The initial gathering of Ford enthusiasts who have now formed regional group 94 of the Early Ford V-8 Club of America was on July 4th 1977, significant as American Independence Day. This group got together at a picnic at Bonython Park to discuss the possibility of forming an Early Ford V-8 Club in South Australia. At this gathering chaired by Malcolm Morris and Rod Henderson, it was agreed that there was enough interest locally in Adelaide for a club to be formed. The decision to become a charter of the incredibly successful American Club was firstly to take advantage of the “V-8 Times” for information and communication and secondly to enable us to utilise a proven, working constitution thus reducing our paperwork making meetings more fun allowing more time to talk about early Fords.
The second gathering still unofficial on September 20th 1977 was to elect an acting President and Secretary in order to get club membership and activities going and to apply officially to the American Club for a charter. Twenty-one people were present. Malcolm Morris elected acting President, Rod Henderson acting Secretary. A letter sent by the Committee resulted in South Australia being awarded a Chapter status and we became Chapter 94 of The Early Ford V-8 Club of America on the 9th October 1977, the first Australian Early Ford V-8 Club to be awarded a Chapter.
On 28th October our inaugural dinner was held with the Waterfall Gully restaurant being a most enjoyable venue. The food and atmosphere was excellent and several early V-8 Fords were on display in the car park under floodlights. A taped discussion with American regional group chairman, Vera Hanson was played and the club’s charter was officially presented by special guest, Eddie Ford of “Restored Cars” magazine.
The dinner was attended by over forty people and was a memorable way to start the group. Colour slides of the V-8 Club’s West Coast Meet, San Diego meeting were shown.
First Official Meeting and Elections
The group’s first official meeting was on Sunday morning 13th November 1977 in Bonython Park. Amidst a picnic atmosphere, wives and children made the most of the park facilities while members held the meeting.
A barbecue lunch and bench session finished the day and application forms for the club officers were made available.
As with the American club, no on the spot nominations are made, instead, people who actually want the positions must apply, stating personal details of why you feel you you can do the job. All forms were posted to an electoral returns officer, who printed the applicants’ details and forwarded them to the members for voting purposes. The results were published by Mr A.D. Paterson, J P the Returns Officer and were as follows:
Malcolm Morris – President, David Morris – Secretary, Don Bradshaw – Treasurer and Executive Committee – Barrie Foster, Malcolm Jury and Phil Hart.
Activities to date
The groups; next activity was on 10th December the opening of the new wing of the Birdwood Museum in the Adelaide Hills. Cars from various clubs assembled in nearby Gumeracha and ran in convoy to Birdwood led by SA Premier Don Dunstan in a 1911 Silver Ghost Rolls Royce.
On display at Birdwood, the group’s cars caused considerable interest and several new memberships were taken. A commemorative dash plaque was issued to all attending cars. A separate feature on this run will be in “Restored Cars.”
On 29th January the Model A Ford Club held its 50th Anniversary Rally and Concours in Adelaide. The Early Ford V-8 Club was invited to attend as a group, along with other vintage car owners. The cars drove via Kersbrook to Collingrove Station and a lunch and concours was held with awards presented Saturday night at the “Red Apple” restaurant dinner.
Sunday 12th February the group attended and supported the SA Rod and Custom Club Swap Meet and many of the members ran successful stands. A lot of desirable parts were brought along and very few members did not go home with parts for project cars.
On Sunday 19th March the group will drive to Clare, in the mid-north for a barbeque, swap meet and social day organised by the Northern Areas Car Club.
A garage tour of members will be organised.
A rival day will be staged with the Chevrolet Car Club with activities such as tug-of-war between a 1933 Ford and the same year Chev, in addition to a lunch and bull session between members.
As only 6 club meetings a year will be held with more emphasis on activities, regular meetings will be made more interesting by discussion, how-to lectures and so on. At the next meeting, hub-caps will be displayed and discussed by members.
The group is running an annual event, quite different, which we hope will become a regular calendar event for both SA and interstate Vintage, Veteran and classic car owners. Details will be published in “Restored Cars” next issue but will be held in late October or early November 1978.
In 1979, the Early Ford V-8 Club joined with the Model T Club and the Model A Club to create the All Ford Day of South Australia. This arrangement continued until 2002.
The Club caters for Ford V-8 vehicles from 1932 to 1954 which encompasses the years in which the Sidevalve V-8 was produced in Australia. The Club produces a monthly magazine called "The V-8 Views", printed in A5 size which has won many awards over the years.
Then in 2005, in line with the other Chapters of the Parent Club, the title was changed to Regional Group 94.
By 1978 membership stood at 36 with bi-monthly meetings being held at Flinders Lodge Hotel. Members did not have to own a Ford V-8 to join.
Another noted guest at a subsequent meeting of the Club was the late Lewis Bandt, designer of the first Coupe Utility in the world. A Visitors Book was established at that time and is still in use today.
Every 2 years there is the Early Ford V-8 National Meet held on a rotation basis in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
The South Australian Club hosted the fourth Early Ford V-8 National in 1994 at Morphettville, followed by the eighth in 2002 at Hahndorf, and the twelfth in 2010 at Tanunda. We will host the sixteenth National in 2018 at Renmark.
In 2001 we started the Ford Invitation Picnic catering for Ford Clubs and their members also donating the day to a different charity each year.
Over the years, the club has met at many different venues. From 1977, we met at Flinders Lodge Hotel in the city, then in 1980, moved to the Hilton Motor Inn, also in the city. In 1985, we moved to “Brightlands”, Tea Tree Gully. The next move was to the Model T Club Rooms at Eastwood in 1990, until the Club Rooms were burnt down. The next venue chosen was the Hall at 999 North East Road, Modbury in December 1992.