Interesting Quotes from AMEC’s Past.
August 1, 1954, Instructions for the members at an Edinburg Time Trials
“There is a definite possibility that there will be sound film coverage of this event for WRGB. Therefore, each member is enjoined to wear his top down, windscreen folded, and loudest (Ferrari-type) muffler whenever possible”
Most members’ cars were small convertible type English sports cars with folding windshields
August 29, 1954 Gloversville NY
“AMEC Economy Run. 13 entrants were present. Gas tanks were topped off at Sherwood Smith’s station, sealed, odometer readings were recorded and the cars were weighed with driver and passengers in the car. Cars were started at one-minute intervals and followed a prescribed course of approximately 250 miles. A lunch break was taken at the half way mark of the course. At the end of the run, gas tanks were re- topped, mileage recorded, and results compiled. Winners were computed on the basis of best ton miles per gallon”
The winner was Ray Miller (Sunbeam Talbot) 57.4 TMPG
Second was Fred Dickey (Hillman Minx) 53.2 TMPG
October 11, 1954 Monthly meeting.
“Mr. Ward Allen and Mr. Malcolm Buffum reported on a possible hill climb site near the proposed club course site. It is a country macadam road, approximately one mile long, with sufficient grade and turns to make an interesting hill climb. Both Mr. Allen and Mr. Buffum pointed out however, that due to a few tricky spots on the course it would be in the best interest of safety if all members cars were equipped with safety belts, and crash helmets worn.”
When was the last time you entered a race without seat belts and a helmet?
November 8, 1954 Monthly meeting.
Mr. Sherm Haven reported that he is nearly completed with his set up to make crash helmets for club members.
Ever make your own helmet?
August 12, 1955 Results of the “El Ciento Millia Scotch Lite Rally”
1st Buffum and Buffum
2nd Al White and Son
3rd Murphy and Murphy
Swan – Dick Vedder
“Thru a downpour as only this part of the country has, apparently, the rally went on. Some lost the way, a few bottomed on the roads, but a good time was had by all. 14 entries.13 Finished”
Two interesting items: This was a nighttime rally starting at 10PM and going throughout the night, and it’s the first mention of Dick Vedder in the minutes of the meetings. Dick is AMECs longest active member. He joined in 1954 and is still a full participating member in 2003 with plans to run the Street Legal class in ice racing in 2004.
January 12, 1956 “Apple Orchard Autocross” announcement
“Here is a really unique kind of competition that is suitable for all cars from Volkswagens to Jaguars. A .7 mile course has been plotted over existing lanes in the Fo Castle Farms Apple Orchard. The surface varies from smooth to rough, but in all cases is safe for cars with low clearance (if properly driven). Topography is varied, and the sharpest turn is 180 degrees. Cars will be run and timed individually, and it is likely that there will be opportunity for three runs. –Best time counts. Practice will begin at 12 noon, timed runs at 1 PM. For those who choose to run, an entry fee of 50¢ will be charged at the starting line. Attractive liquid prizes will be awarded for the first three places.”
What do you think the liquid prizes were? The event was jointly sponsored by AMEC and SCCA the two clubs did many events together with other local clubs in the early years.
April 9, 1956 From the minutes of the monthly meeting.
“Constitutional amendments listed in the April AMEC NEWS were moved by Winter. Two further amendments were suggested by Hull and Buffum and accepted by Winter.
Hull: By-Laws, Article 1, Section 1 to read—Applications for membership shall be filed with the secretary after being signed by the applicant and by two sponsors who shall be members of the club.
Buffum: By-Laws, Article 1, section 2 to read—Applicant to membership shall be eligible for election to membership after he has attended two meetings and has participated in or officiated at two events.”
So, if you wanted to become an AMEC member in the early years, you had to be sponsored by two AMEC members in good standing, attend two monthly meetings, and work or participate at two AMEC events, then you were voted in or out by a majority of the club by a postcard mailing that was sent out to the members and returned. Current AMEC member Bruce Carlton was told by long-time past President and member till his death, Bill Smith, that “… to become a member of this club you had to be a cousin of Jesus Christ” A membership voting process conducted at the monthly meetings was used alone from the early ‘60’s until the 90’s without any other criteria such as those noted above. It’s not that hard now! All you need is $20.
