GVACS History


October 1, 1950 is a date that marked an end and a beginning. It was the end of just a Casual Interest on the part of Isolated Individuals and the start of a concerted group of hobbyists dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of antique vehicles. In March of 1950, the Times-Union sponsored the last of several promotional parades where antique vehicles were displayed publicly. Warren Perrins, an avid enthusiast of many years, conceived the Idea of an antique car club and that summer brought together at his home, AI Nagle, Ned Junker, Bud Steeb and John McFarlane, all of whom were anxious to develop a dub which has now grown to be one of the largest in the country. Plans were made for the first meeting of the "Genesee Valley Antique Car Society" as the group was named, the title coined by Warren Perrins.


The first meeting took the form of an outing on October 1, 1950 at Canfield Woods in Mendon Ponds Park. Fourteen cars, sports, vintage, and antique rallied at Convention Hall in Rochester and traveled out to the park. As John McFarlane delightfully reported the event ''the prospective members were lured away from food and each other’s cars to attend a sort of business meeting. Everyone agreed they wanted a club. Warren Perrins was elected president, chairman, or something, John McFarlane became Secretary Ned Junker was bull-dozed into becoming treasurer, and proved highly efficient In extracting $2.00 each (the dues agreed on) from 20 charter members. Seward Harris took on the membership job. It was agreed that car ownership was not needed for membership. It was further agreed (agreeable bunch) that no tie-up with a national club would be considered until spring. It was this day and this group that was the Genesee Valley Antique Car Society 55 years ago. This nucleus group that we now regard as founding members included John Searls, Wesley Struble John Utz, Michael Hupp, Ward BrItton, Charles Roberts, Harry Schoff, John Dollver, Raymond Nichols, Erwin Porter, Edward New, Delos Wray, John McFarlane, Allan Nagle, Frank O’Hare, and Warren Perrins. Charter members are regarded as the first fifty members of the Society. The club grew rapidly and by the end of the winter meetings, membership was well over the 60 mark, far exceeding expectations of the founders. These charter members wasted no time in formulating the club. Through the creativeness of Fred German and the artistic ability of Dean Reynolds, the club emblem, as it is known today, was developed. A real need for communication to this fest growing organization was realized. At this time, the Brass Lamp, the official club paper was founded. Production of this paper was under the direction of Fred German.


The group began meeting on a regular basis, which soon developed into a cycle of indoors, and outdoor activities that still continue today. Indoor meetings begin In November and through the years have consisted of such programs as slide presentations on specific aspects of the hobby, lectures technical presentations, films and symposiums. We remember such speakers as George Schuster, one of the two drivers of the Thomas Flyer, Henry and George Selden from the family of the Selden motorcar, Charles Pope from the family of the Pope-Tribune, and "Billy" Knipper, the famous race driver, not to mention other presentations made by our talented membership. These Indoor meetings took place at such places as the Rundel Library, the Forty and Eight Club, the Eastman House, Cutler Union .,d the Rochester Museum. We are currently meeting at The Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Irondequoit


Outdoor meetings through the years reflect the spirit and enthusiasm of our group. The number of summer events has increased measurably through the years. Of course there are picnics and tours and games that have become traditional. For the past few years we have opened the Outdoor Season with a Brunch Run and closed it with our Annual Fall Picnic. The Club usually tries to have an overnight tour every summer. These are always a fun filled weekend when club members can enjoy driving their antiques to an out of the way destination. The idea of a 1000-Mile Tour originated In 1981. We have taken one of these week long tours 9 times so far. Destinations have included Detroit, New England, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia The biggest event of the year has become the Annual Show held the last Sunday in July. This year marked the 44th anniversary of the show. GVACS has shared the Glidden Tour on many occasions as it stopped In the City of Rochester In 1950, 1953, and 1955. The Genesee Valley Region was the host club to the tour in 1963, when it started here. In 1975, the entire 7 day Glidden Tour was planned and handled superbly by the Genesee Valley Antique Car Society. Don Scott and Bob Herendeen, co-chairmen of the tour, along with their committee members planned a tour that is still talked about by AACA members throughout the country. Canandaigua Lake's Sheraton Inn was the headquarters of the "Hub" tour taking 250 antique and classics on 5 separate runs.


In 1953, we became incorporated with a goal and desire to seek national affiliation and still maintain the autonomous title of the "Genesee Valley Antique Car Society, Incorporated". This dilation occurred after much deliberation. Our founders heard presentations by the Veteran Motor Car Club of America and the Horseless Carriage Club as well as the Antique Automobile Club of America. After hearing these presentations, the Society voted to approve affiliation with the AACA and the charter was granted in 1958.


The Region hosted the 1980 AACA national Spring Meet. An event 4 years in the making came off like clockwork. Over 425 beautifully restored vehicles found their way to Rochester. Here the true meaning of a "unified" dub was visible, as AI Bernardo, Meet Chairman and all the GVACS members guided the meet attendees to all parts of the City of Rochester to enjoy our hobby.


