In November, 1959, national officers of the Antique Automobile Club of America signed and issued a charter creating the Gulf Coast Region. Previously, Dallas-based Texas Region had been the only organized A.A.C.A. club in Texas, drawing members from around the state.
The birth of the Gulf Coast Region was the result of a search for identity by a group of Houston antique automobile enthusiasts who belonged to the Horseless Carriage Club of America (H.C.C.A.).
The H.C.C.A., then and now, mandates that its members own pre-1916 automobiles. In 1956, 23 Houstonians left the H.C.C.A. because they perceived that the pre-1916 mandate was too restrictive to allow for growth and vitality. The A.A.C.A. and most other all-marque clubs require that a vehicle be at least 25 years old to qualify as an antique.
These 23 pioneers in 1956 joined with others to form a new group named the Texas Antique Automobile Association, but it took them only a couple of years to decide they needed to be associated with a national organization. The A.A.C.A., only 29 years old at the time, was clearly the up-and-coming old car club in the country. With sponsorship of an A.A.C.A. national director and after many trips to Dallas as well as phone calls and letters from our determined Region forefathers, we were certified.
Our first elected president was Bill Wahlberg. Other surviving members of the founding group include Barney Calvert and Charlie Worthen.
Since 1959 we have had dozens of Region presidents – in recent years some of them have been women. Fifty years ago, however, women were merely tag-a-longs. Soon the ladies formed their own auxiliary with 20 members and their own separate slate of officers. Surviving auxiliary members are Sophie Adcock, Louise Calvert and Barbara Wahlberg.
Parity was not to be, however, for the next decade or so. Men and women met in different rooms to discuss different subjects (cars and parts vs. antique clothes and club function planning). Luckily for all concerned, the ladies were soon embraced as full-fledged members with voting rights and have since held every elected or appointed office in the Gulf Coast Region.