March 1956 AMEC NEWS
“This is the first issue of your AMEC NEWS……. The name of this paper has been arbitrarily chosen. A contest for naming the paper will be announced in the next issue. (Please note Mike Gould and I picked the name for the paper and we will be two of the judges for the contest, so your ideas had better be good).” Sam Beardsley, Editor
If you were ever an AMEC member you will note that AMEC’s newsletter never changed its name. They must have liked AMEC NEWS. In this issue which was supposed to be a monthly deal were notices for AMEC events, SCCA events, Dates for some driving schools, Tentative plans to attend the Schenectady Hobby Show to promote the club and the announcement of “ The Reticular Rallye”
APRIL 1956 AMEC NEWS
“AMEC Participation in the Hobby Show
With considerable effort on the part of Various AMEC members, the display for the club at the Schenectady Hobby Show on March 22-24 was a great success. Under the chairmanship of Bud Mason, the show committee and volunteers set up and manned the exhibit. Three cars, a Jaguar, a VW convertible and an Austin Healy, caused considerable comment. (Offers to purchase were even made at the exhibit). Moreover, the movie of the Mille Miglia was a major attraction. It is understood that Dave Hastings even went further when he was manning the booth and gave as an added attraction movies of the Soapstone Trials to further the knowledge of the general public on sports car activities—-clearly taking the activities of AMEC out of the “Hotrod” classification, if you’ll pardon the expression.”
“Charlton Trials Course Construction to Begin
Back muscles and bulldozers will be needed for construction of the Charlton Trials course on property generously donated by Ed Rindfleisch, Sr. Planning and layout will be done during April, and we hope to begin work the first of May or thereabouts.
This is AMEC’s first real opportunity to have a place all our own in which to play, We’ve got 60 acres of land, jeeps, plows, and even a road scraper at our disposal, but we’ll need picks and shovels, too.”
The trials track in Charlton was located off of Maple Ave. AMEC ran many events there from mid 1956 to mid 1963 when the property was sold to a new owner. The club started with monthly time trials and at one point went to Monday night events 3 times a month. They ran there year round doing dirt trials in the summer and ice and snow trials in winter and mud trials in the spring and fall .In reading the minutes of the meetings from this period the club focused on the trials track, and road rally’s.
AUGUST 1956 AMEC NEWS
“ Sidelights on the Ridge Runners Rally- By David Hastings
The instructions were cleverly conceived (though some say “diabolically”) in that no two competitors had exactly the same route to follow. The result was, of course, that you were likely to see other rally cars going in directions that seemed very illogical. Such antics call for a tremendous amount of self-confidence, and represent good rally planning. The lesson it teaches is “ignore the other guy; he’s not nearly as smart as you”
The art of designing a rally is something that AMEC almost never does any more. Current member Randy Koehler has done a few great rally’s for AMEC, one was similar to this called the “Thrown for a loop” rally in the 90’s where cars were running against each other and it could really goof on you. It’s very hard and time consuming to set up a well-run rally and the members of AMEC did some great ones over the years.
NOVEMBER 1956…AMEC NEWS
“Proposal for the Bud Mason Memorial Trophy
During the course of the year (Jan-Dec) points will be awarded for participation in events as follows
1st Place 10 Rallies: Heads 20 total
2nd Place 7 Assistants 3 each
3rd Place” 4 Trials, etc Heads 15 total
Finishers 1 Assistants 2 each”
That member who acquires the most number of points during the year will win the trophy.
Harry “Bud” Mason was a very active member of AMEC until his death driving his Arnolt Bristol up the Mount Equinox Hill Climb road Skyline Drive in the summer of 1956. Bud was in charge of all external publicity for AMEC from 1954 till his death. For those who have never heard of him he worked for WGY and WRGB TV At WGY he was a DJ and had a Friday afternoon Sports Car show which aired at 6:15. At WRGB he was the third host of the “Bread Time Stories” show also known as the Freddie Friehofer show that we remember as kids. With Buds contacts who knows where the club could have gone. The Bud Mason memorial Trophy was given every year from 1957 thru about 1982. The last recorded recipient found in the AMEC minutes of the meetings was current member Glen Watkins (Corvair D class ice racer) Glen thinks he has the trophy tucked away somewhere. We hope to display it at the 50th anniversary party in 2004. It was inscribed every year with the name of that year’s recipient. The following year it was given to the next winner. And a smaller replica trophy was to be given to keep.