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How it Started

Tim Sisson Rembers the Founding of the Club-March 1998

It all started with a casual comment by one of my co-workers at General Electric’s large appliance facility in Louisville (ed. note-this is in 1986.)  I had been working there about two weeks on a special project, it was springtime and people were starting to get their British cars out of hibernation.  Bill Fryrear mentioned that the Louisville British Sports Car Club was having a driving event the next week.  “What?  I said, “a British car Club?“Of course,” Bill told me, “We formed a car club for all British cars a while back and just have a blast doing things together.”

Well, I had to check this out, so next week I went on the drive with them.  It was a blast, so much so that the thought occurred to me that it would be a good thing to do in Cincinnati.  You see, I had been doing things with the Austin Healey Club in Cincinnati since the middle 70’s-but also had a Jaguar and I thought it would be nice to include Jaguars and -why not- all other types of British Cars.

The next step was to call some other British car owners I had met over the years and see if anyone else was interested.  I had met Larry Hutchinson through the Louisville club and he was a natural- someone who drove clear to Louisville to join a British car event had to have an interest (even if he did usually drive a yellow truck.)  The Halbauers were also on my list, they had come up to me at a car show in Lawrenceburg and I think had even talked about a car club in the past.  I had also met Elmer Jauch and Gordon Seurkamp at car shows and gave them a call. Several people from the Austin Healey Club were interested and joined us at the start; Jake Jacobs, Gene Schunk, and Dave Norman.  The word spread and soon others such as Bob Santero heard about the idea and called me.

Our first meeting was at what used to a Shoney’s on Northbend Road and I-74.  Actually, we didn’t know at the time it would be the first meeting for an established club, but it soon became apparent that there was enough interest to give it a go.  We set up a loose organization (emphasis on “loose”) with officers, a newsletter and dues.  We agreed that the club would emphasize social activities where we would bring our British cars, but that we would offer technical events too.

I’m happy to say that after all these years, I think the club still offers all of these activities to members, and even though my hiking and camping often pull me away, I still enjoy the British Car Club activities and people very much.

Sincerely, Tim Sission

 

 

Bob Santoro Remembers the Founding of the BCCGC-March 1998

Happy Birthday BCC!  I cannot believe years have passed since that cold drive my brother Lou and I experienced on the way to the meeting.  The meeting was held at what was Shoney’s at I-74 and Northbend Road.  I drove past there recently an Shoneys has become a Perkins.  In either case, those greasy spoon cooks could never match the oil slick the parking lot inherited that evening.

I found out about the meeting as most others in attendance did.  Tim Sisson had placed an ad asking if there was interest in forming a club.  The turnout was 13 people, not bad for a miserable night in January (ed. Note-January 1988.)  By the time we left, Tim was President, Elmer was the Treasurer and we had a plan to meet again in March for the first official meeting.

We did a bit of “tire kicking” in the parking lot that night, Tim drove his white Jaguar, I drove my weather tight and well heated Daimler (I am still shivering!). I hope the others forgive me, but I cannot remember the other cars, although I know there were others.

I recall having done the first few newsletters on a steam powered IBM computer which still occupies space in my basement.  Interestingly it still works as I was able to access the original club roster for Larry Hutchinson a couple weeks ago.  Some of those good people are still with us, others have moved away.

The first few years saw a great deal of growth.  Shoney’s soon became too small, we then visited a Pizza Hut on Ridge Road, a Red Lobster in Kenwood, The Carousel and other sites as well as the summer visits to Elmer’s place.

The first 10 were a great deal of fun and I look forward to our club introducing others to our great hobby. No British car owner should be on his or her own!  It’s your club! You have helped to make it what it is and participation will see us through the next 10 fun filled years.  Happy birthday!!

 

Ron and Sonja Halbauer Remember the Founding of the BCCGC-March 1998

Tim Sisson was doing work in Louisville and from time to time had attended the Louisville British Car Club meetings.  While he was home one weekend, he telephoned and asked if Ron and I would be interested in helping to forma a Jaguar or British Car Club.  Since we were members of a Jaguar club, we thought a British Car Club would appeal.  At early meetings, I recall the following who are still members; Tim Sission; Bob and Lou Santoro, Elmer Jauch, Larry Hutchinson, Dave Norman, Bill and Janice Roth, Gordon and Eleanor Suerkamp, and Bob and Marion Merten.

We continued to advertise monthly meetings at Shoney’s Restaurant and decided to look for a different restaurant where bar drinks were an option.  In the mother country it seems car groups meet at pubs.  Keeping with this new requirement, a central location and steady membership growth in mind, we met at two different LaRosa’s locations and then a Red Lobster that we outgrew.  We didn’t have the quiet and privacy of a private room, but we made do as we did not want to pay for a private room.

The person that volunteered to arrange activities and programs at meetings had to resign early on so Tim asked Ron and I to assume those responsibilities.  I recall Tim’s phone call each month- “What is the program at the next meeting?” or he’d offered an idea to pursue.  It kept us hopping and we usually had a speaker, etc. at each monthly meeting and an activity each month.

Our first Christmas Party was at the airport office complex in the room where Larry Hutchinson rehearsed an army reserve band.  We had to do a lot of improvising around the instruments as we wanted some English traditions in food and entertainment.  We decorated a small tree and Ron asked members to bring a fun gag British gift.  Our November drive that year was to a purveyor of British goods shop and many members purchased their gift exchange items.  Everyone brought a covered dish and utensils.  Our British ladies Marion Merten and a friend of the Merten’s made wonderful English Triffles for dessert.

I think we repeated our Christmas gathering venue the next year, but it was free.  The club provided favors, British crackers to pop.

The club compiled a directory of parts and service people recommended by members.  The first year was our first gathering with the Louisville British Sports Car Club at General Butler State Park.

The Austin Healey Club had a British car show at Diamond Oaks Campus (ed. Note-1987.)    The next year the British Car Club worked on the show held at Fairfield High School parking lot.

Then the hunt for more space with shade was easy as Larry Hutchinson arranged for the airport office complex.  We mowed grass, trimmed limbs, raked leaves et. In exchange for use of the area.

All the frugal hard work of the early years helped build the club treasure to its healthy status of today.

 

Larry Hutchinson Remembers the Founding of the Club-November 2023

I was also a member of the Louisville Club. I mentioned that I was from Greater Cincy and found out there were several people in the club that were from our area. We decided to get together and see if we could form our own club so we wouldn't have to drive so far to get our "car fix". Tim Sisson was the organizer and he contacted people he knew and we had our first get together at Shoney's. The enthusiasm was there and we started the club soon after.

Founding Members

BRIAN FLOYD*                                                    

JOHN FREEMAN                                                                                    

RON HOLBAUER*

 SONYA HOLBAUER*                                                                           

BOB HOLT*                                                                                                                                                

LARRY HUTCHINSON*

JAKE JACOBS*

ELMER JAUCH*

DOUG KENT*

BOB MERTEN

BILL MORGAN

JIM NIEMEYER

DAVE NORMAN

GINA PARRY*

BILL ROTH

BOB SANTORO*

LOU SANTORO*

JOE SCHREIBISE

GENE SCHUNK*

GORDON SEURKAMP

TIM SISSON*

KEVIN SWAIN*

ALLEN THOMAS

THOMAS WILT

* Indicates members who attended first organizational meeting (founding members) Others were present     at 2nd club meeting April 1988

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