We are able to announce a most interesting happening, namely, the formation, last February, of the Sports Car Club of America. The inaugural meeting took place on February 26th last, in Boston, and EM Dickinson, JF Duby, AH Engborg, TF Robertson, GF Schulz, RE Townsend and C Wallour comprise the founder members. The club badge is a Rudge-Whit-Worth wire wheel with black tyre, red brake drum and bright metal knock-off hub, spokes and rim, and club title; overall diameter about 3 in. A monthly bulletin, The Sportswagen, is already being published, and it contains a disposal and wants section. The club appears to be very sensibly constituted and sincere in its aims. It is realised that so few real sports cars exist in America that a fairly lenient definition must be taken, but this was finally constituted as follows :—
(1) Cars catalogued as ”speed models” –ie, Mercer Raceabout, Stutz “Beareat,” ”Blackhawk Speedster” and “Torpedo,” Cunningham, Auburn, Biddle, Marmon 34, Cord Speedster, Packard Speedster, etc.
(2) Quality cars of race-bred type —ie, Duesenberg, Revere, Roamer, Stutz, Mercer, Kenworthy, etc.
(3) Converted racing cars ; and
(4) Certain high-performance cars with custom-built sports bodies and, preferably, modified engine and chassis.
Closed cars are only accepted at the discretion of the committee, but recognised European sports cars are very welcome. Most sagely, cars such as Packard, Lincoln, Pierce-Arrow and Cadillac, etc, which bear open bodies but are not otherwise modified from standard, are not accepted, because, fine as they are, they go fast only on straight roads. It is emphasised in the April bulletin that if Rolls-Royce Ltd, considered the Royce a sports car they would not have produced the Bentley, and if one argues that a Packard Phaeton is faster than a Kissel Speedster, it is as well to reflect that a 1942 Buick “Century” is faster still— and that speed alone does not make a sports car. We find all this most cornmendable, although it is sad to reflect that while the SCC of A considers itself lenient in its interpretation of a sports car in comparison with “similar clubs in England,” in actual fact our own sports car organisations let in the most ordinary cars. [I, myself, have been guilty of carrying VSCC and Bugatti OC badges on a utility Rhode and trials Austin Seven Chummy in the past.— Ed] What sort of a response has there been to this most interesting effort ?
Well, by April, there were 18 members, including the founders, and between them they owned 1913, 1914, 1920 and 1921 Mercers, Model J Duesenberg, 1922, 1923 and 1926 Model A Duesenberg, 1929 Model I Blackhawk double-cowl phaeton, 1923 Model 45 and 1924 Model 55 Kissel Speedsters, 1931 and 1932 Stutz DV32 sports tourer and roadster, 1929 Stutz le Baron double-cowl phaeton, 1928 Stutz model BB Blackhawk Speedster, 1917 Stutz “Bulldog” Model 4-R tourer, 1914 Stutz Model 4-E “Bearcat,” 1918 Stutz Model S “Bearcat,” 1926 Bentley 3-litre “Red Label” Van den Plas, 1923 HCS special phaeton, 1927 Tylic N Mercedes-Benz, 1912 sleeve-valve Model 49 Mercedes, 1926 “28/95” Mercedes Rollston roadster, 1928 Model S Mercedes-Benz Erdman and Rossi cabriolet, 1913 22-B American speedster, 1920 Model 5 Cunningham de Palma speedster, 1924 and 1925 5th Series Lancia “Lambdas,” 1924 Hispano-Suiza Le Baron phaeton, 1926-7 OE, “30/98” Vauxhall 4-seater, 1927 Type 41 Bugatti, 1928 Model 88 Auburn speedster, 1932 Model L-29 Cord, 1930 Packard 734 Speed chassis phaeton, 1937 Model 812 special-engined Cord sc convertible coupe, and a 1936 BSA “Scout” 2-seater. This list contains 21 cars owned, or part-owned, by one member, D Cameron-Peek, of Chicago.
An Isotta-Fraschini and a 1926 McFarlan are offered for sale.
The club certainly has a vintage flavour, and has also attracted the veterans, although, as two bodies already exist in America to foster the latter, it is emphasised that post-1918 cars are really more welcome. The club president is Theodore F Robertson ; the vice-president and editor, Chapin Wallour ; and the secretary and treasurer, EM Dickinson, 142 Chestnut Street, Boston 8, Mass. It is hoped later to have regional executives, probably in New York and Philadelphia, etc.
The annual subscription is three dollars. Members may be expelled for disposing of a sports car without advertising it in the bulletin or notifying the club officers ten days beforehand ; wilfully breaking up a sports car ; failing to notify the club of a sports car about to be broken up ; acquiring a sports car which another member wanted within 30 days of this member announcing his intention to purchase, being at fault, in an accident damaging another member’s car ; or for voluntarily disposing of one’s last remaining sports car.
These rules seem very commendable if somewhat stringent, and we particularly applaud that which makes the sale of a sports car outside the club without prior announcement punishable—if something like this is instituted after the war by our Vintage SCC we may see a stop put to the present practice of certain vendors in asking immense prices for old cars which they have bought for a fraction of such prices. It will be interesting, too to see if the early-American-fast-car cult gains any adherents in this country-assuming any suitable cars could be found.
We know all British enthusiasts will join with us in wishing the SCC of A a very successful future. Incidentally, two gallons of pleasure petrol a week is still available in USA, so club runs will be possible.
MATTERS OF MOMENT, February 1951
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