An open letter to members and friends
By Douglas D. Drake
I enthusiastically write this message to you to tell you that this year has been exciting, active, and very rewarding. With just six months gone I have enjoyed six National Meets and two tours. Each has resulted in the meeting of new friends, provided the chance to see a number of interesting and different vehicles that I have never seen before, and see the early successes of many of the new programs that AACA launched this year.
My wife Joyce and I have been able to travel in the last six months to four sides of the country, from California to coastal Northern Neck area of Virginia, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and from the Florida area to Rochester, Minnesota, and many states between. We are fortunate to have this great country to roam freely and be blessed with such great scenery and friends.
AACA is alive and well with very exciting things happening.
In closing I want to say touring in AACA has been an overwhelming success this year. Each tour has been filled to capacity this year and the upcoming Founders and Glidden tours are also filled to capacity. A new Divisional Tour coined as the "Sentimental Tour" for cars from 1928 to 1958 was a huge success and some Regions have already chosen a similar classification for their tours in 2002. Yes, AACA is alive and well and I am proud to be a part of this premier club of the world.
By Earl D. Beauchamp, Jr.
During my 62 years, I've tried all sorts of hobbies and avocations that have included ham radio, electric trains, and coin collecting, in addition to antique automobiles. I mean no harm, but I've never found the same ambiance in any other groups I've belonged that I've found in the antique auto clubs. Only in antique automobile clubs have I seen the joining in friendship of doctors and carpenters, lawyers and plumbers, politicians and salesmen, without any consideration of position in life. Antique automobiles bring all together as equals in friendship. That never ceases to amaze me. So then, I say, why not get the most out of this by being active in your local Region or Chapter? There are always some in a local group who are organizers, writers, and visionaries. Some will be followers, but if they're encouraged to participate, they make the activities of the overall club successful for the organizers. If you tend to be a follower make an effort to compliment the organizers, the editor and the visionary. That makes them feel good and they deserve your appreciation.
Also however, if you tend to be a follower, be thinking about something you can do for your fellow club members during the year. Maybe you can park cars at a show, or direct traffic during a tour, or carve the meat at the club picnic. Everybody can do something and your contribution will help, as well as help keep the organizers from feeling abused. The most beneficial thing you can do, though, is to attend functions with your collector vehicle any time you can.
A young member of our Region said to me once, "But Earl, not everybody is as into the cars as you are." That's true, but at. the same time a person doesn't have the old car unless they are "into the old car to some degree." The best way in the world to avoid "cabin fever" and enjoy your car is to get out and "kick tires" with others who like old cars. It's a great way to pass an afternoon, and you just might make a new friend, maybe even a lifelong friend.
I became interested in cars as a child, when I cut out "paper cars" from Life, Look, National Geographic and other magazines. My boyhood friend, John Dunbar, now of the Saginaw Valley Region, and I had big boxes of "paper cars." When John became 16 he bought a '53 Ford, but I never quite grew up, I guess. I bought a '39 Buick and only "modernized" with the encouragement of a girlfriend. Girlfriend gone, I met my wife, and a week after we married I got another '39 Buick with $40 of our current $45 savings.
I had no idea of any clubs in 1959 and my dad insisted I would "never amount to anything" so long as I "fooled with old cars." That made it hard. It was me against the world, so to speak. I heard of the AACA in 1959, but didn't figure out how to join until 1962 when I was 23 and had moved to a Baltimore suburb. Baltimore was a new place and we didn't know a soul.
I found AACA's Hershey address in a library book and wrote. They put me in contact with a local Chevrolet dealer service writer and I joined. I also joined the Chesapeake Region and began a lifelong string of friendships and accomplishments. This brought a real enjoyment to me with my love of the old cars, especially those that were new when I was cutting out "paper cars." One of those lifelong friends introduced us to Hershey in 1963 and each year since, excepting 1965, we've gone, and nothing has compared to the experience. Another couple, Bob & Kathy Parks, have shared all sorts of experiences over these many years, from raising children to helping move, to enjoying New Years Eve. Forty years of friendship found in AACA.
