We know that people were collecting old cars by 1925, which was the year that the American automobile industry recognized (incorrectly) as its 25th anniversary. Most early car collectors were automobile dealers who took in old cars on trade and realized that they had historical significance. However, there was no formal “old-car hobby” at that time.
The founding of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) is really the event that started the old-car hobby. The AACA was formed by a small group of men who attended the Antique Automobile Derbies held in connection with the Philadelphia Auto Show. They began, in 1931.
After the fourth such Derby, Frank Abramson and Theodore Fiala conceived of the idea of forming an antique automobile club with the previous year’s Derby participants as members. They approached Jack Dlugash, who promoted the Derbies, and got the participants’ names and addresses. In a letter dated Sept. 20, 1935, they got the Derby participants interested in forming a club. That means that 2015 will mark the 60th anniversary of the old-car hobby.
A meeting was held on Nov. 4, 1935, in the auditorium of the Automobile Club of Philadelphia. Attendance included the 14 founding members, plus the wife of one. That meeting held almost 80 years ago marked America’s first historical automotive society, the Antique Automobile Club of America.