Classic Memories (Part one)
By Gary Porter

Classic Memories
Part two

February 15, 2001 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the first meeting of the Classic Chevy Club of Nova Scotia. We started with 17 members and we have now grown to approximately 70. Only three of the original 17 members have been continually in the Club since the beginning. Being member #1 and a co-founder of the Club, I have been asked to prepare an article for the newsletter documenting the formation of our Club.

My interest in Classic Chevys goes back to learning to drive in my father's '56 Bel Air. When I entered the work force, my first car was a '57 150 with a 348 in it. Several years later I bought a '57 Nomad to build as a drag car. That was the time when most NHRA records were held by Classic Chevys and before Classic Chevys were called Classic Chevys. This eventually evolved into a show car, but I quickly learned that a car that spent its life in Nova Scotia exposed to salt and rust, did not really cut it as a show car. A dry southern car was the way to go. This led to the purchase of a '55 Bel Air two door sedan from South Carolina in 1975.

Unknown to me at the time, a guy by the name of Doug Moorhead had formed the Classic Chevy Club in Florida. I discovered the club through coverage of their 1976 convention by Super Chevy magazine and sent in my membership fee immediately.

About this time my neighbour, Skip Collier, who also is a car enthusiast started going down south and bringing back old cars to sell. It seemed like he always had one or two Classic Chevys in his driveway. He also joined the Classic Chevy Club.

In 1980 the Classic Chevy Club, which by this time was called Classic Chevy Club International (CCCI), decided to hold their annual international convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. As this was a reasonable distance from Nova Scotia, I decided to attend. Skip also attended along with other Classic Chevy enthusiasts Peter Kline and Ron Garnier. After returning home Skip and I started talking about forming a local chapter of the CCCI. CCCI sent us information about how to go about forming a local chapter.

Early in 1981, Skip got together with Hazel and me and we made a list of all the people we knew who owned '55, '56 and 57 Chevys and started calling them to invite them to a meeting to discuss forming a club. That meeting took place on February 15, 1981.

Seventeen Classic Chevy owners showed up and together we formed the Classic Chevy Club of Nova Scotia. Our vehicle roster consisted of nine '55's, five '56's and five '57's. On the advice of Classic Chevy International we did not jump right into elections. Their suggestion was for a couple of members to run things for a while until the club was established and running smoothly. Skip took on the role of chairman, while I looked after the dues and minutes. We also started a monthly newsletter. As this was going to be a province wide club based in Halifax, we felt it was important to keep in touch with members who were not able to attend the monthly meetings. That first newsletter was four pages long!
Our second meeting saw four new members join the Club

.Our first official event was participation in the Speed Sport car show in April 1981. We won Best Club participation and those who entered their cars won a total of five trophies.

Pictured in the foreground is Dave Sampson's '56 Bel Air. This classic has been owned by several members of the Club. It now belongs to Nelson Morrison of New Brunswick. The next vehicle is Wayne Maidment's '57. I don't know what happened to Wayne or this '57. At the end of the line is the '55 Nomad then owned by Bob Reid and now owned by Peter Stokdijk. To the rear of the '56 is a '55 210 entered by Graham Swann. This '55 was sold to Bob Reid who turned it into a pro street classic powered by a blown big block. I believe it eventually went to Newfoundland. In the background is Mal Jeffers' '57 Nomad which is now owned by Leo McAuley. Also in the show, but displayed separately, was Wayne Conrod's '57 convertible

By May 1981 we had grown to 29 members, decided on our club logo which was designed by one time member Mal Jeffers and had ordered club jackets.

In June we registered under the Societies Act and formed a phone committee. An article on members cars was started as an ongoing regular feature of the newsletter starting with the June 1981 issue. Greg Melanson's '55 Bel Air sport coupe was profiled in that issue.

Our first summer was quite active with members attending various Show & Shines in the area as a group. Bob Reid and Brent Henderson also attended the Classic Chevy International convention in Dearborn Michigan. We also put on a display at Historic Properties in Halifax, had a club picnic near Truro, participated in a parade in Chester and did a little drag racing at the old Drag City (how many of you remember that name?) in Sackville. By the end of September we had 36 members and 34 Classics.

We also started a club photo album.

To the left is our display at Historic Properties. The '56 Bel Air sport sedan belonged to Skip Collier and the '57 convertible in the foreground was owned at the time by Wayne Conrod. In the background are (clockwise) Mal Jeffers' '57, Gary Porter's '55, Chris Chisholm's '56 and Graham Swann's 55

Our September drag meet was attended by 15 members with their cars, three without and three other classic owners who were not members at the time. To the right are Mitch Robicheau in the foreground and Gary Porter in the background.

A milestone event took place in October with the election of our first slate of officers.
These included:

  • Skip Collier - President
  • Gary Porter - Vice President
  • Peter Phillips - Secretary
  • Wayne Conrod - Treasurer
  • Greg Melanson - Sergeant at Arms

By the end of 1981, we had decided to become a 100 percent affiliate of Classic Chevy International, meaning that in order to be a member of the Classic Chevy Club of Nova Scotia, you also had to be a member of the International Club.

As with any organization, members come and go as interests and priorities change. The Classic Chevy Club was no different. As we started on our second year as a club, our membership dropped to 29.

This seems like an appropriate point to end part one of this article. I have already missed one newsletter and the deadline for the next one is fast approaching. Stay tuned for part two.

Classic Memories
Part two