It was an idea whose time had come. At least this spirited band of enthusiasts thought so. The year was 1951. Owners of Packards, Cadillacs and the like – vintage late 1920’s to early 1930’s – found to their chagrin, upon arriving at old car meets, that they were not eligible to participate because the vehicles they were driving were “too modern.” The Antique Automobile Club of America, the nation’s oldest organization in the hobby, had relegated the enthusiasts’ chosen wheels to Class 19, designated “Tow Cars.” Since these vehicles were, to their minds more properly defined by the term “Classic”, a new organization seemed called for.
The Classic Car Club of America was born later that year, In March of 1952, entertainer Herb Shriner invited the fledgling club to exhibit at the International Motor Sport Show held at the Grand Central Palace in New York City. A 1931 Cadillac V-16 All Weather Phaeton was spruced up and set up on the balcony – with a recruiting table alongside. Before the show, CCCA membership stood at twenty. By the end of the show, seventy five more enthusiasts had been signed up.
And the Club roster more than doubled again in the next six months. On September 17th, 1952, the Classic Car Club of America was incorporated with 212 founding members.
In January of 1953, Volume I, Number 1 of The Classic Carmagazine came off the press. That July the club’s first show – The Grand Classic – was held at Washington’s Crossing State Park in New Jersey. In August the first tour – the CARavan – wended its way from the East Coast to Detroit where the Club was the guest of the Packard Motor Car Company, whose hospitality included a trek to Utica where the Classics were exercised on the famous Packard proving ground track.
Already the AACA had changed its Class 19 designation to “Classic Cars.” The nice thing about an idea whose time has come is how quickly the word gets around and is cheerfully accepted. The CCCA proceeded from strength to strength. By 1960 membership passed the 2500 mark. Today membership in the club reaches over 3500 worldwide. The club is headquartered in Schiller Park, near Chicago. But, intrinsically, the CCCA is everywhere that Classic Cars are celebrated.