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A Treatise on the Future of Antique Car Clubs<BR>By Gordon Dysart<P>The first antique car club in Texas was the North Texas Region of the Horseless Carriage Club (in Dallas). Chartered by the national HCCA in California in 1951 the Dallas group was followed by others in Houston, Waco, and Wichita Falls. Then came other clubs: Antique Automobile Club of America, the Veteran Motor Car Club, Model T, Model A, Early Ford V8, Packard, Pierce Arrow, etc.<P>The HCCA national, in the early 1970?s, decided to support only ?brass cars? built before 1916, and the rules were changed such that only owners of pre-1916 cars could vote on national officers. This angered some of the local club members and they withdrew their charters to join other national clubs. Only the Dallas HCCA remains in Texas. They continued to allow any car 25 years old, or older, to take part in their activities. The consensus of members was that they did not need to vote for national members, because they didn?t know any of them. By accepting younger cars they also grew with younger members. <P>I recently read in the ?Horseless Carriage Gazette? that the once stellar San Francisco region was closing its club. Old members necessarily stopped driving and collecting pre-1916 cars, and the slow cars became unwelcome on the busy streets of San Francisco. This was quite a shock, but predictable if one were to analyze what is happening to that part of the hobby which restricts newer cars. Another example is the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA). The national club recognizes only cars built from 1925-1948 which were expensive and very well made. Local clubs rarely promote touring with these cars, some of which have high values (1930 Cadillac V-16 cars at $200,000 to 1936 Duesenbergs at $1,000,000). The trend is to store these valuable works of art in private museums. They are rarely driven, and club activity is rather small except on the national level where motoring in special areas of America is quite popular. The members are getting older as are their cars, and we can expect the clubs to get smaller. The national has resisted all efforts to accept modern classics into the club. Cars that would qualify as classics (except for the 1948 restriction) could be Rolls Royce of any year, Bentleys, Cadillac limousine and convertibles, Lincoln limousines and convertibles, certain Chrysler Imperials, etc. With admission of such cars will come younger members because they relate to newer cars. Look for either a change in years for the CCCA or a slow demise of members.<P>Look for Studebaker, Packard, Pierce Arrow, Hudson, cars to join together in an ?orphan? club. Why? Because their independent clubs will gradually lose members and they will need to merge with other makes.<P>The future belongs to the young. The 1956-57 Chevrolet has been popular for nearly 20 years. The Corvette continues production. This effects the future of the Chevrolet clubs.<BR>Cadillacs are still in production, and some late model collectible cars appeal to younger people. The Cadillac club will continue to grow. The time is coming when the family will not be able to get out the Model A touring and drive slowly through the countryside looking at the wildflowers. Such a car will need to be trailered to a rural place, but even then we will need to get on the shoulder when the fast moving modern cars approach from the rear. Let?s find ways to keep clubs active by merging and by changing rules to embrace the younger generation and their cars. <P> GRD 2002

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Some interesting thoughts have been presented here. There are many reasons different car clubs come and go, some of those reasons have been stated in this Treatise, but just as many have not. In the over 30 years I have been involved in old cars (of various makes and models) I have seen clubs come and go, and one of the biggest reasons of all is the old favorite - internal politics. The politics seldom has anything to do with the cars but mostly with personalities. So, I will continue to drive my (Full) Classic where ever I go (including San Francisco), I have to, I don't own a tow vehicle or trailer. Even if there was no club for my car, I would still enjoy it and drive it (and no I don't restrict my driving to quaint country roads). The club and members add to the enjoyment of this hobby and always will.

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Hey,GRD:<P>I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but don't expect to get much support at this forum. The CCCA is pretty much controlled by a successful group of geezers who are pretty much set in their ways and feel the future is best assured by sticking to a formula that has worked for them for many years.<P>The fact that the CCCA membership is the highest it has ever been does not help either. Perhaps if the membership starts to fall, thoughts like yours may get some consideration rather than defensive attack. I do know that at our local region, members are very hard to come by, and those that we have don't really have the time or energy to do anything with their cars. Perhaps it is probably better elsewhere.<P>See you on the road!<BR>Bill.

