TOPEKA, Kan. (Feb. 26, 2019) – On February 26, 1944, seven sports car enthusiasts met at the Boston, Mass. home of Chapin Wallour to form a club dedicated to the preservation of sports cars. That group of gentlemen may not have known it then, but the birth of the Sports Car Club of America® that evening changed the face of motorsports, and – in the minds of many race fans today – the world.
That first SCCA® meeting 75 years ago was a bit more “exclusive” as compared to today’s Club. The list of cars owned by founders Everett Dickinson, John Duby, Arnold Engborg, Theodore Robertson, George Schulz, Robert Townsend, and Chapin Wallour sound like museum pieces: a Duesenberg “J” double cowl Phaeton, a Lancia Lambda 5th Series Roadster, a Kissel Speedster, Stutz DV 32 Sports Tourer, Mercer series 4 Raceabout, Isotte Fraschini type 8A Castagna Convertible Coupe, and a Rolls Royce Phantom I Ascot Phaeton. The original constitution, penned by Robertson, stated membership in the Club would be restricted to owners of sports cars, sponsored by one current member, seconded by another, and elected by unanimous vote of the officers. Then, that new member had to pay the yearly dues within 30 days – the sum being three dollars.
Now celebrating its 75th Diamond Anniversary, the SCCA looks a lot different today with 67,500 members and 116 Regions conducting more than 2,000 motorsports events each year. The Club has produced racing legends such as Mark Donohue, Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Bobby Rahal, Roger Penske, Paul Newman, George Follmer and so many more. It’s safe to say the seven founders likely never imagined their Club hosting such events as the recent 969-entry SCCA National Championship Runoffs® at Indianapolis Motor Speedway or a 1,375-entry Tire Rack SCCA Solo® Nationals in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Equally impressive is how the Club has transformed over the years from a mentality of exclusivity to a mindset of inclusion. Today, SCCA welcomes automobile fans from all walks of life to join in and have fun with cars through Road Racing, Solo, Road Rally, Hill Climb or volunteerism. The Club has also added innovative new programs such as Track Night in America Driven by Tire Rack, RallyCross, and the Tire Rack Time Trials National Tour in recent history.
The founding members laid the building blocks for the current version of the Club, as has every passionate member along the way. Throughout 2019, SCCA members will deservedly pat themselves on the back for an impressive accomplishment – realizing many clubs, businesses, products and organizations have come and gone in the last 75 years. What will SCCA look like in 75 more years? Nobody can know for sure, but the Club and its members sure look forward to the journey and road ahead.
Learn more about SCCA’s history through Racer.com online stories linked below:
The Sports Car Club of America®, Inc., founded in 1944, is a 67,500-member motorsports organization that incorporates all facets of autocross, rally and road racing at both Club and professional levels. With headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, the SCCA annually sanctions over 2,000 events through its 116 Regions and subsidiary divisions. Much of the SCCA’s activities are made possible with support from the following Official Partners: Hagerty, the Official Insurance Partner of SCCA; Hawk Performance, the Official Brake Products of SCCA; Sunoco, the Official Fuel of SCCA; and Tire Rack, the Official Tire Retailer of SCCA. To learn more, please visit www.scca.com.