Antique auto club going strong

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Lawrence County has its own antique treasure right here in Ironton.

Fourty-five years ago an invitation to anyone owning an antique automobile was published in The Ironton Tribune to participate in the Memorial Day Parade.

Eleven families responded and drove their antique vehicles in the parade, then met for a picnic. They named themselves the Iron City Antique Auto Club.

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Phyllis Shafer, one of the charter members, said the members named the club Iron City because it began in Ironton.

What brought those 11 families together, and what still brings the 45 current member families together, was one goal.

"They all have the common interest of keeping the memory of these old cars alive," Dave Sisler,

Initially the club met at various locations from Raceland City Hall in Kentucky to the Hecla Volunteer Fire Department.In 1976, it purchased a little more than an acre of land on Ben Howell Road on State Route 93. There is a horse stable on the land which became, and still is, the clubhouse, though renovated from its original condition.

All owned vehicles are 25 or more years old. They include Ford Model T's and A's, Chevy's from the 20s to the 40s and different types from the 50s to early 70s including Mustangs and Corvettes.

Phyllis Shafer and her husband John own one of the oldest vehicles, a 1929 Chevrolet Panel Truck. John Shafer's grandfather used the truck for his store, Shafer & Sons Farm Produce.

Throughout the years the club has been involved with carshows in and around the area. Now it co-sponsors more than half-a-dozen car shows and tours such as the Summer Motion Car Show in Ashland and the Country Music Highway Cruise down State Route 23.

The club even has its own annual show at its clubhouse which began in 1962.

Club members also have social activities within the club. They have a Memorial Day Picnic birthday party, go on tours and take group trips to other car shows.

"It turned out to be a very social club," Sisler said. "It's kind of like a big family."

Shafer said everything they do is family friendly.

"We all practically raised our kids in activities in the car club," she said.

One annual event they do is a Mystery Tour. Every April a member chooses a mystery destination to take the rest of the group to.

Shafer said the event was dedicated to the memory of former member Keith Scarbrough. She said he passed away the week of their first excursion.

Anyone with an interest in antique automobiles can become a member, but there are requirements.

The interested person, who is recommended by a club member, must own an all original antique vehicle that is 25 or more years old. The vehicle must be inspected and approved by a three-person commitee.

"We accept only antique cars, not modified cars," Sisler said. "We want to preserve the history of the cars."

Those who only have an interest but no vehicle can join as an associate member.

This year's show is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Iron City Antique Auto Club's clubhouse. There is a judging and picnic for those who attend.

"It's a good family thing," Shafer said. "It's something the whole family can participate in."

Anyone interested in joining can contact Sisler at 606-928-8092 or Shafer at 532-5319.