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Winter 2004

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By David A. Berg
Vice President-Regions

I suspect about the time many of you read this we will be deep into the clutches of winter. The cars still put away but knowing that it won’t be long till they are once again gracing the highways. I can’t wait!

As my term as your VP of Regions comes to an end, I just want to take a moment and thank each and every one of you. For it is each of you that is the leadership of today, creating strength in our Regions, that will insure the future of our wonderful hobby and great organization, AACA.

Thank you for allowing me the privilege of being your Vice President of Regions.

Sincerely,
Dave Berg

 

YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD TO ENJOY AACA

By Earl D. Beauchamp, Jr.
AACA Executive Vice President

When I was a kid, I was a great baseball fan, and that lasted at least until I was twenty-something or at least until 1971 when they moved the Senators out of Washington DCm baseball and turn my interest to football and the Redskins, who lately seem to play like the Senators of old … losing too often. Anyway, as a teenager I was entranced by watching ageless players who could still beat the young up-starts. Among these old timers were pitchers Bobo Newsome and Satchel Paige. Well, one time I read where they asked Satchel Paige what allowed him to continue pitching in the Majors well into his 40’s, or possibly as late as 50 years of age. His reply was, “Never look back, because something might be catching up with you!” Somehow that statement stuck with me, and I have tried to live by that motto in my life as an old car enthusiast. Frankly, I have to think about it more and more all of the time!

Anyway, I keep hearing about the graying of our hobby. I think it was Jay Leno who first made that comment in a speech, possibly at McPherson College in Kansas, but I won’t lay my life on the line over that. There seems to be some truth creeping in around the edges doesn’t it? I read in a Region newsletter or two about that very subject just this month. There was some lamenting that folks were getting older and not getting out and participating like they used to. Well, I have to say, I think the fastest way to let that “Thing” following us, catch us, the one referred to by old Satchel Paige, is to stop and wait for it to catch up.

There’s a lot of ways to keep enjoying old cars, and get out of the house at the same time. There are so many things we can all do to stay young in our hobby. We can go to our meetings, write for our newsletters, or take a less strenuous job in our club than perhaps President or Activities Chairman. The club needs your years of experience, we need for you to tell all of the younger members of all the good times you’ve had along the way. If it’s getting too hard to shift gears, get a little “newer older car” so you can continue to participate and maybe take your spouse out for an overdue dinner and do it with the club. Perhaps you can still enjoy your older, more difficult to use car for events much closer to home. Your friends want to see you and be with you, and that’s much more important to them than the kind of car you bring to get there. All old cars, twenty-five years or more are interesting to younger people and children especially, who may never have seen them.

Keep you local club and yourself active by being active. Do what you can, encourage younger members who have any interest in old cars to enjoy the club with you, and you’ll stay young a whole lot longer. My Mom and Dad danced three nights a week until my Dad was ninety. That was their hobby and it kept them younger a whole lot longer.

Yes sir! Don’t forget what old Satchel Paige said, “Never look back, because something might be catching up with you.” Don’t let anything catch up with you. Let’s play with our old cars just as long as we can.

 

 

Hershey

By Ray Fairfield
VP Data Management

We lucked into a fantastic parking place at the Hershey Swap Meet, between the Red Field, the Chocolate Field, across from the “Hershey World” visitor center. We are at the bottom of the food chain here, with five Prevost Motorhomes parked in front of us. But we are right in the center of things and it’s a wonderful spot. The cost is $40 per night to dry camp. I wouldn’t even consider paying that anywhere else. But here it’s worth it. For there are motorhomes parked everywhere; on the swap field, on the golf course, and on the grass borders of the street. They are parked on private property where enterprising individuals are making a few bucks on the side; on school property, on Hershey Company property, on grass fields everywhere. There are motorhomes even at the AACA Museum. Everyone wants a piece of the action. Getting around is a problem. You can drive through the swap areas but you don’t want to be doing that. Too many people gathered in too tight a space. It took the better part of a day to figure out how to get in and out without being disruptive. Howsomever, the first time Kathy tried coming back in to the Red Field entrance, the guard told her where to go, but, alas, the gates were closed. So she did what she was told, continuing around the old Arena, where she came across an open gate. But this gate, unfortunately, entered into a pedestrian walking mall through a tourist area. It was late, no tourists were present, and she was a woman on a mission. She drove right through, and over the curb back into the area where the motorhome was. Works for us. Later on, we had a discussion with the security folks, and they opened the appropriate gates for the remainder of the stay. No problem.