The Chesapeake Region is a large, active Region formed in 1955. There were many car shows, Christmas parties for our children, and finally two National Meets. These events introduced Judy and me to friends and enjoyment we'd otherwise never have known. Yes, I said Judy. My wife has always been a full partner in the old car hobby. Including your wife is, I believe, the most important part of achieving the greatest enjoyment from this hobby.
As we've moved south I chaired a National Meet by the National Capital Region, and finally organized a new Northern Neck Region down in my home state of Virginia. In 2001 that Region sponsored the Eastern Divisional Tour.
After the children were grown, and I retired, Judy and I began traveling, another passion of ours. We've traveled with AACA; making friends all over the United States. We've offered our home and been offered lodging by other members from California to Florida. Now our hobby had grown to more than just an old car or a restoration, but into a string of friendships that have eclipsed all of our other contacts throughout our 42 years of marriage. And so, we grew up with AACA. If you're a younger member, think about that. Think about building lifelong friendships that will carry you on into your later years. You can do that in AACA. It's not just the cars you'll see; it's the people you'll meet. You can even find AACA folks to solve other of life's problems, and know you're in good hands. In Baltimore we found our dentist, in Virginia we found our siding contractor, and later our ophthalmologist, to say nothing of a great body & fender man and painter. It's all here in your local club. Don't "miss the boat" by being a "stay‑at‑home". Get out and meet people!
So in conclusion, AACA membership doesn't mean just a place to "show" an old car, or acquire insurance for your car show, or a place where there are organizational rules to be followed. It is a place to form friendships for life. Now that's something to think about, don't you think?
Hints and tips applicable to a local or national tour
By Terry Bond
No doubt about it, AACA touring is becoming more popular each season. Most Regions and Chapters have some kind of tour during the year, whether it's a small local trip into the countryside, or a big National Tour like the Founders or Glidden. Either way, you need to keep in mind that there are some important Rules of the Road that should be followed for your safety, as well as for the general public.
Foremost in your mind should be that you represent our hobby. When you are out on the highways, you will be noticed. Will you be greeted with a cheer and a wave or with a dirty look/gesture signifying "get outa my way!"? Courtesy pays, so be accommodating to the general public. Be cautions too. They may want a closer look at your cars and might just cause a hazardous situation by trying to watch you instead of the road. Expect anything! Anticipate everything!
Hopefully, the routes you've selected will take you away from mainstream traffic. Sometimes however, even getting to those back roads can present a challenge.
Local police involvement can be a big help when departing on your tour. Police assistance in exiting a motel or restaurant parking lot can get things off to a good start.
I recommend a "driver's meeting" before you actually begin. At that meeting, you can review directions, point out any last minute changes, and discuss these "Rules of the Road."
Printed directions are a necessity. Designate a finishing point and a time to be there so anyone who gets lost can at least rejoin the group in time for dinner. It's advisable to include such information as cumulative mileage totals, and average travel time between various points. This will help folks know where they are and when they should find landmarks and stopping points along the way. Ensure everyone understands your directions and how you indicate turns, etc.
The use of cellular phones makes things quite easy. You should include the tour leader, trouble truck (if applicable) a "home base" and the finishing point numbers on your printed instructions. Small, inexpensive two‑way radios are becoming increasingly popular for use along the tour itself and are an ideal substitute for conventional "CB" radios.
For a local tour there should be a designated Tour Lead Vehicle, and on all tours a designated "sweep vehicle" to bring up the rear. At a National Tour this will probably be a truck or truck and trailer. For a local tour it is normally just a designated member.
A couple of important things to remember and share with everyone at the driver's meeting:
Keep in mind that this is not a complete list. It is just some simple rules to help ensure safety for participants and the public alike. I'm certain there are many more "Rules of the Road" depending on the nature of any individual tour. Often the rules you establish will take into account the roads, terrain, traffic, and even the kind of tour you are running. Hopefully, there will be a few spots along the highway where you can see that impressive sight of dozens of beautiful antique cars, one after another, strung out along a quiet country road. By keeping up the pace, maintaining a reasonable distance, paying attention to your directions and planning ahead you will have an enjoyable and safe tour. I invite experienced tour organizers and participants to share their own favorite "Rules of the Road" by contacting me. We'll add to this list again in the future, and may even prepare it as a small pamphlet to hand out on the tours. In the near future watch for a brand new AACA publication, the AACA Tour Brochure. It is a counterpart to the AACA Exhibitor's Brochure and will describe the kinds of tours AACA has to offer, how to register and what to expect. Best wishes for safe, enjoyable AACA touring.
