Rides of the Past: Antique Car Club Both Nostalgic and Philanthropic
Every once in a while, locals catch a glimpse of a perfectly restored 1930 Model A Ford.
If the sight of it conjures up images of Al Capone and Eliot Ness in a battle of wits, it is because the Ford driven around Moore County is the very car used in the 1987 movie "The Untouchables."
The Model A, owned by a member of the Sandhills chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), is just one of many classic cars making its home here.
All the members' cars are notable in their own right.
A locally owned Jaguar was named an AACA Grand National Winner, two 1940s Packards represent the era's premiere luxury automobile, and dozens of others offer a glimpse into the past.
Antique automobile hobbyists restore classic cars not just to preserve the vehicle, but also to pay homage to the time in history it represents.
"We have an interest in preserving our national heritage," says Audrey Bronk, one of the Sandhills chapter's charter members. "We do it from a love of keeping these cars for future generations."
Bronk and her husband, Charles, have owned about 10 classic cars over the last four decades. Their first was a 1931 Chevrolet.
"When I was in college, my grandfather gave me his 1931 Chevrolet," Bronk says. "I drove that car until we were married in 1952. In the 1970s, we happened to see a car just like the one I had on a country road. We stopped just to see it and ended up buying it. That started our car collection."
The Bronks' spontaneous purchase is an example of another reason classic car enthusiasts collect: nostalgia. The club's treasurer, Larry Harter, says people relate to the cars that were in fashion when they were in high school and early 20s.
"Right now, the muscle cars are popular, and people are interested in getting that car they always wanted," says Harter.
Harter has owned seven Corvettes over the course of his collecting and today has a 1948 Mercury Coupe. His first classic -purchase was a 1929 Cadillac rumble seat coupe. He wanted to show the car in parades and joined the Sandhills chapter of the club shortly after it launched in 1998.
The club is represented at almost every parade in the county, and members do cruise-ins at local -businesses and nursing homes. Their biggest event is the annual car show held each September. The show, held this year at Rassie Wicker Park, is one of the largest AACA shows in the state.
Almost every year, the club has money left over from the show. They donate the excess to local charities, including the Cameron Boys Camp, Red Cross and Camp Duncan.
The club gave money to the Pinehurst Fire Department to restore an antique firetruck, and they contribute to the -automotive technologies department at Sandhills Community College.
The charitable aspect of the club is important to its 100-plus members.
"We didn't want to be just a social club where we got together to eat dinner," says Bronk. "We wanted to do something to give back to the community. We have given thousands of dollars to local charities."
That is not to say the members don't derive great pleasure from their hobby. They do, and they also find it gratifying to share their cars with the public.
"People like to see these wonderfully restored cars," says Bronk.
Harter adds, "We want to keep these automobiles on the road for other people to enjoy."
For more information about the Sandhills chapter of the AACA, contact Bronk at (910) 949-2420.
Contact freelance writer Melanie Coughlin at email@example.com.
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