Unlike last year, the weather was perfect this year, not a drop of rain, cool at night with warm70 degree days. We found the “stuff” to be quite expensive. Zillions of old oil bottles and oil cans. An old bottle carrier with 8 old oil bottles is now anywhere from $250 to $450, depending on how proud the seller was of his stuff. Some of the more unique bottles were going for $80 each. One set of square (really more diamond shape) “Atlantic” oil bottles, in a carrier was $1250. Nice, eh? Signs are very expensive. I found a car, a 1930 Nash President, unrestored, needing everything, for $15,000. Negotiable, of course. It had been stored for 50 years. Would have loved to have it, but maybe for 5 grand. But then, how do I get it home? Where do I put it? Where do I work on it? Where do I get the 30 grand it’s gonna take to restore it? Do I have the time and energy to do another car, from the ground up? I dunno. And then it’s worth maybe 25 grand when I’m done. Didn’t buy it, one of those rare times when logic prevailed.

How about a rusty old Model A Ford body (no frame, no fenders, no hood, no radiator, no running gear) for 6 grand? That’s nuts! I can buy a running car for that. Motor scooters were there, a few motorcycles, and lots of neat old cars on display. A bunch of Packard parts, but nothing that I don’t already have. Spares aren’t cheap, so I didn’t buy. I buy some sandpaper, buffing supplies, some wiring stuff, 12 volt lights, that sort of thing and a few oil cans and a Kendall sign. Oh yes, a wall display of radiator stop leak from the 50s. But while we were here, believe it or not, the cell phone rings and it’s a guy from San Jose (where I live), given my name by another guy who knows I have a Packard , who has a 1930 Packard he’s making into a hot rod and he wants to get rid of the running gear, engine, transmission, drive shaft and both axles. Do I know anyone who wants same? I dunno, but I sure might be interested, if the price is right. I’ll follow up on that lead when I get home.

Kathy and I went to the Amateur Talent Night on Friday night. It was fun, never went to that before. There’s a big car auction here in conjunction with the meet. I think it is Saturday night. We didn’t make that. I already told you I’m not in the market for another car. The Car Corral (cars for sale) must number a thousand cars. We looked at them but that’s it. They have a tent with a notary public in attendance. Don’t miss a beat, do they? The car show Saturday usually has 1500 cars and 500 judges. It’s a zoo. They have to pack the cars so closely together that you can’t see them. And there are so many people looking at the grilles that you can’t move. I left after two minutes. I think I’m carred out. Is “carred” a word? I dunno. But I’m carred out.

There are people everywhere. They sleep everywhere. Tuesday they all come in to set up. Some open for business, but most do not. Wednesday is a slow starter. Thursday and Friday there are swappers everywhere. After they close up for the night, about 5 PM, they build “campfires” and sit around and chat. They sleep in their pickups. They sleep in their cars. They sleep in their motorhomes. You wouldn’t believe the motorhomes that show up here; everything from the world’s best to the world’s worst, pickup campers to Prevosts. But the interesting ones are the 60s and 70s junkers, that people apparently buy just to have something to sleep in at Hershey. You know the ones I mean – the old beat up ugly duckling Winnebagos and Dodge campers and even an early Newell or two. Most of them don’t look like they could get out of their own way, but somehow they all made it here. They’re beat up, dented, peeling paint, cracked tires, faded, but they’re here. They’re parked on berms, curbs, hillsides, and irregular terrain. Some make no attempt to level. Others build make-shift ramps out of dimension lumber. We watched a guy jack up a 32 foot Bounder to try to level it. He was on a compound slope; higher on one end than the other, and higher on one side than the other too. He had 8 inches of lumber stacked under the left rear tire when the darn thing fell off the jack. He was laying under the RV in front of the rear tire, but apparently had enough clearance. He seemed unfazed. So did his wife. Like hey, no big deal – this happens all the time. What were they THINKING?