By Howard J. Finney
There are many elements that go into hosting an excellent national tour. First and foremost your Region/Chapter must be committed to the task and a Chairperson chosen who wants the leadership role. You cannot arm twist a person to take the job.
The first issue is to determine where and what areas and attractions you wish to tour and visit. The tour chairpersons must be willing to run their tours, as many times as is necessary to ensure that there are no glitches. All tours must be run a few days before the start of the scheduled tour to ensure that there are no last minute snags. Coffee, lunch and dinner stops must be planned (if they are to be part of the tour). It's a bonus if a coffee or lunch stop is at an attraction that is of interest to all. It is very important that all attractions be of interest to the majority of the tour members.
Meetings must be held on a regular basis (at least once a month) with an agenda to ensure all areas are addressed and are accounted for. No details should be overlooked. At all stops it is advisable to have members or other Region members on hand to direct parking and any other areas of concerns. All committee members should be highly visible, for example by wearing special vests, shirts, hats, etc. All stops should have adequate parking. All tickets required should be presented to the participants in an orderly manner with dates, times and attractions and should be color coded if practical.
Check‑ins must be user friendly and the hospitality (desk) should be manned as necessary and have designated hours of operation. Parking at the host hotel/motel should be secure and adequate to provide ample room between cars. Badges can be simple but need to be readable at a respectable distance. All tour maps and mileage pages should be accurate and take into consideration all optional tours. The tour booklet should include all the necessary information of all attractions on tour.
All meal menus should have a minimum number of choices taking into consideration the likes and dislikes of most people. Cost of meals must be kept reasonable and children's costs kept at $10 or less.
All sub‑committees should be given the freedom to organize their responsibilities as long as they fit with all other committees.
Direction signs are very important and should be placed at strategic turns every morning prior to the start of the day's tour to ensure there are no car problems. The chase vehicle can also retrieve the direction signs for use the next day. Call phone numbers of the chase vehicle and key committee members should be given to all participants.
The opening banquet's primary purpose is to introduce the participants to the tour committees. All last minute changes (if any) can be communicated at that time. The closing banquet is the wrap‑up of your successful tour, so make sure your speaker is light and breezy and the food is good. That helps send everyone away with a happy and satisfied feeling.
Reflections of a longtime tourist
Have you ever volunteered to plan and host a day or an overnight tour for your region, then wondered how to begin to get the job done? Have you ever found yourself in a long, slow caravan of your fellow antiquers and wished you could break out and go at your own speed in order to see the sights instead of the tailpipe ahead of you? In this short article we hope to give you some tips for putting on a happy and safe tour, be it short or long.
There are three main components of a good tour:
All three are equally important to give your tourists a safe and pleasant trip.
Your first task is to decide where you would like to go and which roads would be best to get you there. Traffic and road conditions are top considerations. Interstate highways and construction zones are to be avoided.
Whether you are going for a day or for a week, each day has the same demands: food/ pit stops and interesting things to see, either by stopping to investigate or by visually exploring from your vehicle.
Run the proposed route, preferably with a partner. See where you and your passenger need food and restroom stops ‑ your future tourists will have similar needs. (Maybe your destination is for the evening meal. In that case you would want to time your lunch stop with that in mind.)
Explore the area on your own and get a rough idea of how long it takes to get from place to place. Keep in mind the age and comfortable speed of the majority of your members' cars.
Then, possibly another day, trace the route, accurately noting mileage between turns, between stops, between signs and landmarks. (Landmarks are most important when, there are longer distances between turns to give reassurance to the drivers that they're on the right road. These could be buildings, signs, funny mailboxes, unusual houses, etc.) All this is preparing you to devise explicit directions for your tourists to follow. You may include a map with the route highlighted, if you think it might be helpful.
