2022 Argetsinger Symposium scheduled for Nov. 4-5

The Sixth Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium on International Motor Racing History is scheduled for Friday, November 4th and Saturday, November 5th, 2022, at the Watkins Glen Media Center. This event, open to the public at no-charge, is geared to both motor racing scholars and racing enthusiasts alike. Over the last several years the Symposium has established itself as a unique and respected scholarly forum and has gained a growing audience of scholars, students and enthusiasts. Virtual presentations will supplement the on-site program. Click here to see the Call For Papers. 

2021 SAH Award Winners

The 2021 SAH Awards have been announced by the Awards Committee.

NICOLAS-JOSEPH CUGNOT AWARD, ENGLISH

Henry Dominguez, The Cellini of Chrome: George Walker – Ford Motor Company’s First VP of Design (2020).

Presented for a books written in English that best advance the understanding of the history of the automobile.

CUGNOT AWARD OF DISTINCTION, ENGLISH

Gretchen Soren, Driving While Black: African-American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights (2020).

Presented for books written in English that best advance the understanding of the history of the automobile.

NICOLAS-JOSEPH CUGNOT AWARD, LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH

Erich Karsholt,Dansk Bilproduktion (2020).

Presented for a books that best advance the understanding of the history of the automobile, written in a language other than English.

CUGNOT AWARD OF DISTINCTION, LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH

Christian Rouxel, Fenaille & Despeaux, L’ancetre d’Esso (2020).

Presented for a book that best advance the understanding of the history of the automobile, written in a language other than English.

CARL BENZ AWARD 

Karl Ludvigsen, “The Origin of the Species,” The Automobile, June, 2020.

Presented for excellence in the presentation of automotive history as an article in a periodical.

CARL BENZ AWARD OF DISTINCTION

Karl Ludvigsen, “Fuhrmann’s Formidable Four-Cam,” Classic Porsche January, 2020.

Presented for excellence in the presentation of automotive history as an article in a periodical.

FRIEND OF AUTOMOTIVE HISTORY AWARD

Richard Lentinelto

Presented in recognition of an individual who over time has made a profound individual contribution to the automotive history community and the historical record.

RICHARD AND GRACE BRIGHAM AWARD 

The Automobile

In recognition of exemplary editorial, graphic or historical content published in a commercial, institutional or club periodical during 2020.

J.J BRADLEY DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD

No award given this year.

Presented to museums, archives, and libraries for exemplary efforts in preserving motor vehicle resource materials.

THE E.P. INGERSOLL AWARD 

No award given this year.

Presented for the best presentation of automotive history in media other than print.

R.P SCHARCHBURG STUDENT PAPER AWARD

No award given this year.

Presented or the best graduate and undergraduate paper in automotive history.

Fall Meeting of the AACA in Hershey, October 4-7, 2022

The Eastern Division AACA Fall Meet will take place this year in Hershey, PA, October 4-7, 2022. 

For more information on the meet, see the AACA event page.

Note that, beginning this year, the Fall Meet will take place from Tuesday through Friday, and not Wednesday through Saturday as in previous years.

The SAH looks forward to resuming our customary Big-Tent presence at the meeting.

Hope to see you there!

Below, check out some videos of previous meets and books signing in the SAH tent.

Michael Lamm

Michael Lamm

Michael Lamm (0042H) became a member of the Society of Automotive Historians over 50 years ago. As he recently observed, “It’s been a long ride, and that’s one of the advantages of advancing age: “We duffers gain more time to do what we love.”

Mike went on to express that: “In my experience, the great accomplishment of the SAH has been to legitimize automotive history—to make it a serious cultural and academic presence. People—and I’m talking now about everyone from scholars to tinkerers—have come to recognize the automobile and the auto industry as valuable expressions of modern history and human understanding. Automotive history, in my view, now enjoys the same cultural value as architectural history and the history of industrial design.

“My own part in advancing automotive history has been exceedingly modest, and I’m not saying that to simply be self-deprecating. It’s true.

“I had the very good fortune to work for a number of car magazines, starting in 1959, at age 23. That year, by a series of flukes, I became editor of a small magazine in New York called Foreign Car Guide. FCG was my foot in the door. My bride, JoAnne, and I soon moved to California, where I became managing editor of Motor Life magazine and, from 1962 through 1965, managing editor of Motor Trend.

