History of the Hill Country Automobile Club
From 1977 through 2004
written by JoAnn Heck
When Richard and Norma Fredenburg moved to Kerrville from Florida, they had an interest in antique automobiles, particularly the Model “T” Ford. They decided to form a club as they found some folks equally interested in old cars. So Richard and Norma along with seven other men from Kerrville started the Model “T” club in January 1977. These men were Pat Edson, Guy Dean, Burwin Atkinson,
Lawrence Wimberly, Sam Taylor, George Bess and Julius Neunhoffer Jr. Only three of the original eight men are still alive today in 2004. Julius Neunhoffer is the only one who is still an active member of the present club.
On March 25, 1977 the club was accepted into the Model “T” Ford Club International. About five or six years later the club name was changed to the Model “T” & Model “A” Club in order to increase membership. Norma Fredenburg wrote and published a monthly newsletter which was named “Die Ford Ciet”. She did this for 15 years and later the newsletter name was changed to “The Klaxon” which it is as of the present time. The membership increased to around thirty members, which included the McGuffins and the Pauls from McAllen, TX.
During this time, the club sponsored a car show in the River Hills Mall every spring starting in 1985 and the last show was held in 1994. An average of 22 or more cars were on display each year plus some in the process of restoration to demonstrate to the public the work involved in restoring an old automobile. The ladies of the club had a table set up to sell crafts and baked goods they had made, to raise money for club expenses.
After a number of years, membership was opened to all vehicles in order to obtain more members. In 1995 the club joined the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) and became the Hill Country Region of AACA. The club left the AACA in February 2001 to become a non-profit organization. It then accepted anyone to become a member who had an interest in older automobiles. It is not a requirement to own an old car to become a member, but most all members do own at least one or more cars. It was then that the name of the club was changed to the present name “Hill Country Automobile Club” of Kerrville, Texas. Presently there are around 100 members in the club, from Kerrville, Ingram, Hunt, Harper, Johnson City, San Antonio, Center Point, Freer, Fredericksburg, Somerset and Austin. Of the membership, it represents in the neighborhood of 160 automobiles.
In 1996, the club decided to put on a show for the public to view our cars again on the parking lot of the River Hills Mall. A Member suggested naming the show the “History of Wheels”. The club has put on a show every year since, usually in the spring. For the past several years they had been able to have a vehicle for every decade starting with a 1902 Studebaker buggy up to the present 2004 year model. In 2002 the show had one hundred years of automobile history.
In May of 1994, Warner Brothers were to make a movie named “The Stars Fell on Henrietta” and needed old cars. The Director was Clint Eastwood. Club members Ed and Richard Keller answered the call and furnished 4 cars for the movie. They were a 1930 Model A pickup, 1930 Model A Roadster, 1917 Model T and a 1925 Model T. When they delivered the cars, the company requested they also be “extras” in the movie, so were able to drive their own cars. They also got acquainted with some of the stars of the movie, who were Robert Duvall and Brian Dennehy. The filming took place in Bartlett, TX.
The club decided to have a car show on July 4th 1999 to raise funds for a scholarship program that was initiated at that time. The show was a success and since that year, the club has continued to have a show each year on the Saturday closet to July 4th. With the funds made on the show, the club has been able to award scholarships to area high school graduating seniors from Harper, Ingram, Center Point and Kerrville.
Some of the members that have served as president of the club from the beginning through 2004 were Burwin Atkinson, Pat Edson, Joe Haines, Julius Neunhoffer Jr., Lee Wildman, John Dozier, Mike Gamble, Phillip Koch and the current 2004 president JoAnn Heck.
The club is a community involved club and has participated in grand openings for new businesses along with visiting rest homes and retirement centers. Some members have also been in some weddings, taking the bride and groom from the church to the reception area in their special automobile. Members have also participated in area parades and other community projects in the surrounding towns.
Every Friday evening, anyone who is interested in older automobiles or owns one whether a member or not is invited to Culvers restaurant for a “Cruise” night. The number varies each week, depending on the weather and other activities that people are involved in. It is a very enjoyable evening and visiting with old friends and making new ones.
This year of 2004, the club will be having their car show at the Kerr County court house square on July 3rd, and this spring expect to give out five scholarships to area graduating students.
From 2005 to 2015
written by David Staggs
Through 2014 the club celebrated 16 years of July car shows. This year, 2015, marks a change; as the July car show has been turned over to the Dietert Center in partnership with Morning Rotary Club of Kerrville to manage and run the July car show. The club will continue show their cars and go on tours through the Texas hill country.
Additional club presidents have been David Staggs, Herb Gerken, Ed Moore, and Robert Kluting. The club normally has their meetings on the second Sunday of the month around 2 PM at a restaurant in Kerrville or touring to a town within about 90 miles and having a late lunch. Sometimes the club has a speaker at these lunch-meetings. The club continues to participate in local parades and special events.
Friday night at Culvers is still an active event, as members grab a bite of dinner and then look at the cars people bring to “Cruise” night. The scholarship committee still meets in the spring to go over applications and decide on a “needs” only basis which students will receive the club’s scholarships.