Our History

A history of Sugarloaf Mountain Region of A.A.C.A., Incorporated

by Charles H Zierdt, former SMR/AACA Historian, March 7, 2001

In 1969, Irvin L. long and other upper Montgomery County members of the National Capital Region, AACA, traveled 50 miles, each way, to attend club meetings in the District of Columbia. In fact, Irvin Long had been doing this for 16 years. Many of the National Capital Region events were planned for areas even further south of the District of Columbia area. Irvin talked to other antique car hobbyist in his area of upper Montgomery County and was assured, by at least 25, that they would support the formation of a new region. On August 21, 1969, Irving wrote to Fritz Van Winkle, AACA Vice President for regions, asking for information pertinent to the creation of a new region. In a return letter, dated September 10, 1969, Mr. Van Winkle offered to present Long’s application, provided that he received it by October 9, in time for the AACA Board meeting in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He asked for a letter of approval from the National Capital Region and he asked for a calculation of the distance from upper Montgomery County to the meeting hall of the National Capital Region. Cliff Jenkins, President of the National Capital Region, transmitted the National Capital Region Board’s approval to Irvin and to Mr. Vanwinkle.

A Certificate of Charter from AACA President, Albert Whiting, and Secretary, Henry L Heisinger, was dated October 10, 1969. Pretty fast work! Further, Articles of Incorporation for Sugarloaf Mountain Region of A.A.C.A., Incorporated, were created and processed by Bernard T Welsh, a prominent area attorney, and known collector of antique cars.  Barney directed that letter heads, and anything bearing the club‘s name, should read, Sugarloaf Mountain Region of A.A.C.A., Incorporated.


The 21 Charter members were:

Case Brandenburg
Joe Brown
Charlie Canova
Joe Canova
Herbert Collins
Thomas Geiser
Sam Gladhill
William Hanson
Kenneth King
Harry Kline
J. Robert Lillard, Jr.

Irvin Long
Russell Long
Calvin Martin
David Martin
Franklin Notnagle
Claude Owen
Robert Supina
Deets Warfield, Sr.
Elmo Wurdeman
E. Eugene Zimmerman

The new club got off to a characteristic fast start, holding their maiden tour on October 26, 1969. The tour included climbing the club’s namesake, Sugarloaf Mountain, and dinner at nearby Comus Inn. This event was featured in the Frederick News Post.

The maiden tour was followed by a trip to Harrisburg Pennsylvania, on May 10, 1972, to visit Zimmerman‘s Automobilorama.  Another tour took them to Adamstown, Maryland, for the Carroll Manor Steam Festival on August 1, 1970, which was led by Board member, Sam Gladhill.  On Sunday, August 23, 1970, Sugarloaf Mountain Region (SMR) visited Keith’s Cadillac Ranch in Hyattsville, Maryland.

The club’s first Activities Meet was held on the spacious grounds of the Damascus American Legion in Damascus, Maryland, on September 20, 1970.  One Hundred Fifty antique cars participated. Members of the Nation’s Capital Model T Ford Club demonstrated their Take Apart Car, a disassembled Model T that is reassembled in minutes.  The group assembled the Model T in eight minutes and drove it off of the field. Members of the Model T club, including several SMR members, that were part of the assembly team included Woody Woodson, C.W. Owen, Bill Herndon, Joe Canova, Bob Lillard, Mel Torney, and Bob Russell. Other car games held during the event included a May Pole contest and a Jousting tournament.  Awards were given for the best male and female costume, the longest distance traveled, a tough luck award, the car with the largest engine, the oldest car, and the most outstanding car.

A family style fried chicken dinner was served in the Legion hall. At that time, SMR members did most of its own cooking for many events, however, this dinner, was prepared by the Legion, with service help by the SMR members.

The first activities made was followed, quickly, by another event as SMR members went to nearby Barnesville on Sunday, September 27, 1970, to celebrate Barnesville Day. In 1976, members returned to Barnesville to participate in it’s Bicentennial parade.

The first annual banquet was held January 30, 1971, at the Peter Pan Inn, in nearby Urbana, Maryland. This banquet included an exhibit of historic items, collectible items, and the installation of new officers, following the dinner. There were speeches, then dancing to band music and socializing until late in the evening.

The first winter Parts Meet was held March 28, 1971, at the Frederick Fairgrounds. This indoor/outdoor Parts Meet has grown in size and popularity through years. It is a two day event and attended by a large number of vendors.

The first tour for 1971 was on Sunday, April 25, and was named the Rain and Curtain tour because of the possible need for side curtains.  A country road tour, it wound up at the Tridelphia and Brighton reservoir Dam for picnicking. The early spring tour soon became known as the Cobweb Tour (as we get rid of the cobwebs of winter) and later also named the Irvin Long Memorial Tour.

On Sunday, October 3, 1971, Sam Gladhill arranged an SMR outing to B. D. “Buck” Gladhill’s barn, in Damascus, Maryland.  Mr. Gladhill’s barn contained an amazing collection of fire engines, farm tractors, farm machinery, household furniture, clothes, kitchen utensils, milking machines, carpentry tools, and much, much more!  The club returned a number of times.  Buck Gladhill was an interesting host and welcomed visitors to his museum.

In 1972, Marriott hotels sponsored a race. They started cars from California, Minneapolis, and Boston with a destination being New Orleans to promote the opening of their new New Orleans Marriott hotel. The entries started at staggered intervals. The Boston entry broke down in New York. To save the race for the east, David Martin entered the race with his family in his 1920 Locomobile. The Martins started at the DC Twin Bridges Marriott and were escorted by members Buzz and Virginia Potter in their 1929 Packard Phaeton. Five days later, the Locomobile entered New Orleans, first, winning the race.  

SMR has hosted several major AACA meets, including, in 1975, the Eastern National Spring Meet held at the Frederick Fairgrounds. In 1995, the AACA Founders Tour was headquartered at the Holiday Inn in Frederick. In 1997, the Eastern Spring National Meet held at the Gaithersburg Fairgrounds.

SMR publishes a bi-monthly newsletter, known as the Piston Popper. The cover art features a Model A Ford roadster flying a guy and a gal in a large piston with connecting rod and exiting a hole through the hood, drawn by Claude “Worth” Owen.