IN THE BEGINNING
By John Hughes
Sydney's Vintage Sports Car Club was formed in 1944, and following the end of the Second World War its members became quite active in motor sports activities. Sadly, although members were admitted whose vehicles had little or no sports pretensions, the club provided very little in the way of events for non-sports cars. At this same time, many events were swamped in both performance and number of entries by what was at that time referred to as "modern mass-produced tin ware".
No other club existed in New South Wales, which catered for enthusiasts of non-sporting elderly cars, and as a consequence of the influx of late-model cars together with what was seen as a lack of appreciation of cars without sporting characteristics, most V.S.C.C. members who owned what we now call Veteran Cars merely stored their cars and became disgruntled.
Ron Grant protested to such an extent over what he saw as a lack of provision for enthusiasts of Veteran Cars within the V.S.C.C. that he became a focal point for those with similar concerns and interests. A series of three meetings were held at his Bankstown home, in order to try and resolve the issue. One hundred and three people attended the first meeting, sixty attended the second, and twenty attended the third. It was at this third meeting that those in attendance decided that it had become necessary to form a breakaway movement. Pros and cons were put in writing in order to be placed before the V.S.C.C. committee.
Resolutions were tabled at the next V.S.C.C. meeting, and ended in a fiasco as nobody was prepared to vote in favour of them. As a result no breakaway group was formed, however the matter was an indication of the dissatisfaction within a group of members within the club and it was obvious that something needed to be done about it.
Thereafter the club's Committee received almost constant badgering from Ron Grant, John McLean, Bill Daly, and Frank Klein, which resulted in these gentlemen being instructed to form a sub-committee, which would organise events and oversee the interests of veteran car owners within the Vintage Sports Car Club.
During the running of a twenty-four hour road race for production cars which was held at Mount Druitt on the 31st of January and 1st of February 1954, Bill Daly, Frank Klein, Ron Grant, and John McLean were holding a conversation amongst cars in the pit area. Jack Myers, who operated the "Atomic Service Station" at Kingsford approached them and in a most friendly fashion enquired as to the topic of conversation. When told in a somewhat sheepish fashion that the group was considering the possibility of forming a club for veteran car enthusiasts, the laconic Myers crisply replied that action rather than words was required.
It was to this abrupt challenge that the group came to the conclusion that if those were Jack Myers' feelings then they "bloody well would form a club - eventually".
With neither precedent nor tradition to follow, the sub-committee decided to run a "Brighton Rally" for "Victorian and Edwardian cars" on 4th of April 1954. Ron Grant was the main organiser of this event, and as he didn't own a mobile veteran he mapped out the course using his 30/98 Vauxhall, and he timed the sections in order to give an average speed of 12 m.p.h. This event proved itself to be a resounding success, that most of those members participating came to the conclusion that there was really no necessity for them to remain tied by the Vintage Sports Car Club's apron strings, they would form their own club.
Exactly four weeks later, on 4th of April, 1954, the inaugural meeting of the Veteran and Edwardian Car Owner's Club of Australia was held. Ron Grant was elected President, and the minutes Book (A school exercise book which is stored in the safe at our club rooms), detailed proceedings. What follows is the full text of that meeting, as recorded in the Minutes Book.
"A meeting was held at Mr R.Grant's residence on the night of 30/4/1954. Present were A.J.Myers, Mrs Myers, R.Grant, Mrs Grant, R.Powell, F.Klein, J.McLean, and K.A.Daly.
It was decided unanimously that a club be formed. That the club shall be known as THE VETERAN AND EDWARDIAN CAR OWNERS' CLUB OF AUSTRALIA, (RGrant / F.Klein).
It was decided that members be active owners of Veteran and Edwardian cars. (R.Grant/K.A.Daly).
It was decided that honorary membership be conferred upon selected persons for one year and shall be reviewed and may be renewed by a 2/3 majority of the members each year and such members may be elected Honorary Life Members after five consecutive years of honorary membership (R.Grant/K.Daly).).
It was decided that a quorum shall consist of a minimum of five members (J.Myers/F.Klein).
The sum of ten shillings was collected from all present and J.Myers was elected Honorary Secretary and collected monies and issued receipts."
The second meeting, held at the home of Jack Myers, on the 12th of July, 1954 discussed what was to be the new club's very first rally. British Empire Films were soon to show at the State Theatre in Market Street a new film titled "Genevieve". Aware of pre-release publicity for this movie, members of the new club approached the State Theatre's Manager, a Mr Buddy Scott, offering to hold a rally for the Sydney premier, which would start and end at the State Theatre. As such an event would result in publicity for both the new club, and the theatre, amicable and mutually beneficial arrangements were made. It was moved by Ron Grant (Could a President move a motion ?), and seconded by Frank Klein that the Secretary write to the V.S.C.C. and inform them that the Veteran and Edwardian Car Owner's Club of Australia would be holding this event. This can be seen as being an important step in the development of our club, as it was the first indication of the fledgling organisation commencing to spread it's wings. It was at this meeting that Ron Grant resigned from the position of President (He was replaced by Bill Daly).
On Sunday, 4th of September, 1954 our club held its very first rally called the "Genevieve Rally", and it was a great success.
At it's third monthly meeting, which was held in August 1954, the club's name was changed from "The Veteran and Edwardian Car Owner's Club of Australia", to "The Veteran Car Club of Australia".