Local vintage car enthusiasts have another reason to celebrate as a special day has been proclaimed to bolster awareness about their passion.
Mayor Sean Nolls recently signed a proclamation declaring July 12th as ‘Collector Car Appreciation Day’ here in Stettler.
“I’m in a club called the Central Alberta Vintage Auto Club,” said Malcolm Fischer, who is also vice president of the Specialty Vehicle Association of Alberta Southern Alberta. “’Vintage’ is the key word. Some of the guys in town who do have car clubs are into racing – ‘screech and smoke’, I call it – which is great,” he said with a chuckle. “But we just like to have the old cars like they were.”
Fischer, who is a retired teacher and principal and also currently serves on Town council, said club members meet in Red Deer, but that folks come from all over Central Alberta to attend.
Members meet on the second Tuesday of every month at the Golden Circle, located just off of downtown Red Deer, at 7:30 p.m. “We typically see people from Olds, Leduc to Sylvan Lake – all over.”
The Central Alberta Vintage Auto Club got its start when Charlie (Parker) and Dale (Saby) held the first meeting on Oct. 6th, 1965, according to the club’s web site.
“To their delight, 20 enthusiasts came out for that initial gathering and CAVAC was off to the races! Executive officers were elected and a permanent monthly meeting date was decided upon.
“Charlie and Dale had no idea how successful their club would become; more than 50 years later, members are still meeting and enjoying regular antique car events!”
Meanwhile, according to the proclamation, the Specialty Vehicle Association of Alberta is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation, restoration and enjoyment of all antique, collector, vintage and specialty vehicles.
Collector Car Appreciation Day also recognizes the direct financial and cultural benefits that automobile hobbyists bring to their communities.
“The primary purpose of it is to acquaint people with the fact that ‘old car nuts’ are not all nuts,” he joked. “There is also a significant contribution both economically and socially to the community,” he said, pointing out that it’s been found that millions are injected into economies thanks to funds raised via these various clubs.
Funds raised at a range of community events often in turn support terrific community causes.
“Typically, any money that a car club makes goes right back to the community,” he explained.
Fischer added that the Specialty Vehicle Association of Alberta Southern Alberta is also an umbrella organization, and there are about 50 to 60 car clubs in Alberta which belong to it.
As for Fischer, he’s been fascinated with vintage cars since he was a youngster.
“My dad was a mechanic, but he was not an old car buff. He used to say that as a little kid standing beside him on the seat of a grain truck going down the gravel road, if I saw the glint of glass or chrome, I would always be whining that we had to stop and go look at the old car.”
He also recalled visiting his aunt and uncle’s place where there were several vintage cars on the property.
Fischer couldn’t wait to make a beeline to explore the collection of autos, hopping into the driver’s seat and letting his imagination soar. Indeed, his interest in vintage cars shows no signs of diminishing.
“I call it an incurable, viral infection!”
Looking ahead, the 58th International Antique Auto Meet runs June 27th June 30th in Saskatoon.
Check out www.vintageautoclub.ca.