“Then late in 1965 I began freelancing and, over time, wrote something like a thousand articles about cars. What I enjoyed most were the research and writing of historical pieces, and in those days magazines still paid for such articles.

“In 1970, I co-founded (along with Hemmings Motor News) Special-Interest Autos that did its darndest to present the non-elitist facets of automotive history. In SIA, we ran histories of mainstream cars and car companies, but we also tried to uncover the unique, the fascinating, the bizarre, the one-man-engineered oddities and designs that most readers had never seen nor heard of. And we also tried to stress the human, historical side of cars as well as talking about the cars’ hardware and performance capabilities.

“In 1978, I began publishing books, and I also began writing a syndicated newspaper column (“Teens on Wheels” for AP Newsfeatures). I continued to contribute to a variety of publications, including Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, Popular Mechanics, Esquire, Invention & Technology, Moneysworth, Odyssey, Farm Quarterly, plus just about all the newsstand car magazines: Road & Track, Motor Trend, Car and Driver, Automobile, AutoWeek, Hot Rod, Car Craft, Sports Car International, Corvette and dozens more, both here and overseas.

“When you write, you sell a service, but when you publish books, you sell products, and frankly it’s easier to sell products than services, so I soon found myself writing and publishing about one book a year. These had to do mostly with the development of General Motors cars: Camaros, Firebirds, Corvettes, Fieros and the Pontiac Solstice. We did one book for Ford about the 2002 Thunderbird.”

And, of course, there was that absolutely standout book co-written with retired GM Director of Design, the late Dave Holls. Its title: A Century of Automotive Style, 100 Years of American Car Design.

Mike served the SAH as President (1976-76), as a Director (1996-1999), and as a Member of the Publications Committee (1996-2009). Mike received the Friend of Automotive History award in 1990 and earned several Cugnot and Benz awards for books and articles with a double Cugnot in 1997 for A Century of Style, one as co-author and the other as publisher. The Society has saluted his long membership and active participation over the decades by designating his membership as Honorary. (11/19/21)

2021 Eastern Division AACA Fall Meeting

The SAH Book Signing at our Orange Field tent and our Annual Banquet at the Hershey Country Club scheduled for October 6-8 were regretfully cancelled due to pandemic concerns. These decisions were made with the health and safety of all attendees foremost in mind, while recognizing our long term relationships with the AACA, the Hershey Region of the AACA, the Hershey Country Club and the “Hershey Week” experience in general. Our Orange Field presence for 2021 was reduced to one table under a small pagoda tent.

We look forward to resuming our customary big-tent presence at Hershey in October, 2022. See you then !

Richard B. Brigham

Richard B. Brigham

.Richard Bevier Brigham was the sparkplug that ignited a flame which transformed a group interested in automotive history into a solid, strong, and significant group, the Society of Automotive Historians.  This profile is a combination of extracts from the SAH Journal #157 written by Keith Marvin, Taylor Vinson and his wife Grace R. Bringham

Dick Brigham was born on May 10th, 1907 in Toledo, Ohio, and resided there until 1962 when he moved to Marietta, Georgia, where he passed away July 6th, 1995. Dick had a lifelong interest in automobiles and started to drive at age thirteen. His first car was a problem-prone Inter-State which he replaced with a satisfactory Willys-Knight tourer. From the early fifties, he belonged to numerous antique auto clubs and had owned several antique vehicles. His interest in the history of automobiles was sparked by the purchase of a Clymer book when he was on a business trip to New York City. That was the beginning of a comprehensive library which grew over the years. His knowledge base was complemented with extensive correspondence with authors and enthusiasts.

Although he was a machine designer, the interest in old cars led to a change to a career in publishing with, at first, a simple advertising paper, Motormart, then to the history of some of the vehicles in the magazine The Road to Yesterday.

His long life was one of great variety, emphasizing a love for and understanding of motor vehicles. He was a master in ferreting out the facts and stories of them, specializing in those which, without his curiosity and research, would probably have had no memorial and perished as though they had never been. Thanks to this one man, a large number of cars and trucks which otherwise might have remained forgotten and unknown live today, their histories chronicled. Moreover, he set an example for many of us to follow accordingly.

