From 1965 to 1974, those interested in antique cars belonged to Florida West Coast Region in Pinellas County, but the inconvenience of having to travel across the bay to attend meetings or outings enticed the Hillsborough members to have Florida West Coast Region sponsor them in forming their own region in Hillsborough County.
After writing AACA about forming a region, a letter is received on September 25, 1975 from Frederick Van Winkle along with an Application for Regional Chapter, Suggested Uniform By-laws for Regions and Applications for Membership in AACA.
On October 30, 1974, Dick Stephens wrote to members of AACA and old car buffs in the area about forming a region in Hillsborough County.
On November 15, 1974, a group of approximately 30 people interested in antique and collectable automobiles gathered at the Brandon Tampa Electric Company’s Leisure House at 7:30pm to form Hillsborough Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America. The Advantages of belonging to the national AACA were discussed and applications to both the national and local clubs were circulated. You had to be a member of the national club to belong to the local region. Dues for the national club was $8.50 or $11.50 for joint membership. This included 6 copies of the AACA magazine. Local dues were $5.00 for a family membership. 19 signatures were obtained, four more then necessary. The Application for Region Charter is sent to AACA National Headquarters with the names of 19 Charter members.
January 15, 1975, AACA acknowledges receiving the application and will submit it to the National Board of Directors for approval at the Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.
On February 6, 1975, the AACA BOD approves the charter.
On February 23, 1975, Hillsborough Region is approved and Richard Stephens becomes the first President of Hillsborough Region AACA.
What started with 19 old car buffs has now grown to over 53 members. In the middle 80’s the membership swelled to over 100 members, but the aging, poor health, and death of older members eroded the membership. The popularity of street rods by younger potential future members slowed the membership process, but we have persevered and today we celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Hillsborough Region AACA.
Since 1975, Hillsborough Region has had 18 Presidents, many of which served multiple terms and two that were female. The leadership by these dedicated members maintained a steady course to preserve the antique car hobby in this area. The objective was always for them, their families, friends, and spectators to enjoy the cars of yesterday.
Betty Hankins, now Shipley was the first female president and one of the hardest working Presidents this region ever had.