The AACA has a new Museum, about a mile from the Hershey grounds. It’s fabulous. Very nicely done. World class. I recommend a visit. Busses downstairs. Cars on the main level. A few motorcycles upstairs. More vehicles to come. Great displays, including an old, pulley driven machine shop. It works too. Come visit.

Another fantastic Hershey week is history.

 

Museum Milestones

By Terry Bond, Vice President
AACA Museum, Inc.

Your Museum is open and thriving! As you read recently in Antique Automobile Magazine, the new AACA Museum opened it’s doors to much fanfare (and in perfect weather) on the last weekend of June. Many of you by now have in fact taken the “virtual tour” from my last Rummage Box article, for real and in person. During this past Hershey week, the Museum reached another important milestone – we welcomed our 10,000th visitor! It was the talk of the town that week during the Annual Fall Meet as busloads of eager visitors took a break from their flea marketing to see what we have been talking so excitedly about for so long.

Many positive comments have been received about the Museum. From the quality of the displays and exhibits to the friendly staff and the facility itself it has impressed even the most expert car museum enthusiasts. All agree, we can indeed be proud of what has been accomplished.

Much work remains to be done however, and our fund raising efforts have not diminished. There is ample opportunity for AACA Regions and Chapters to get involved. Whether it is as simple as getting your Region or Chapter name on one of our Paver Bricks, or taking advantage of the many “naming opportunities” available, there is room from groups of all size, and contributions at any level. Regions and Chapters often realize that having a special project helps to draw their membership together, and getting behind your new museum can easily serve that purpose. It can be as simple as setting aside part of the proceeds from a raffle, or by making a donation in the name of a deceased member. To date, only about half of our active Regions and Chapters have donated to this tremendous project, and we hope that the rest will join in supporting this effort.

It takes several things to help ensure the success of our Museum. First of course we need visitors. Hershey itself is known as a “destination” city. People come to Hershey for the wonderful attractions, and now, that includes our Museum. Aside from visitors, it also takes a successful program of special events. Yes, the Museum is available to host special events. Everything from business meetings to wedding receptions can use this unique setting. Gift shop sales are also a key component, and so far we are meeting expectations on all fronts. Lastly, it takes contributions from a wide variety of sources to ensure our financial success and there are many on-going efforts taking place to obtain educational and cultural grants from federal, state, local, and private sources. But, it is the support of our own individual members of which we are most appreciative. Volunteers are the museum are also needed, and if you are near Hershey, please consider giving some time and sharing your love of antique vehicles to help show off this great facility.

There are several other “milestones” that we plan to continue reporting progress on. Vehicle and automobilia donations continue, and in the future you can look forward to special exhibits of rare and interesting vehicles as our displays rotate. Collections of automotive artifacts are being planned along with the construction of special exhibits related to the development of the automobile and it’s many components. Automotive related exhibits including clothing, artwork, sheet music, toys and models are all in the works.

During Hershey week, members of the Museum Board met with representatives from McPhearson College to begin laying groundwork to establish an internship program for students enrolled in their automotive restoration technology degree programs. Also discussed was a plan to establish a small-scale restoration facility at the Museum. This will enable us to host special seminars and technical workshops and a “distance learning program” on various aspects of automotive restoration. Of great interest to visitors will be the chance to see restoration work in progress.

Make Hershey your destination, and come see what you have helped create! I promise –you’ll be proud!

Contact the AACA Museum at 717-566-7100 for more information.