Susquehannock region AACA celebrates 50 years

On May 17, the Susquehannock region of the Antique Automobile Club of America celebrated its 50th anniversary at the South Williamsport Park. Antique and classic cars were on display for club members and the public.

The club has more than 170 members owning more than 300 antique and classic automobiles and is involved in many activities and local and national events, including car shows, car runs, car tours, parades and the formation of a student chapter at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The club has sponsored and conducted AACA events to include an eastern national spring meet, an AACA grand national meet and a vintage car tour for cars 1937 and older and it is scheduled to conduct the June 2016 grand national meet that will bring more than 600 antique cars from around the country.

The club began when a small group of local people began to get to know each other through their common interest of antique cars. The group was pulled together by Ferd Page, who was an old car enthusiast and a member of the Allegheny Mountain Region of the AACA.

The first meeting of this small group was June 13, 1964 in the back room of Page’s Sunoco Service Station on East Third Street. At the meeting, the first item was a selection of a fitting name. Since the area was once the homeland of a tribe of warriors who had given the river their name, the club was named after the Susquehannock tribe.

Founding members included George Domer, Ford Drake, Russell Houseknecht, James Hull, Perry Johnston, Seymour Knight, Francis Kyler, Ralph Kyler, Neal Lynn, James Lutcher, Jay Richard and Page.

The second order of business was to select club officers who included Page, president; Francis and Ralph Kyler, vice presidents; Hull, secretary; Drake, treasurer and Lynn and Richards as directors.

The first official board meeting was held July 7, 1964. A membership drive followed and 30 people became charter members. On Oct. 8, 1964, the Antique Automobile Club of America extended official recognition of the club as a legitimate chapter of the Allegheny Region AACA and on Feb. 3, 1877, the club graduated from being a chapter to become an officially recognized region of the Antique Automobile Club of America.

The city of Williamsport was the home of Lycoming Motors, a firm that had made automobile engines for manufactures in American cars including Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg. Cooperation of the descendent firm resulted in the establishment of a trophy to be awarded annually to a vehicle powered by a Lycoming engine and judged worthy of the honor at the club show. The trophy is highly regarded and the cars competing for it bring a special elegance to the car show each July at the Lycoming College Quadrangle.

Each year in mid-July, exhibitors and viewers gather at Lycoming College for the annual Williamsport Automobile Show.

“Over the same years the club has seen many other organizations founded upon a professed interest in automobiles form and wither to be forgotten, but this club has pressed on with pride in its past and hopeful faith in its future. I also think the most important part of our history has been the friendship and fellowship of our members and their willingness and drive to get involved in anything that promotes antique automobiles,” said Earl Mowery, club vice president and AACA director, when asked about the success and longevity of the club.

“Over the 50-year tenure of the club, the ages of cars owned by club members has changed as the outlook of members and guidelines of the AACA have changed,” said Carl Bennett, club president. “That which is old to the young is recent to the old. The makeup of cars exhibited at our club events reflects this interesting pattern and each age learns from the other and grows in automobile knowledge. We are in this club to promote the hobby and to have fun with fellow club members and with the cars that bring us together.”