Antique Automobile Club of America

Capt. Mike

The Antique Automobile Club of America, the AACA, is the largest organization in the world dedicated to the preservation, restoration and history of the automobile. Now that many of the Westies have passed into this geriatric set, I urge all to consider this club.

First, antique car ownership isn't required, just an interest in cars and good-times associated with them. Yes, there are formal meets to judge cars to their original standards, but most of the events and functions are at the local level, fun, and usually involve food. At the last National, there were 4 VW's, some in the non-judged Driver Participation Class.

The National AACA has one of the premier museums in the world for antique cars and memoriabilia located in Hershey PA. Their Library & Research Center is world class and contains some of the rarest automobile literature and reference material ever. Old sales brochures, factory assembly data, shop & parts manuals, media reports, films & photos. This is an excellent place to start a restoration.

Membership is reasonable, about $30 per year for family (spouse included) membership. The magazine alone is worth that. As a non-profit, even a part of that is tax-deductible.

But the bulk of the activities are at the Regional or Chapter level. (Some Regions are small or have no chapters.) This is where the get-togethers, tours, cook-outs and fun originate. At my chapter's last event, an ice-cream social, I met two other VW owners. There are probably a dozen or so VW's in my Region. It's a rare National meet that doesn't have a couple and I've even seen a '50s era VW ambulance at one.

Antiques officially begin at 25 years, which means all the Splitties and Type II's are antiques. Since it's a rolling mark, up through '82 are currently eligible, so the early Vanagons are joining the roles. At most local levels, they also encourage 20-25 year-olds to join and 'get their feet wet' to experience the club and rules so they will be in a position to get serious at 25 if they so choose. That's how I got in -- I showed my street nice Porsche in the "Classic" or "Special Interest" class my chapter offered. It did well, I was hooked, and when it turned 25, I had already upgraded and entered my first National Meet. (National First, thank you.)

Go to one of their events -- membership usually isn't required to attend and meets are open to the public free of charge (AACA rule). You will quickly find the "resource" of the club is not the club but its members. Someone will know sources, how to fix-its, have parts or tools, and know who or where to go for needed parts or services. And most are more than willing to share. AACA & Westyville have much in common.

Capt. Mike

Go to their Home Page, linked above post; Region & Chapter locator is on right side. Your Westy will turn "antique" in 2011, but only official AACA-rules meets require a 25 year-old vehicle; all other events are fun and the car age doesn't matter.