Some are born to be leaders or, on a lesser scale perhaps, founders – operators who are gifted in creating groups which continue successfully once they have been formed. Dick was the founder in this case, following that action by being active in the Society until his death, counseling, advising and printing the Society’s publications. Fortunately for the early financial fortunes of the Society, Dick was a printer.

There did exist a formidable cadre of automotive historians, both here and abroad, many of whom were in contact with one another, but there was no central clearing house, so to speak. Many of them had been writing books and magazine articles for many years or serving as editors and publishers. This void would end in 1969 when, as the result of some correspondence, Dick Brigham and G. Marshall Naul proposed the formation of a group devoted to the history of motor vehicles. On October 11th, 1969, a group gathered at Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the Society of Automotive Historians was created. Today, the group comprises several hundred members from around the world.

Dick is listed as member #1HF, meaning that he was a Founder and subsequently in 1985 was presented with Honorary Membership, “The Friend of Automotive History Award,” the highest accolade accorded by the Society. He was the Society’s first vice president, and responsible for the Cugnot machine as our symbol.

He was the editor of the first 29 issues of the Newsletter (now SAH Journal) from September 1969 to mid-1973 and againcame back to edit 30 more Journals from January 1984 to December 1988That means he was responsible for 59 out of the 157 issues until his passing. The Journal editor is considered as the most important person in SAH because he or she is the direct link to the members; the editor personifies the Society. If the editor drops the ball, members won’t renew. So Dick’s early Newsletters gathered the growing membership and set the tone and tenor which we have tried to follow ever since: informal, inquisitive, and informative.

He was also editor of the first ten issues of Automotive History Review, returning to put out an additional seven – from Winter 1973 to Winter 1980 and Fall 1984 to Summer 1988. That’s 17 out of 28 Reviews to that point. Thus Dick was responsible for putting out about forty per cent of the combined total of both SAH publications issued during his lifetime. In fact, he was editor of both the Journal and the Review from 1984 to 1988. If that’s not love and dedication, then what is? He was not only our founder, but our sustainer over our first 20 years.

As a writer, editor, publisher and a researcher into automotive history, he was, indeed, a ‘famous man’ and few would question that. He was active in SAH affairs and travelled to its activities, dinners and other meetings until ill health forced him to cut back. It didn’t diminish his interest, and he kept in touch with his fellow members and many friends by phone or mail. In these contacts, he was assisted over the many years by his wife, Founding and Honorary Member Grace, who was an automotive authority in her own right, an author and a helpmate to her husband.

In 1990, the Society honored both Dick and Grace by establishing the Brigham Award, which is presented annually for the best overall treatment of automotive history by a periodical publication over all issues of the previous year. Dick left a memorial – the Society of Automotive Historians – and his name will live because of it. His inspiration affected all of us who knew him and he should be credited with that, the chronicles which, without him, may have never been written; and as for those generations of automotive historians yet unborn, the name of Richard B. Brigham will be regarded with gratitude for his work in the field he loved.

Henry Austin Clark

Henry Austin Clark, Jr. (1917-1991)​

Henry Austin Clark, Jr., was Vice-President of SAH during the 1988 and 1989 term that Beverly Rae Kimes served as President.  These two officers of SAH combined to author the Standard Catalog of American Cars 1905-1942.  This profile, written by Jim Donnelly in June, 2011, was a Feature Article and shared with SAH courtesy of Hemmings Classic Car, a publication of Hemmings Motor News.

Other people collected cars, but only a few of them did so with equal ambition and an eye toward significance matching that of Henry Austin Clark Jr. The legacy of Clark, who died 20 years ago, is vaster and more varied than most collectors can dream. He bequeathed upon the world of cars an unbelievably huge and priceless trove from the automobile’s earliest years, hailing from everywhere in the world. Those who saw it regularly are still staggered by its scope.

Just maybe, Clark’s early obsession with recorded music was a hint of what he might do once he turned to documenting cars. He was born in 1917, a child of impressive wealth, growing up in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, in New York City. His father was treasurer of the Cuban American Sugar Company, which processed vast amounts of cane sugar under the brand name of Jack Frost–a huge neon sign adorned one of the company’s refineries on the city’s East River.