In July of 1990, In honor of our 40th year, we hosted AACA’s 10th Grand National Meet. We chose Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua, New York to be the meet site. Once again, with the guidance of Meet Chairman Dick Salerno, GVACS members pulled together to produce a well run meet that will be long remembered by participants and spectators alike as one of the best


In 2001 under Doug Drake's leadership, GVACS hosted the AACA Divisional Founders Tour for cars from 1936 to 1976. The tour was a six-day hub tour that visited such places as the Curtis Museum, Niagara Falls, Letchworth State Park, Genesee Country Museum, and the George Eastman House. This was a large tour with over 200 antique car participating. The Antique Automobile Club of America has directly involved members of Genesee Valley. We have had one honorary member of the AACA, that being William Knipper. Warren Riter, a member since 1950, has been assistant editor of the Antique Automobile and was a national director. Douglas Drake served as Chairman, National Activities, Eastern Division, National Director, President of AACA In 2001, and Is was Vice-president for Programs & Youth Development from 2002 to 2004. Lorraine Logan was president of the Library and Research Center. Harry Logan has served as Chairman, National Activities, Eastern Division and Dick Salerno has served on the Regions Committee.


Harold Gilbert won the W. Emmert Swigart Memorial Cup In 1955 for his restoration of a 1907 Duer, a rare and unusual car entered in a national meet. L. Scott Bailey, a member of GVACS in the mid 1950's, won the Thompson Products Trophy In 1956 and the Charles Duryea Cup In 1958. Leaving the Genesee Valley, Scott became editor of Antique Automobile Magazine, AACA's publication. Following this, Scott became president and editor of Automobile Quarterly and in 1962, won the Thomas McKean Memoria1 Cup for his effort in automotive historical research. In 1975, Don Scott and Robert Herendeen were awarded the Augusus Post Memorial Plaque for outstanding participation in the 1975 GVACS Glidden Tour. In 1982, Tom Guerin received the Model T Era Award for his 1917 Ford. Gary Cox followed him in 1983 for his 1925 Ford. In 1983, Dick Salerno won the Post War Car Award for his 1953 DeSoto and Debbie Bean won the Ann S. Eddy Memorial Award for the Brass Lamp. The editors of the Brass Lamp have received the coveted Master Editor's Award from AACA each year since 1983. In 2001 Joyce Drake received the Charles E Duryea Cup. Also In 2001 Doug Drake received the Founders Award and the Augusus Post Memorial Plaque. In 2002, Doug Drake and Fred Burton received the Master Webmaster award.


Through the years, the Genesee Valley Antique Car Society has developed various trophies for member's contributions or for the best restoration of an antique car. The first award to be established was the Allan G. Nagle memorial Trophy In 1960. The winner is a person who, in the opinion of the Board of Directors, has done the most to better the club or the most In the way of assisting other members or for the best restoration of an antique car. The winner may be outstanding in one or more of these qualifications. It was felt that these qualifications exemplified the kind of person that AI Nagle was and that this kind of devotion to automobiliana should be perpetuated.


The D.W. Price, Sr. Memorial Trophy was established in 1966 by D.W. Price, Jr., In memory of his father. This trophy is presented yearly to an Individual who has given much service to the club.


The Director’s / President’s Trophy is presented to each President of the Genesee Valley Antique Car Society to keep through his or her tenure of office. Ivan Benedict established this in 1966. One of the great racing drivers of the e arly days of the Indianapolis 500 was a man by the name of Billy Knipper. In his later years, he became an honorary member of the Club. L. Scott Bailey, who had the honor of receiving from Mr. Knipper his collection of trophies, presented the Billy Knipper award to GVACS at the 20th Anniversary party. The cup was designated to be used annually as an award for outstanding achievement of a club member. In 1969, the Active Participation Award was created. It was then presented to as many as six families, selected by the officers, whose attendance and participation in club activities was extremely high throughout the year. In 1975, the club voted to change this distinguished award to be named the Earl Thomann Active Participation Award in honor of Earl Thomann who was perceived by all as a friend to everyone. If one needed help, Earl was there. This award is now presented to any family who participates in at least 80% of the year events.


In 2001 the "GVACS Outstanding Tour Award" was established when Bob Herendeen donated a sliver tray from the 1975 Glidden Tour that was hosted by GVACS. This is awarded to the person(s) who organize an outstanding tour. (Not necessary to be given each year) As we look back over the past 55 years, we can be proud of our accomplishments but most of all we can be proud that we have helped to perpetuate this great hobby that brought us together. The Genesee Valley Antique Car Society pledges to continue our efforts through the restoration and most importantly the enjoyment of antique vehicles as we travel into the future. 


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