or for joint (husband-wife) membership. Total: $50 per year.
Antique car ownership is not required.

About our history

The Dixie Region traces its history to Sept. 25, 1966, when a charter application was filed with the national headquarters. The charter was approved and granted by the AACA national board on Oct. 15,1966. One club member currently active, Henry Books, was part of that original group which listed Joseph R. Hamilton, director (president); James D. Marlar, assistant director; William Gains, secretary; and Joe T. George, treasurer.

Club records from 1966 to 1970 are missing, but it is known that much of the history of this period was intertwined with the Dixie Vintage Automobile Club. There was disagreement about the need to belong to the national organization and ultimately the Dixie Vintage group went its own way.

A time of revitalization

Revitalization of the club as an official organization of the AACA began in 1970, but a document from July 23,1971, suggests the Dixie Region still needed to perfect its charter with adoption of by-laws.

Officers selected on that date included: Bill Kinsalow, director; Fred Headrick, assistant director; William Gaines, secretary; and Arthur Bolton, treasurer (still active today). There were 28 members in good standing on July 23, 1971. Among those were Al and Margie Rosenbaum, both recently deceased.

Other "old timers" from the 1970s still active today include Ron and Liz Moore and Ernie and Ginny Gauld, among others.

At a special meeting Oct. 15,1971, by-laws were presented by the board and accepted unanimously.

The revitalized club's first official meeting was Dec. 12,1971, with a membership tea at the Roebuck Recreation Center. Regional officers/directors were presented and 26 new members were welcomed.

Some club firsts

A listing of past presidents is included elsewhere. Ernie Gauld holds the distinction of being the only president to serve three consecutive one-year terms (1981-83) and another one-year term in 1988. Three presidents, John Myer, Jim Steele, Bill Gardner and current president, Randy Phillips, served two consecutive one-year terms.

John has brought distinction to the club with service on the national AACA board (elected three times), in addition to holding several VP positions, John served as National President in 2000, the first person from our region to hold this office. Bill Gardner was elected to a three year term on the national AACA board and currently serves as Assistant Vice President of national Activities.

Arthur Bolton and Ernie Gauld, among others, have brought distinction to the club on the national judging scene.

Liz Moore has the distinction of being the first woman in the local club to show her own car.

Imogene Davis was the Dixie Region's first woman president (1984). Two others have followed, Nancy Myer in 1994 and Jan Hyche in 1996 and 2008.

Growth and change

Like any organization, the club has had its ups and downs over the years, but growth has been consistently upward and currently there are more than 60 members. In recent years, Jeff Senkbeil and Randy Phillips and others have been particularly active in recruiting new members.

The Dixie Region has hosted several invitational meetings, including national meets in 1974, 1978, 1983 and 2001. Most recently the Region hosted the 2009 Southeastern Division Spring Tour.

Consistent throughout the club's history has been a strong interest in two activities - touring and eating. Dinner meetings generally are at 5:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at a Birmingham area restaurant. These usually include an entertaining and/or informative program.

There have also been picnics and pitch-in dinners and special events such as Poker Runs. The club also has hosted informal local car shows, including several at area retirement facilities.

Some of the past annual club highlights have been Ron and Liz Moore's "Drive Through the Past" event in August at the Moore Oil Co., and Millard and Ann Young's tri-state antique vehicle gathering each September at their farm home in Piedmont, Ala.

Current club highlights include the Annual Chili Cookoff in January and the Annual Fall Foliage Tour in October.

Individually, members have shown their vehicles at special car events such as the International World of Wheels and the annual Kudzu Festival.

Tours have been many and varied, usually one­day events beginning on a Saturday morning. Popular Fall Foliage Tours have included Chehea State Park and DeSoto State Park.

Overnight tours begin, history organized

There also have been several overnight tours, with the first of these to Mentone/DeSoto State Park in October 1994 (organized by Leo & Jan Hyche). Other overnighters have included two trips to Callaway Gardens/Warm Springs, Ga., and one to Chattanooga, Tenn., among others.

In recent years, it was recognized that-with the death or non-participation of veteran members ­much of our club's history could be lost. A concentrated effort was made to appoint a club archivist and to compile our records, photos and memorabilia in one location. This came to fruition in the fall of 1998 when Jean Johnson agreed to serve as club archivist. She did a commendable and thorough job of compiling, organizing and displaying our club's past.

Keeping in touch

Club communications over the years have varied from short memos to more extensive monthly publications, starting first with Spokes and Folks (edited for many years by Al Rosenbaum) and in more recent years The Exhaust Whistle-edited by Jim and Beth Steele in 1993 and 1994 and by Jim Steele for several years.  Bob Hinds has been the editor since January 2001.Other known previous editors are Tom Kimbrough and Bill Gardner. Since 1993, The Exhaust Whistle has won three national AACA awards, an Award of Excellence and two Awards of Distinction. Beginning in the spring of 1999, the publication began more extensive use of photos, with printing/ folding done in a professional shop (instead of photo­copied and stapled). The club can now also boast of a new website associated with the AACA web site:  http://www.aaca.org/dixie.

Looking to the future

Recently the Dixie Region has grown both in numbers and vitality. Several younger folks have been among new members. And beginning in 1998, the club - on occasion - has had both a regular meeting and an outing, such as a tour, within the same month.

As we become part of a new millennium, club members can reflect on a rich and varied history while looking toward even brighter days to come.