History of the American Classic Car Club (Canterbury) Inc
Written by Bruce Morris, a committee member in 1997
Re-produced for the fortieth anniversary magazine
1969 – 1975
It appears that the idea to start a club to cater for the growing interest in American Post Vintage vehicles was first suggested in 1969. After an initial burst the club faded out.
In 1971 Alex Taylor, Jim Hancox, Ted Newman, Murray Ashby and Rick Brunnell got together, revived the idea and organised a cruise to Spencer Park. Fifteen cars turned out for this cruise.
An article in the Christchurch Star helped attract more members and the Club was underway and growing.
Originally, the Club catered for vehicles from 1932 to 1948. Accepting cars outside of these years was left to the discretion of the committee.
The first AGM was held on August 19th 1971. Twenty five members attended.
In late 1972 the Club decided to become an incorporated society. A draft constitution was circulated to members for their perusal.
The Certificate of Incorporation was received on May 1st 1973. The official title now ‘ The American Post Vintage and Classic Car Club of N.Z. Inc.
The same year an annual rally to Kaikoura for the weekend was held.
Events were held monthly. In March 1975 a combined meeting with the representatives of APVCC, Chrysler Club, Rod Benders, Studebaker Drivers Club and the Triangle Club was held.
The outcome of this meeting was the various Clubs taking turns to organise the monthly events for the group. These events included film evenings, social get togethers, cruises and the like.
In October 1975 a Concourse event was held in Diamond Harbour.
This event was organised by the Chrysler, APVCC, Studebaker Drivers and Hudson/Essex/Terraplane Clubs.
At the same time founder member and ex secretary/treasurer Jim Hancox, died suddenly. Jim’s vehicles included a 1938 Buick and a 1949 Chrysler Windsor.
1976 – 1980
By early 1976 the Club had forty nine members. It was decided to have the monthly newsletter replaced by a magazine. A competition amongst Club members was held to provide the title.
Suggestions included, ‘Those Magnificent Turkeys’ , ‘From Boxes to Bullets’, ‘The Dollar Grin’, ‘Handshift to Hydramatic’, ‘Superchargers’, ‘Sidemounts and Things’ and ‘From Running Boards and Sidemounts’ to ‘Flowing Fenders’ and ‘Tail Fins’! The three finalists were ‘Straight 8’, ‘The Streamlined Era’ and ‘White Walls’. The winning name for the magazine was ‘White Walls’ as submitted by Geoff Townsend.
In 1976 the first issue of ‘White Walls’ was published. There were five car photos on the cover.
These were photographed by Merv Knowles. There were twelve sponsors advertising in the magazine. The decision of the Club at the time was that they could not afford to not publish a magazine. They saw it as a positive means of promoting the Club.
In 1979 Club member Mike Newman produced fibreglass bumper badges for the Club cars.
The Club continued to grow into the early 1980’s. The high point was February 1981 when more than sixty vehicles were on display at the Club’s first public concourse. This was held at Sockburn Motors. Winners were, best PV (Post Vintage) to Steve Pickett (1936 Oldsmobile). Sockburn Motors Late American Cup to George Paniflow (1957 Chev Belair). The people’s choice went to Keith Hodgson (1952 Chev).
The two 1939 Nash cars in the Ferrymead museum were bequeathed to them on the death of long serving Club member, Mr Bob Louish.
In October 1980 the Club obtained a ‘permanent spare parts of motor vehicles import licence’ from the Customs Dept. This meant that any future imports of goods over fifty dollars in value should have no problems with Customs.
1981 – 1985
In 1981 a song to the tune of ‘Jingle Bells’ was published in ‘White Walls’
Rolling through the snow
In a brand new Chevrolet
O’er the roads we go
Smoother all the way
The engine purrs with power
Making spirits gay
Oh, what fun it is to own
a Chevrolet to-day.
Smarter all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a brand new Chevrolet
Early in 1982 founder member, Neville Peters passed away.
A back to front rally in June 1982 saw Club members start a cruise in Rangiora and head back to Christchurch.
In November 1982 one hundred people in thirty cars travelled to the Appaloosa Stud of John Grenell (John Hore the country and western singer)
In March 1983 the Club was invited to display cars at the Case and Vintage Machinery Club of NZ’s monster fair.
‘White Walls’ continued to be published monthly and had twenty four sponsors advertising in it.
1984 saw Club members visit Amberley, Hanmer (overnight), Loburn and Okains Bay. September of this year saw Catherine Walker (wife of Adrian) elected as the first female Club Captain.
During Labour weekend 1985 seven Club members travelled to Napier. This was at the invitation of the Early American Car Club (Wellington).
1986 – 1990
April 1986 a concourse was held in Diamond Harbour to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Club. Guest judges were two founder members, Geoff Townsend and Noel Brown. This was the year the Club printed their own business cards and certificates. Nearing the end of the eighties Club membership began to wane. An all time low was reached in the early 1990’s. This was partially due to cars from the 1950’s and 1960’s becoming popular.
1991 - 1995
In 1991 a Club T shirt was produced.
In January 1992 the Club membership was twenty nine. The Club now accepted cars from 1932 onwards. The majority of cars ranged from 1950 to 1975. Events included displays at Wings and Wheels, All Makes days, Poker run, a night rally and attending VCC swap meets. ‘White Walls’ was being published quarterly and included a profile of new Club members and their cars.
By February 1993 Club membership was down to eighteen. Concourse was postponed due to the low number of available cars. Car displays were held at Mandeville Country Fair and at the Muscle Car Madness in Rangiora.
In July 1994 long time member John Robertshaw passed away at thirty seven years of age. John had served on the committee and been a very keen supporter of the Club. John owned several American vehicles including a 46 Ford truck. Early 60’s Pontiac Laurentian, and Studebakers. John will also be remembered for his huge collection of car number plates and AA badges from around the world. John regularly organised the Poker Run and this became an annual event to honour his memory.
The AA badge on the Poker Run trophy is due to his enjoyment in collecting these badges.
In 1995 a decision was made to shorten the Club name to American Classic Car Club.
1996 – 2021
The 25th anniversary celebrations were held over Queen’s Birthday weekend in 1997.
The 40th anniversary was celebrated in 2011.
In 2021 the American Classic Car Club will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.