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A good number of my fellow CCCA members note with DIS SATISFACTION how the "membership drives" have POLLUTED our Club with an ever-increasing number of 1) NON owner "wanna-bes" 2) people who own the lesser cars who have NO idea why this Club began...3) people who want to make their favorite old car a "classic" (so they can sell it)....<P>We have a marvelous time and were highly successful when our membership was in the 1,500 - 2,000 range...with an overwhelming majority of the members peole who OWNED big classics, CARED what the cars were all about as mechanical objects, and had NO use for the various "wanna-be" types noted above.<P>Hopefully, our fellow "chatter" is correct...us old "geezers" will keep the CCCA small, perhaps even SMALLER, and thus focused on what it is supposed to be focused on.<P>Our FIRST big mistake was letting the Lincoln Continental in. Those of you with even the rudiments of an education know that the Lincoln Continentals were an advanced "stream-lined" or "moderne" design, the very antithesis of the "classic" school of design. As our Club became more and more successful, and as its reputation, and the public impression of the true classic auto more desireable, more and more people with old cars to sell, wanted to call THEIR old car a "classic".<P>Due to highly successful lobbying campaigns, just about all state motor vehicle bureaus now call just about ANY old car a "classic". <P>There is SOME truth to the argument that fewer and fewer big classics are taken out on the highways. And there are several reasons for this. As more and more of them are "restored" into costume jewelry, with less and less attention to returning them to the kind of mechanical condition they should be in, I agree...who want want to drive some of them around the block ! And as more and more big cities benefit from over-population, heck..it isn't much fun to drive ANY car..old or new...around now...at least not in the big cities.<P>A fundamental difference between the thinking behind the Classic Car Club of America, is that we value QUALITY more than QUANTITY. If you like nice old cars that sold well..and think there should be a "push" to enlist more members, go form your own Club, or join one that favors your views. If you are sensitive to the limited production "finer things in life", stay with us, whether or not you are lucky enough to own one of the grand "road locomotives of the 1925-1942 era.<P>This IS a free country - just as some people are free to be happy with the ordinary things in life, and resent their "betters", those of us members who LIKE the CCCA the way it is, are free to advocate OUR opinion on the direction of the Club.<P>Hopefully, our love for the "arrogant elite" automobiles of the 1930's will offend and drive off those who do NOT belong in the CCCA, and attract the ones who do.<P>Pete Hartmann<BR>Big Springs, AZ