The younger Clark first proved to be something of a Marconi imitator, a true prodigy in the growing technology of radio. Clark’s longtime friend and library curator, Walt Gosden, recalled that early in his life, Clark made some friends among liquor deliverymen, so to speak, who used his radios to monitor marine patrols along the creeks and marshes of Flushing Meadow. Clark would have still been a precocious kid then.

In 1951, Clark moved his family to a manor community, Meadow Springs, in the exclusive town of Glen Cove. The younger Clark went to Harvard, studied law, and graduated as a classmate of John F. Kennedy.

According to Gosden, Clark used to say that his last true paycheck came from the federal government in 1945, once his war service was completed. He inherited a huge block of Jack Frost stock and received big checks simply for showing up at board of directors meetings. Clark very much preferred his other pastime during his college years: indulging his heart-pounding love of swing and jazz, becoming a dealer for RCA’s Bluebird Records and prowling the Manhattan jazz clubs at night, selling vinyl from the trunks of various cars, including his 1939 Buick, for artists ranging from Earl “Fatha” Hines to Rudy Vallee. Clark probably bought his first older vehicle, a Model T Ford, at age 11, and soon went on to acquire a two-cylinder Autocar truck.

Clark’s favorite make was Simplex. Most people don’t realize that Clark also bought the company, acquiring the right to resume production of these distinguished cars, which tells us a lot about his tastes. He served as vice president of the Bridgehampton race circuit on eastern Long Island, and after getting his collection up to around 50 cars, established a place to hold some of them, the Long Island Automotive Museum in Southampton. At any given time, some 40 to 70 cars were displayed there, led by the actual Thomas Flyer that had won the 1908 New York-to-Paris race, which Clark had rescued from a junkyard.

He was also one of the first collectors attracted to trucks. Walter recalls Clark buying a 1912 solid-tire Alco in the Bronx and trying to drive it to Southampton, making it a fair distance across Long Island before it threw a connecting rod.

The museum remained open from 1948 to 1980; the old-money types in town wouldn’t let Clark put up signs advertising the collection, which was gradually sold off at auction. His more significant legacy was the gigantic library he amassed, which, following Clark’s death in 1991, was acquired by The Henry Ford. According to Gosden, his librarian, “He had a fairly extensive mansion and the entire basement, floor to ceiling, was unbound periodicals: French, American, British, Motor, Autocar, Horseless Age, you name it. Then he put a building on the back of the mansion that was approximately 25 feet by 40, for the bound periodicals, sales catalogs, things like that. Then he had the indexes for everything.

“He was really good friends with Charles Addams, the cartoonist (the TV sitcom, The Addams Family, was based on his drawings), who was a real car guy, too,” Walt told us. “When Austin had a wake after he closed the museum, Charles showed up wearing a black armband. I thought that was really classy.”

This article originally appeared in the June, 2011 issue of Hemmings Classic Car.

Beverley Rae Kimes

Beverly Rae Kimes (1939-2008)

Kit Foster wrote the following tribute to Beverly Rae Kimes in issue 235 of the SAH Journal, July-August 2008.

Beverley Rae Kimes, former Society President, Friend of Automotive History and world class historian and writer, passed away May 12, 2008 after a lingering illness.  For decades the First Lady of Automotive History, she was the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on motoring topics, and the recipient of countless awards and honors.

Born in West Chicago, Illinois on August 17, 1939, she was the daughter of Raymond and Grace Perrin Kimes.  Her father was a railroad man, her mother a comptometer operator for Sears, Roebuck in Chicago until leaving to become a fulltime homemaker after her marriage.  Bev grew up in Wheaton, Illinois, not far from the Chicago & North Western tracks where all the trains whistled as they passed to salute “Rae Kimes’s daughter.”  She was graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana, with degrees in History and Journalism.

In 1963, she received a Masters of Arts degree in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University, then went to New York City hoping to write for theater publications.  Instead, she found a job with a fledging automobile magazine, Scott Bailey’s Automobile Quarterly.  Hired as a secretary, she soon found her name on the masthead as Editorial Assistant, shortly Assistant Editor.  Within two years she had risen to Associate Editor and was subsequently Managing Editor.  She was promoted to Editor in 1975, a post she held until leaving to go free lance in 1981.

