Pierce-Arrow Society Annual Meet
Pierce-Arrow Society 39th Annual Meet
Two hundred forty members of the Pierce-Arrow Society gathered for their 39th annual meet in Charlottesville, Virginia the week of July 10-13, 1996. Pierce-Arrows and Pierce-Arrow enthusiasts came from all over the country to attend this year's meet. Charlie & Margaret Gills showed us the best of Southern hospitality as our hosts. The historic Charlottesville area provided a great family vacation for many members who came in early and explored some of the surrounding historical sites, including Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello.
The meet officially began Wednesday evening with a welcome party held at the hotel. This informal event provided the opportunity to greet old friends and make a few new ones too.
Touring in the Pierce-Arrows is a Society tradition many of us look forward to. Following this tradition, this year's meet had two full days of driving the Pierce-Arrows. The first tour started on Thursday morning with a trip to Luray Caverns and the Antique Auto Museum located there. The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia provided a good workout for the Pierce-Arrows on the tour. A few people stopped along the way to add water on the long upgrades, but most of us completed the tours just as one would expect in a Pierce-Arrow, with no trouble! The return trip after lunch took us along Skyline Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This was a beautiful drive enjoyed by everyone. We saw a few deer along the way and other cars reported seeing bears. Just before getting back to the hotel, we came across Chris Stevens doing a little roadside repair to his 1930 Model B. With the help of Greg Loftness and the supervision of Arnold Romberg, Chris completed the tour and was ready to go again on the Friday tour.
We were touring again on Friday, this time to Staunton and the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson. The town of Staunton and the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation treated us like visiting dignitaries. After touring the Wilson museum, including seeing his 1919 Pierce-Arrow, and enjoying a leisurely lunch, we returned, back over the mountain again, to Charlottesville. After a barbecue dinner, a Pierce-Arrow flea market was held at the hotel. Many members brought Pierce-Arrow parts and literature to sell and trade. The room buzzed with activity as members looked for the elusive part they need.
A special feature of this year's meet was the attendance of the children of David Ferguson, Pierce-Arrow's chief engineer from the first Motorettes into the 1920's. They are pictured here standing next to the Pierce-Arrow used by President Wilson while he was in office and also after he left the White House.
People were up early on Saturday preparing their cars for the annual car show and judging. The judges had a hard time determining the winners from the cars present. The 1931-1938 category was especially competitive this year with several cars scoring within less than one point of each other. Pictured here is Gene & Ruth Reeves 1932 Model 54 Club Brougham. This is a fresh restoration Gene just completed and is a really great example of an owner-restored car! During the afternoon, the Pierce-Arrow Society Technical Committee hosted a technical session. Many members attended the question-and-answer forum.
meet came to an end for another year with the awards banquet Saturday night.
Awards went to winners in each class plus the Weis trophy for the most
authentic restoration at the meet, the Vale Faro award for the most original
car, and the long distance trophy for the Pierce-Arrow that was driven
the farthest to attend the meet.
Plans are well underway for next year's meet in Superior, Wisconsin - July 30 - Aug. 3, 1997. It promises to be a great meet too. Make your plans to attend now!