The AACA held its 83rd Annual Meeting in Philadelphia from February 7th through the 9th. These meetings are great ways for members to socialize, make new connections, learn something new, and find out what’s going on at the national level or in other regions. This year’s meeting did not disappoint and even held some new surprises for attendees.
This year’s theme was “Women in Automotive History” and showcased a special series of speakers and seminars focusing on women drivers and innovators who helped shape the automotive industry and hobby. Speakers included Constance Smith, author of Damsels in Design: Women Pioneers in the Automotive Industry, 1939-1959. Constance, a former designer for General Motors, presented at the First Lady’s Breakfast and was also available for book signings. Other speakers included: Terry Bond who hosted seminars on the racing career of Joan Newton Cuneo as well as women’s roles in automotive art and advertising,; Chuck Crane who discussed many female innovators who made significant contributions to automotive history; and Sally Barnett whose seminar explored the stories of women drivers such as Blanche Stuart Scott and the ambulance drivers of WWI. The series received very positive feedback and shed some much needed light on an area of our hobby that is often overlooked.
Another major focus of this year’s meeting was the new National Headquarters building. Designs for our new HQ were proudly on display. The first floor will be dedicated to offices and will include an area to display cars, while the second floor will hold the library. On a personal note, this is perhaps the most exciting as new features of the library are to include cold storage, a media studio, and a digitization lab. Also, the library’s fast growing collections will now be housed in a glass enclosed closed stacks. None of this would be possible without the support of AACA’s members. Apart from making a previous sizeable donation to the building fund, President Annette Yost also presented a check on behalf of the Gettysburg Region to the library at the President’s Dinner on Friday night. Many other regions did the same. Every little bit will help give our club the HQ it deserves. After all, this is our nerve center.
Attendees also got to enjoy the trade show, hospitality room sponsored by J.C. Taylor, and the awards banquet on Saturday night. It was great to see old friends (several people from our region made an appearance) and make some new ones. I highly recommend going to at least one Annual Meeting if you’ve never been. There’s so much to do, and if you get some down time, Philly is a wonderful city to explore.
Hope to see you next year!
~Angelica Yost, GRAACA Webmaster & Newsletter Editor