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As one of the "Old Geezers" of the CCCA (after all I'm 52 years old!) I'd like to join this discussion as it focuses on two issues that elicit lots of discussion at CCCA (and other ) funtions. Yes, the membership is getting older. In fact, the results of our last membership survey put the median age of respondents at 65 years. Lest you think this is being ignored by your Club leadership, there are several proposals being discussed by the National Board as we speak. It is likely that the age of our members will always be more advanced than that of, say, the Corvette Clubs if only because many of the Full Classic cars do tend to be fairly expensive. In addition, Collectors tastes mature with experience. Lest you mistake my statement for that of the gentleman from Arizona with the stuck upper case key, consider what you started out with in this hobby. Most of us, myself included, began with cars that were fairly easily acquired. Mine were Model T Fords, and I have rarely been without one since 1959. You do the math. All this is not to minimize the importance of seeking out young folks wiht whom we can share our great cars. Until recent messages on this forum, I have never heard of anypone wishing for a smaller CCCA. A strong and healthy club is a growing organization.<BR>The second point is the progression of Club Guidelines into the 1950's. The reason given, here and elsewhere, is admirable: the increase of membership and continued growth and survival of our Club. I would point out two examples of the fallacy of this idea. First is the example already given of the HCCA, of which I am also a member. While not without its problems in the past few years, the HCCA is a strong National organization with about the same membership as the CCCA. The HCCA emphasizes touring and no longer has any national judged events. The tours, of different varieties and requirements, are well attended and the cars are driven for extensive distances. One of the biggest discussions in the past few years has been the dropping of the requirement for period clothing while on tour! The Gas & Brass tour in New England this past summer hosted almost 100 cars!<BR>The next example, a bit sadder, is the Milestone Car Society, of which I was an early member, but have long since dropped out. The aspirations and ideals for the MCS were admirable and loosley based on the precepts of the CCCA, but focusing on the 1946 through 1964 era. A flaw (in my opinion) in the system was the acceptance of new makes and models by popular vote. Enthusiasm dissipated and the Club shrank to a shadow of its former self. Along the way, the years of acceptance were widened to, first, 1967 and eventually to 1973 (I think). I have recently been informed that the MCS is making a revival, and I certainly hope so, as there are some very interesting cars to be coveted in the Milestone Car List.<BR>Early on in the history of our Club, according to Bob Turnquist, an attempt to gain more members was made by the inclusion of Lincoln Continentals. Although I suspect, as is usually the case, there is more to the Continental story than this version, Bob's admitted personal effort was decidedly unsuccessful. Please don't think I have a dislike for the Continental, because that is not the case. I have owned several, and contrary to the opinions of some on this forum, have found that a well maintained Continental is a very capable highway performer. About 15 years ago we left Kalamazoo Michigan in the early morning and made it to Rochester New York by supper time.<BR>As for the declining use of Full Classic cars, I must disagree with the assesment that most are trailer queens. In September 2001 our New England Region sponsored a CCCA CARavan to the number of 143 cars. We had to turn folks away because we had no more room. The upcoming OH! CANADA CARavan sponsored by the Michigan Region, as of early April had an entry list at 137. Al McEwan is coordinating 2 (yes 2) CARavans this summer in the Pacific Northwest with a combined enrollment of 124 as of April. At the 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting in San Jose there were 101 Classic Cars on display, which was also a record number for an Annual Meeting. <BR>In closing, the CCCA is a strong and healthy Club, well aware of its weaknesses, and a Club whose members actively encourage new membership.<BR>Jon Lee

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Jon:<P>As usual, I appreciate your well thought out responses to these issues. I concur that simply expanding the list of eligible cars is not the entire answer, though I am convinced it will ultimately be part of the solution to the problem of aging membership. I note that the VMCCA welcomes all cars that are more than 25 years old, but they also suffer from aging membership, though not as badly as the CCCA.<P>The fact is, most antique car clubs are simply not very attractive to most younger people. The situation is sort of unstable, the older the population of the club becomes, the less likely young people will have any interest in it. Could you imagine joining a Metallica (that's a rock group, friends) fan group and screaming with a bunch of teen agers? Perhaps, but most of us would rather play with our old cars. Well, most kids would feel just about as out of place going on a car tour with a bunch of WWII veterans.<P>I think we need to accept incremental improvements and incentives to help at least those in their forties to feel comfortable in our car clubs. They need to be recruited, given responsibility, some opportunity to govern, and enthusiastic embraces by experienced club members. Activities need to be designed to include stuff that younger folks like to do.<P>In my view, far too little of this is being done, and there is far too much of the attitude that... this is my club, these are the rules, take it or leave it. With this attitude, I think we can bid most of the clubs we enjoy today goodby, it is just a matter of time.

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I'm sorry, but I see no reason why the HCCA and CCCA have to change their rules of vehicle eligibilty. These clubs are the only ones that are left with any fixed rules. If you want to see the car or truck you bought as a tow vehicle for your collector car 25 years ago there are several clubs for you, waiting with open arms.

