History of TCVCC: 40 years of fun and frivolity
by: Mike Mucci
The Treasure Coast Vintage Car Club, began in 1980 as an independent club with a diverse group of local Stuart residents with a common interest in vintage vehicles, including an insurance agent, radio personality, real estate agent, lawyer, surgeon, photographer, auto detailer, food vendor and several others. The group was quickly joined by others interested in old cars, and by 1983 the club grew to over 150 members in Martin and St. Lucie Counties.
Among the founders was Rick Carroll, an agent for vintage vehicle insurance, who valued the club affiliation for his clients to secure preferred rates. Another was radio personality and promoter Chip Green, who was heavily involved in the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) as a show promoter and active judge in his previous Ft. Lauderdale Region. Chip became the club’s Charter President in 1981. Feeling that their fledgling local organization had enough critical mass to be considered as a Region of AACA, the organizers soon petitioned AACA to accept the club as a Region. That request was granted August 22, 1983.
Now officially listed as the “Treasure Coast Region, AACA,” the club retains its original familiar name as the Treasure Coast Vintage Car Club, a Region of AACA.
As those first years moved on, it was clearly evident that this would be a fun-loving organization driven by entertaining meetings, frequent tours and crowd-pleasing shows.
In the club’s first full year, the inaugural Fall Festival of Cars brought overflow crowds to the show field at Indian River Plantation. The Plantation kitchen provided the food concession, while WSTU radio sponsored the entertainment stage featuring the Martin County High School Band, barber shop quartets and other featured entertainment. Road trolleys were enlisted by Rick Carroll Insurance to provide transportation to and from remote parking areas. All-in-all, it was a total success for local residents who enjoyed a free day of wholesome fun and entertainment.
The venue remained at IRP for several years until the show field became closed-in due to ongoing residential construction. Fall Festival maintained its success as it migrated to other venues, including the fairgrounds, downtown Stuart, Tradition at St. Lucie West and St. Lucie Botanical Gardens. As time went on, the Fall Festival name became common to many events in the area. Confusion reigned over which Fall Festival was what! So we changed our show to the “Cars of Our Lives” show—or the “COOL” show—still every Fall.
With the early success of Fall Festival, the club was recognized as a show promoter and was soon in the position of taking over a Spring show in downtown Stuart, previously sponsored by another local car club. In a few years, after it was discovered the downtown park was a floodwater retention area, that show was discontinued, giving way to other events less prone to flood damage to old cars!
So here we go: Back in 1982, two of our members, Dwight Geiger and Mike Mucci—neighbors at the time--were reminiscing about the “old days” commuting from their homes in Broward County to Gainesville and the University of Florida in their college years. They came upon the idea of planning a nostalgia tour for old times’ sake. The three-day weekend spring tour would stick to back roads (there were no thru-ways in the old days!) and it would patronize “mom and pop” motels and restaurants. Upon announcement to TCVCC membership, the tour amassed a group of 32 willing souls to take that first tour. Despite the fact that the motels had no pools and shuffleboard courts hadn’t been used in years, the first tour was deemed a success, eventually evolving into what has now become the “Cracker Tour” through parts of Florida seldom seen by our club members. The Cracker tour is now hosted by Dave and Amy Brown every spring—usually immediately after Florida’s winter tourist season ends.
Not to be outdone by their success at filling the springtime activity gap, the Browns more recently inaugurated the “Hot August Nights” tour, affectionately referred to as the “I don’t care” tour, in deference to August’s sultry weather. Again, success prevailed despite the heat and the tour responded with destinations that assure some excellent dining and relaxing poolside parties.
During the early formative years, the club had no official “newsletter.” Instead a simple hand-drawn fold-over post card was used to announce meetings and events as well as tidbits of pertinent and often frivolous information. It worked for a while. Then came Vintage Times, a true magazine-size newsletter printed monthly and mailed to the entire membership. It is worth mentioning that for many years, our valued member Pearl Jackson hammered out the paste-up, “licked and sticked” the mailing labels and stamps, trundled to the post office--boxes of mailings in hand--and fed us our monthly dose of club news. We are forever grateful to Pearl for her tireless efforts. More recently, the slightly re-designed format is handled with new, state-of-the-art techniques and swiftly e-mailed to the membership. They don’t build newsletters like they used to, and that is a good thing.
From the very beginning, our officers and board members have worked tirelessly to plan interesting membership meetings and community-wide events; each board member hosting one event as well as the board meetings—usually at their homes. It all proves that when there are things to get done, work turns to fun when people gather in the spirit of camaraderie. Or as we like to say “It’s all about the journey.”
Chairman of the Board
Jo Ann Smith
1st Vice President
2nd VP Membership
Sargent at Arms
A Few Vintage Photos from our Archives
A special thanks to Andre Rayman for these wonderful images.