If you have access to a tour book from any national AACA tour, you could easily find some successful ways to produce your own mini tour book. Yours can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it. Your participants should be able to take your tour all alone and not get lost. You might also point out interesting facts about the area relating to history, scenic spots, shopping, etc. There may be so much to see that you could give information on several optional stops, as each carload may have different interests. (Of course, much of this info about the area highlights may be unnecessary if all tourists are familiar with the area and the route.)
Using your good directions, it shouldn't be necessary for everyone to drive together and stop together. The tourists could decide for themselves where to stop along the way. However, they do need to be informed about specific times they must arrive at designated locations, if any. And, above all, try not to pack too much activity into the day so that your tourists feel rushed. It's supposed to be FUN!
TOUR DRIVING TECHNIQUES
Safety for both your tourists and the general public should be foremost in your planning. You should include some "rules of the road" in your tour sheet/booklet, and have a drivers' meeting before heading out on your trip. Here are some good tips for you to apply to your own tour situation:
Touring is one of the most visible ways to show our interest in and respect for our antique vehicles and our hobby. It's also one of the most fun! We represent AACA on these outings, and we can therefore be goodwill ambassadors for our organization. Who knows ‑ we might even find new members along the way.
We wish you many enjoyable and safe tours with your friends, and hope you have found information in this dissertation to help you make it so.
So You Really want to plan a tour?
Reprinted from ANTIQUE AUTOMOBILE March-April 1962
You may think this is an amusing story?
The Westchester Region activities committee was arranging to lay out a road run recently and was trying to accomplish the plan during the evening hours. Starting at 7 p.m., they were driving through an exclusive section and became lost. They parked at an intersection and were looking for street signs with a flashlight when an unmarked car pulled in front blocking them, and a man got out identifying himself as a Harrison, New York detective. They were told to keep quiet and he would ask all the questions. Another car arrived, a police car, blocking the committee's car from the rear. The wife of the committee member reached into her purse for a cigarette and a police officer jumped to the side of the car thrusting a gun through the window. No explanation of the committee would satisfy the police that they were about the legitimate business of planning a regional activity and were trying to map out the course. They were taken to the police station. They were told that they fit the description of persons involved in an armed robbery in Portchester and would not be released until the Portchester police had checked out their stories and identity. After many hours of questioning, they were released and escorted by the police back to the intersection to pick up the trail for the region's run.
It was later determined that a false story had been reported about the robbery to cover the "victim's" own shortage. The description given to the police fitted the car, make and color, plus occupants, but had been pulled out of thin air.
AACA unveils student membership program
By John L. Walker
A few years ago, AACA had started a new type of membership that accepted and promoted our young. It was called the "Junior Membership" of AACA. We originally accepted young persons from the age of 8 through 15. After a short time, we expanded this program to accept all young people through the age of 15. Now, new for this year, we have yet another type of membership. This new membership is called the AACA "Student Membership". This is another type of membership that is specifically designed to target our young. This membership accepts the young people from the ages of 16 through 25. There is just one prerequisite for this membership; the person must be attending school. The cost of this membership is $12.00 per calendar year. All the student needs to apply, is a student I.D. to process their membership at this rate each year they remain in school. This entitles the young member to full membership privileges as well as a senior member. It means that the student member has the right to vote in annual board elections, receives the six AACA magazines, and is also able to enter the judging system.
We feel that this new type of membership will bring some new light to us at AACA. There are many young car enthusiasts that spend much of their time reading automobile magazines in the school libraries. It was not very long ago, that 1, myself was in my high school library reading a "Hot Rod" magazine. If I had a chance, or had been informed of the AACA, I would have joined immediately for the reduced rate. The future is now at hand and we should accept our young into our hobby. Someday the torch must be passed to ensure an infinite life of AACA.
The AACA also realized the importance of a higher education in today's world. To keep up with the rest of the world, we must promote the highest level of education to our young. Even today in the automobile world, an experienced or educated person is required to solve the problems of these new vehicles. Many computer chips and microprocessors run the cars of today. The cars of today are much more sophisticated than cars of just twenty years ago. It is virtually impossible to fix these modern cars without proper training. Many colleges are now offering much more technological field degrees with ever so increasing student population.
In closing, we hope to attract this new field of new AACA members to join in our fun with our fantastic hobby.