The original Fallbrook Vintage Car Club started as a Model A Ford Club in the late 50s at the home of Paul and Kathleen Stiles. Some say it was originally sponsored by a Model A club in Escondido. At the time it was a closed club (men only) with approximately ten members – all Model A owners. The club later moved to the Stiles’ Fallbrook Tractor office on East Mission. The original group’s only scheduled activity was an annual Memorial Day car show.
In 1961, the group decided to form their own club, spearheaded by Bob White and Paul Stiles. They named it the Fallbrook Car Club. The men’s wives, understanding that this hobby could be lots of fun, held their own socials and eventually were invited to be members of the club. Stiles was the first person named president of the organization. According to early members, there was no formal election but the presidency moved from member to member depending on the willingness of the member to take on the responsibilities of the office. The club was made available to owners of select car brands, mostly Fords and, in particular, Model As.
In 1975, the club was renamed the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club after joining the Antique Automobile Club of America and became a chapter in the San Diego region. Since then, the club has become its own chapter of the AACA.
From 1975 to 1985 the female members of the club met at the Stiles residence to create quilts which were then auctioned off at the annual car show. Stiles and his wife Kathleen still live in Fallbrook and are still honorary members of the club. White, who was instrumental in having it join the AACA in 1975, was for a number of years the editor of the Fallbrook Enterprise, and is now retired and living in Roseburg, Oregon.
Carl “Rosey” Rosenberg was another charter member who died several years ago. He is remembered, with his wife Marie, as they are depicted driving their 1913 Brass Radiator Model T Ford leading the several antique cars in the front of the old Ellis Hotel on the first car poster in 1985.Rosey was a driver of midget race cars in the 30s, 40s and 50s at the Culver City Raceway.
Dan Lutz was another founding member and known locally for his owner-restored non-identical 1936 Fords. He had a rumble-seat roadster and a club seat convertible. Stiles, White and Lutz all served as presidents of the club in its early years.
Howard Raish, another early member of the club, owned a two-story brick antique store in Temecula and operated a low power radio broadcast station there. He drove the old “bloody gap” Highway 395 to meetings. His store had a 1919 Dort center-door coupe parked inside the store near the front windows. The store remains on Main off Front Street.
Bill Ahrend’s father, Floyd, was another founding member. Bill owns Ahrend Studios on East Alvarado.
Dental surgeon Dr. Neal Boren was an early member of the club. He was born and reared in Rainbow and has many relatives still in the area.
Howard Burhop, a retired executive from North American Rockwell, was an early member of the club as was Bob Elder, a WWII pilot and FAA executive.
Carroll Njust, a retired USAF pilot, and his wife Cecelia are recognized as early members of the club and have been very generous contributors to this written history. They still live in Fallbrook and continue to be active in the club. As recently as 2006, Carroll and Cecelia created a driving tour of the historic sites of Fallbrook that highlighted the most significant areas of interest in the town. There were about 40 sites featured on that tour.
There are also several references to the car club included in the displays and artifacts housed at the Fallbrook Historical Society museum. Included in those artifacts are two vintage cars – one a 1923 Model T Ford donated by Paul Stiles and the other a 1930 Model “A” roadster donated by Arlyne Ingold. A third vintage car, donated by Jack Story, is the Model A driven annually in the Fallbrook Christmas Parade.
It is noteworthy that the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club served as a support group to the two Interstate Battery Great Races that included Fallbrook as a way station on their cross-country tours in June 1981 and June 1989. The 1987 race featured about 100 cars, started at Disneyland and finished at Disney World. The 1989 race started in Norfolk, Va. and finished at Disneyland. There were 120 cars in that event and the stop here in Fallbrook was covered for television by ESPN.
The Fallbrook Vintage Car Club today has about 90 very active members who meet on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Fallbrook Women’s Club on West Mission. Following a short business meeting there is generally a presentation by a local resident on some subject of interest to the members. Visitors are welcome and there is no admission.
The two big events on the club’s schedule are the annual Avocado Festival in April and the Fallbrook Vintage Car Show which has been held on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend every year for the past 44 years. It is the longest running continuous annual car show in the state of California. Proceeds from these two events are routinely donated to deserving local charities throughout the year. It should be noted that ownership of a vintage car is not required for membership – only an appreciation of the culture. More information on the club can be seen by accessing http://www.FallbrookVintageCarClub.com
To comment on this story online, visit http://www.thevillagenews.com.
Presidential history of the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club
1975 -1979 Dan Lutz
1976 - Howard Burhop
1977 - Bob Elder
1978 - Ernie Boyer
1980 - Jim Caldwell
1981 - Tom Talbott
1982 - Lars Jacobsen
1983 - Bill Ellis
1984 - Marie Rosenthal
1985 - 1986 Red Hanson
1987 - Les Newquist
1988 - Hal McCoy
1989 - Red Hanson
1990 -1991 - Jim Rose
1992 - 1993 - David Doherty
1994 - Jack Splitstone
1995 -1997 - Virgil Cochran
1998 -1999 - Don Kramer
2000 - Don Sterling
2001 - Norm Kear & Tom Long
2002 - 2003 - Tom Long
2004 - Fred Ragland
2005 - DuMonte Voigt
2007 - 2008 - Dave Bergeson
2009 - Roy Moosa