During the summer of 1964, Sterling Zimmerman wrote a letter to Lynn Zettlemoyer, then editor of Lehigh Valley Region’s “Body Squeaks,” concerning the situation of many Berks County residents needing an antique car club. These persons were not members of the Antique Automobile Club of America, but were friends of Zimmerman and had mutual interests in the field of antique automobiles. At that particular time, nothing was done pertaining to this original written request for an antique car club.
However, the first unofficial gathering of these Berks County car buffs was held on Friday evening, December 4, 1964, at the Kempton Hotel, Kempton, Pennsylvania. In attendance were Sterling Zimmerman, Royden Dotterer, Donald Peters, Lee and Clark Hummel, Otto Gruber, Robert Rhode, and George Stump. Mr. Stump, already well-known in AACA circles as a member of the hobby and an expert car upholsterer, had enlisted the aid of his friend, George R. Norton, Jr., of Reiffton, Pennsylvania, in setting up this meeting with Zimmerman and his friends. The one important accomplishment that first evening was the decision to hold another meeting which the public would be invited to attend.
Thus it was January of 1965 that a definite step was taken to form a club devoted to antique automobiles. An announcement of the formation meeting appeared in a January 1965 issue of the weekly newspaper, “The Kutztown Patriot.” The meeting was held on a Friday evening of the same month, again at the Kempton Hotel. Also attending with George Stump was George Norton, Vice President of Publications and Past President of the national organization of the Antique Automobile Club of America. Upon Norton’s arrival and prior to the meeting starting, it was requested that Norton talk first via telephone with Zimmerman, who was unable to attend this second meeting since he was recuperating from a hospital visit requiring surgery. Norton’s knowledge was invaluable when the group discussed the major decision which had to be made that evening – whether or not the assembled persons wanted to form as an official Region of the national AACA and enjoy extra benefits such as liability insurance, provided free by the national organization. After both avenues were thoroughly discussed, it was agreed by all to form an official Region of the AACA.
In order to present a petition to the parent organization, everyone was required first to join the national AACA. Sterling Zimmerman served as Acting Director. An official name was needed for the Region. After much discussion, Otto Gruber submitted the name, “Ontelaunee Region,” which was unanimously agreed upon. With this phase accomplished, Norton then presented this petition for a charter at the national Board meeting held during the 29th annual meeting in Philadelphia, on February 5, 1965. With the national AACA Board members acting in our favor by granting a charter, Norton was able to report back at our next meeting on February 12, 1965, that we were an official Region of the AACA. Again, this Friday evening the meeting was held in the dining room of the Kempton Hotel, courtesy of the proprietor, George Wessner.
It was here that the election of officers was held with the following results: Director, Sterling Zimmerman; Vice-Director, George Stump; Treasurer, Royden Dotterer; and Secretary, Lynn Zettlemoyer. Midway through the meeting following the election, Zettlemoyer asked that his name be stricken from the position of Secretary. Since he had agreed to serve as Editor for the future regional newsletter, he felt that it would be detrimental to the newsletter to have the Editor assume two positions. The previous motion was retracted and changed so the offices of Secretary and Treasurer were combined. Dotterer accepted both offices. This proved to be an excellent move, since he continued (most effectively) for the next seven years. In addition, Zettlemoyer announced the name of the newsletter to be “Tin ‘N Brass.”
During the February meeting, it was agreed that the annual dues be $2.00 per year for a member and the member’s family. It was also decided to hold the regional business meetings the last Friday of the month. As time was growing short, it was impossible to become involved with the deep discussion of activities or selecting committees. The balance of the meeting was turned over to George Norton, who supplied the entertainment. He showed his collection of color slides taken in November 1964 of the world-famous London the Brighton run, a timed run that does not allow newer cars than 1904. The quality of his slides and witty remarks made the evening most enjoyable. With Norton was a guest, Mr. Phil Evans, an electrical engineer on a 3-week visit from Europe who gave a short talk on antique automobiles in Europe. The February Treasurer’s report showed income of $94.00 from 47 memberships, expenses of $53.83 for stationery, leaving a balance of $35.65.