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As an owner of a full classic (1404 Club Sedan) , I don't consider myself an old geezer, old maybe, I'm 48. <BR> As to driving, I drive her most of the time, in the "Big City," well Nashville's not as big as LA or NY and on the Interstate. True, I don't go as fast as the rest of the cars, but then I don't have to, most of them slow down to look. <BR> As for towing her, all I have to say is that Packard didn't make trailers and the day I couldn't drive her, is the day I'll sell her.<BR> My car may not be "mint," and if you want to see it, it will be on the Car & Driver TV show on May 25th & the 26th on the TNN network, but someday I have it finish and when I do, I'll still be driving her around.<BR> As for the rules of the CCCA, currently, it's policality correct to try to keep every one happy and to have that "feel good" feeling that you have done that. The rules of the CCCA are stated and if you become a member, that's what you agree to. I may not agree with all the rules, but then I don't like paying taxes either, but the rules are the rules and it's something you just have to live with if you want to be a member. shocked.gif" border="0

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Well, I guess It's time to get my two cents in. I became a life member of the CCCA at age 30. The year was 1996. I believe that would make me the youngest life member ever, and if not it would certainly be close. People continue to comment on the age of our membership, and I must admit it conserns me too. As all of the old guys die off I'm looking forward to a world class FULL CLASSIC at bargin basment prices. As for myself, A local collector in my area managed a 29 LaSalle , 30 V-16 Cadillac, and another early 30's Cadillac...... ALL BEFORE HE WAS 30 YEARS OLD!!!!! And no.... he is not from a family with old money. Just an hard working middle class guy who lives for early 30's Cadillacs. I think he has great taste. I rather be an old man in a club with a membership of 500 people who have a common interest in the worlds best cars than in a club of 5000 with a bunch of used cars. (AKA post war)

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Car clubs are like religions. There is one for everybody, they all vary in many different ways, they all think they are the true believers and everyone else is misguided and if they are not fighting with each other they are fighting within their own organization. Often they are more interested in what is good for the organization than what is good for the members or followers.<P>Pick the one you like and stop trying to change the others to conform to your beliefs.

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For Unregis. User...<P>Sadly, your advice dosnt recognize human nature. It is quite "human" to resent ANYONE who thinks differently than you....and even more "human" to want to come into someone's private organization and DEMAND you change your ways and think the way they do....!<P>P.S... Love your "post"..how about using your REAL name....!<P>Pete Hartmann

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some of the above posts refer to 'an aging CCCA membership' as a potential problem. That is not clear to me. Noone lives forever and sooner or later the "true classics' will pass to another person. HEY, the cars dont die with the owner do they??<P>I do not belong to the CCCA. NONETHELESS, i believe in their basic philosophy of rules. BUT, placing the cut off date at 1948 is a bit steep. However, i am confident that there are very few post war to qualify even if the year limitation was not an issue. Discounting the 56 Carib, CERTAIN models of corvette and Cadillac is somewhat UNrealistic.<BR>It is probably best to keep the restricted criteria than to allow political conditions to dilute.

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Hey Pete and others:<P>Just for the record (again), I have demanded nothing of the CCCA and I am a long time member of the CCCA.<P>I have only stated that I think there are elements of the status quo in this club that are not healthy and will not serve the long term interests of the club. That's my opinion, I know there are many that don't agree, so be it. But I also think there are a few others in the club who agree with me, even though they are not particularly vocal on this forum. Check out the annual survey, you can see there are others that see the need for reasonable change in the future.<P>Still, I know of no movement to demand that anyone change anything with the CCCA. I resent having my opinions discounted by suggesting they are the rants of persons or group seeking to take over, to have some sort of CCCA coup d'etat.<P>I really have no intention of demanding anything from this club. I would like it to continue its excellent publications, handle its finances properly, and sponsor national events. And, I expect the CCCA to respect the opinions of its members who might disagree with current policies and directions. Telling someone that they should shut up or join another club more suited to their style does not constitute much respect.<P>While some in this forum may not offer the respect I am talking about, I am confident that the CCCA does.<P>Bill.

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Hi...BuickPlus<P>Bottom line...we are ALL old car buffs...which makes us 1) all on the same side....and 2) more than a little bit nuts!<P>Be assured I would defend your right to speak your mind..in here...or anywhere else !<P>Pete Hartmann<BR>Big Springs, AZ

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