HISTORY OF THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS REGION CCCA
PRIOR TO 1984
Anyone attending a SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS REGION OF THE CLASSIC CAR CLUB OF AMERICA FUNCTION would
find it hard to believe that there were actually two failed attempts before our success in 1985.
The first attempt at establishing a local region took place in the fall of 1959. A general
meeting was held at the home of CHARLIE and MARION SEEWOSTER in the 5800 block of ENRIGHT AVE. in ST. LOUIS. In attendance
were eight men, and a few assorted wives and girlfriends. Among the former were EARL ROSEN, SALES MANAGER FOR ROSEN BROKERAGE;
CHARLES SEEWOSTER, INSURANCE; SQUEEKY BONGNER, OWNER U-CITY AUTO GLASS; FRED SUMMERS, STUDENT; JOE FELBERBAUM, STUDENT; MAURY
WEINSTEIN, OWNER FEDERAL SALVAGE; the other two men are lost in the mists of time. ROSEN was acclaimed as the president. Although
everybody received a post of some kind, I have since forgotten what my portfolio was. We all gave $3.00 for a year’s
membership to the new secretary-treasurer, and we were off and running. But it was not to be, the membership stagnated at
about 24 and we became involved in a turf war. At least two surrounding regions disputed our right to exist; things became
muddied, and the abortive attempt died sometime in 1960.
The second attempt of establishing a CCCA region was made in 1967. ROSEN was encouraged by
a major national tour (CARavan) that spent 3 days in St. Louis. I still remember GEORGE TISSEN, then CCCA President, perched
on the boot of ROSEN’S 1941 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL CABRIOLET in a St. Louis parade. Emboldened by all of this attention,
ROSEN made a second attempt of at establishing a local region. ROSEN discussed his plans with me during several telephone
conversations. I offered my support, but told him I was just beginning my heavy convention travel schedule, and would not
be in St. Louis for about two months. Upon my return I found four invitations for meetings for the new CCCA region, the latest
one was dated the next Tuesday at the home of EARL ROSEN. I made plans to attend. I was about a half-hour late, but upon arrival
I was pleased to see a good turnout of about twenty men, approximately a dozen ladies, all of whom were enjoying finger food
and cocktails. The club treasurer found me; I gave him $5.00 for a year’s dues. DEJA VU, I thought.
The meetings main business topic was choosing a name. After much discussion they finally voted
for my offering, MISSISSIPPI VALLEY REGION of the CCCA. I was pleased to make my mark for posterity in the OLD CAR WORLD.
But my glory was short-lived. When I returned to town after a three-month absence, the St. Louis Region of the CCCA had disappeared.
The poor 1959 attempt was never even named and died without a whimper within four months. The second attempt, the MISSISSIPPI
VALLEY REGION was made of tougher stuff, It died kicking and screaming all the way, and finally expired after living and fighting
for about eight months. But the end result was still the same. In 1968 there was still not a CCCA region in the area.
That was all to change in 1984, but that is another story.
Written by: Fred Summers
I had only been in the CCCA since 1979 but already had been on several Caravans. I felt ST.
LOUIS could support a region and interest was there. Speaking with Earl Rosen on the subject, he agreed. (I did not know at
time there had been several failed attempts early on to do just that).
Earl volunteered his help and we were off and running again. In January of 1984 a meeting was
held at my home with 28 interested parties in attendance. This was enough warm bodies to organize a provisional region with
a blessing from National. During the year more meetings were held with new faces showing up each time. We were now 35 strong.
Other activities were held including tours, picnics, and I was even successful in enticing a few of the members to go on CARavan.
Going on CARavan to me, was what the club was all about; new friendships made and old ones renewed. Actually seeing the Country
from the ground and pride of knowing (or hoping) your Classic will make the trip with no, or minimal problems. (In all 24
caravans I have made, only one time I had to do a roadside repair. That was not the cars fault: poor repair of a water pump
by a restorer).
In January of 1985 at the annual meeting THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS REGION OF THE CLASSIC CAR
CLUB OF AMERICA became a full-fledged region of the CCCA with the presentation of our charter. Our next job was to prove our
worth and show we could contribute.
In 1987 the region decided we should sponsor a CARavan. We applied to National and were given
1989 as our year to show what we could do. A meeting was held and an organizing committee was formed. Planning a caravan is
a formidable task. A total of 32 people formed the nucleus and we were off and running again.
The route was planned, hotels, food, activities were scheduled and on and on until the full
week was put on paper. Jobs were given out with nary a complaint. It was our job to provide an unforgettable week of fun and
travel. Someone was watching over us. The temperature never got over 80 and with only one morning with a misty rain, which
quit at noon and out came the sun. This all happened in August. Would you believe it? Our fearless leader during the planning
and execution of this undertaking was Don Hoelscher. Our region is very fortunate having him as a member.
The SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS REGION was not without other contributions. In the years 1991, 1993,
and 2001 we hosted Grand Classics. Dick Davie planned and carried out each one with real professionalism. Our next claim to
fame was the annual meeting in 1992. It was done with real "class" at the Hyatt Regency at the Union Station. Many past Presidents
of National were in attendance. Each was introduced and presented with a gift in appreciation of their contributions. It was
a long evening!!!!!!!! Again we were blessed with sunshine and moderate temperature. Not bad for January.
Somewhere in the middle 90’s it was suggested the region sponsor another CARavan. Once
again Don Hoelscher stepped in to head up this undertaking. We were assigned 1999. Unfortunately for us, National had scheduled
two other caravans for that year. We were unaware of this at the time. Our group of CARavaneers was smaller but a good time
was had by all.
Almost every month during the year we all meet at a designated restaurant for dinner. This
is in lieu of a regular meeting. Attendance is excellent. Most of the time a guest speaker is invited.
More chapters of SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS REGION’S HISTORY is yet to be written, including
another National Annual Meeting which was held in January 2005. Keep tuned in !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Written by: Joel Haffner
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