A Brief History of the Winamac Old Auto Club
The Winamac Old Auto Club is the oldest car club in the northwest Indiana area. It was founded October 2, 1950 in a garage in Winamac, Indiana by 7 men who shared an interest in antique automobiles.
The club was initially called the Society for Collection and Preservation of Antique Autos (SFCAFOAA). Neil Pietz of Wanatah, IN was elected as the first steering wheel (President) and dues were initially set at $1.00 every quarter. The autos that the first members owned were mostly pre-WWI models and included a Maxwell touring car, a Dodge Brothers roadster, and several Model T Fords. It was decided that only cars made before 1931 would be eligible for membership. All members who attended the January 8, 1951 meeting were voted as being ‘charter members’ of the club. These charter members were:
Harold Brown – Star City
Bud Connelly – Winamac
Ed Mendel – Wanatah
Neil Pietz – Wanatah
Robert Oplinger – Valparaiso
Ernie Small – Knox
Ray Tetzlaff – Winamac
James Stepp of Winamac, one of the original 7 members from October 2, 1950, decided to drop out do to the high price of the quarterly dues.
In 1954 the members decided that the name was a little too long and hard to remember. In April of that year the name was officially changed to the Winamac Old Auto Club (WOAC).
From 1971 to 2005 the WOAC held an annual Car Show/Swap Meet. This function was held at the Lake County fairgrounds through 1984. In 1985 it was moved to the new Porter County fairgrounds. The last show was held in 2005.
Today the club has grown to 70+ families throughout the Northwest Indiana region. The Winamac Old Auto Club is a family and community oriented club dedicated to the preservation, restoration and recreation of antique automobiles of every make. Club activities during the year reflect that philosophy and include participation in car shows sponsored by other area clubs, local parades, picnics, drive outs, and displays of antique cars at senior centers, nursing homes and area businesses.
Monthly business meetings are currently held at Trinity Free Methodist Church in Merrillville, Indiana and a monthly newsletter called the "Squeak and Rattle" is published to keep members updated on events and activities. Anyone interested in antique automobiles and/or their history is welcome to join the club. You are not required to own an antique automobile in order to join.