An introduction to the Early Ford Car Club.
The Early Ford Car Club of South Africa, is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the following objectives:
• The restoration, preservation and operation of Ford vehicles, as well as those of other manufacturers, which are 25 years
and older, or any other vehicle which they deem worthy of preservation, (ownership of such vehicles is not a prerequisite to membership).
• To encourage road courtesy and good driving.
• To hold talks, lectures and similar events of interest to motorists.
• To co-operate by affiliation or otherwise with all or any other bodies, institutions,. Or clubs concerned directly or indirectly with motoring.
Our Humble Beginnings
In May 1967, a group of four Model A Ford enthusiasts, motivated by Bob Saddler, got together and decided to form an old motor car club exclusively for the restoration of Ford cars.
On the 7 May of that year the birth of the Model A Ford and Post Vintage Club was registered (to be changed later to the Early Ford Car Club of SA), and the first official meeting took place at the D.F. Malan Airport on that Sunday, attended by about six founder members: John Roderick, Frans Delhez, Bob Saddler, John Home, John Rhoode, and Ray de Bruyn.
This became the monthly venue for some time, and those were the days when parking was no problem at the airport and tea and scones cost 10c. The club got off to a slow start as it originally catered for Ford cars only. A club emblem was top priority, and I was given the task of having one designed. Having no artistic talents, I just took a front end photograph of my own Model A Ford and bribed the company artist to design something around it. The resultant design was unanimously accepted by the Committee, and this is still the Club emblem today.
Right from its inception the Ford Club encouraged family participation in Club events, and this aspect of Club policy was largely responsible for the success of the EFCC and above all, the happy atmosphere and cameraderie for which the Club is known. Regular monthly meetings were held, the venue later being changed to the Hohenort Hotel in Constantia where, on the second Sunday of the month, tea and scones and old car chatter were enjoyed by members. Any member who came without his family was immediately asked for an explanation!
Fun runs and treasure hunts were organised, and these were always great fun and well attended, so much so that the membership was increasing so rapidly that the Hohenort Hotel was unable to cater for us any more and alternative arrangements had to be made.
One of our Committee members had some influence in the right circles and we now enjoy excellent Clubhouse facilities at the Cape Showgrounds for a nominal fee – our ladies providing an excellent tea and sometimes catering for up to 200 people. In July 1975, it was decided to change the Club name to The Early Ford Car Club of SA, as it was felt that the old name was too much of a mouthful and also gave the impression of catering only for the period 1928 to 1940.
On 14 June 1973, the Club became a Member of SAVVA whom we still enthusiastically support as we were quick to realise, like I am sure all other vintage car clubs, the enormous advantage of belonging to such an organisation. Although the Club started off as a one make club, we quickly found that this was not practical, as many of our own members owned a variety of makes, and although the name still gives the impression of us being a one make Club, we do in fact welcome all makes of cars.
Club newsletters were and still are sent out on a monthly basis – the very first ones being written by the Chairman himself on a sheet of foolscap paper. This was continued for some years, and it was only in January 1982 that our newsletter in its present attractive format was designed, and we find it a most acceptable means of keeping our members, particularly country members, advised of Club activities. Main functions of the year have become annual events and are always extremely well attended. As a result of the Club’s popularity, a Chapter was formed in Durban a few years ago and more recently in Beaufort West. In fact, so enthusiastic were the Beaufort West members that they invited us there for a weekend – certainly an ambitious effort on behalf of the eleven EFCC cars that tackled the long drive – what a weekend! They in turn have visited us on numerous occasions, as well as members from the Durban Chapter.
One of the Club’s greatest triumphs was when we hosted the 1985 Total National Vintage Tour. The enthusiasm with which the organising Committee tackled this project surpassed all expectations. Although the event is now history, letters of appreciation are still coming in, all bearing the same message: “Thanks for one of the best organised tours I have ever attended”. Many of these letters came from veteran rallyists. To sum up, I would say that the success of the EFCC lies in the fact that there is complete co-operation between Committee and members.
Raymond de Bruyn
(This early history of the EFCC was written by Raymond de Bruyn especially for the 1988 Total Post-45 National Tour brochure. Ed)