After leaving AQ she became Executive Editor at the Classic Car Club of America, producing their magazine The Classic Car and newsletter Classic car Bulletin until her final illness.  The Classic Car received SAH’s Richard and Grace Brigham Award in 1995.  She authored two books for CCCA, The Classic Car, published in 1990 and The Classic Era, which received the Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot Award as the best book of 2001 in the field of automotive history.

Over the years she received six Cugnot awards, more than any other author.  The first was for Packard: A History of the Motor Car and the Company (1978), an anthology of the Packard history published by Automobile Quarterly Books in 1978, and her last was Pioneers, Engineers and Scoundrels: The Dawn of the Automobile in America (2005), published by SAE International.  In between were My Two Lives: Racing Driver to Restaurateur (1983), jointly written with René Dreyfus and published by Aztec Corporation; The Star and the Laurel (1986), a centennial history of Mercedes-Benz; and her magnum opus, the Standard Catalog of American Cars 1905-1942, published by Krause in three editions from 1985 to 1996.  While recognized as the standard reference for prewar cars built in the United States, the Standard Catalog is much more, including narrative entries for all marques, no matter how obscure, even those ventures that never produced a car.  If anyone thought about building an automobile, Beverly described it in the Catalog.

A full Kimes biography is difficult to compile because she had a profound influence on far more volumes than ever carried her name on their spines.  Similarly, the complete list of her articles, which must number in the hundreds, is inestimable, partly because, for publisher’s policy or personal effacement, she sometimes wrote under noms de plume.  Automobile Quarterly would not permit its staffers more than one byline per issue, and thus was born “Cullen Thomas,” a composite family of names.  To lessen her footprint in The Classic Car she published articles by “Ralph Cox,” the name of the 1930 Auburn in which she and her husband Jim Cox, toured extensively.  Her articles on Ken Purdy, Henry Austin Clark, Jr., and Walter Dorwin Teague, Jr.’s design of the Marmon HCM V-12, all earned her Carl Benz Awards from SAH.

Beyond that were the articles she ghost-wrote or re-wrote for others.  Skilled at repairing fractured prose without corrupting the author’s voice, she occasionally met her match.  One particularly difficult contributor, she told me, led her through re-write after re-write before pulling the article back.  “It just doesn’t sound like me,” he complained, and as Bev related, “it didn’t.  That was the point of re-writing it, after all.  But that did not stop him from having the revision published in another magazine.”

Bev was late in coming to SAH, partly because AQ policy that kept staffers at arms-length from all automotive organizations.  Enrolled as member 808 in November 1980, she was soon appointed to chair the Publications Committee, of which she’s been a member, except for brief sabbaticals, ever since.  She organized events such as our first automotive silent auction, and for many years produced the biennial membership directories, including the mammoth task of indexing members’ interests.  She was elected a Friend of Automotive History, our highest award, in 1986.  Her selection might have come sooner, but from the outset she had insisted on being part of the Committee.  Losing an election for President by one vote because she had modestly cast hers for her opponent, she was persuaded to stand again and was successful, heading the Society from 1987 to 1989.

Her accolades stretch far beyond SAH.  Her work also earned several Moto Awards from the International Automotive Media Awards and the Thomas McKean Memorial Cup from the Antique Automobile Club of America.  Beverly received a Distinguished Service Citation from the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1993, and was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by IAMA on 2005.  For 17 years she served as the voice of the Concours d’Elegance of the Eastern United States in Pennsylvania, and was also an Honorary Judge at Pebble Beach.

In addition to SAH and CCCA, Beverly was a member of AACA and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club.  She and Jim had upwards of 50,000 miles of touring in “Ralph” the Auburn.  Ralph was recently donated to the ACD Museum in Auburn, Indiana.

Bev’s interests included much more than journalism and automobiles.  She loved New York City, and served as president of the block association in her Upper East Side neighbourhood.  She was also an officer in the University of Illinois Alumni Club of Greater New York.

Mentor to many and an inspiration to all, she never let her advancing illness get in the way of deadlines.  With Jim assisting as archivist, research assistant and co-author, she completed one last book, Walter L. Marr: Buick’s Amazing Engineer.  Published by Racemaker Press, it appeared just before her death.  Few would quarrel with her calling her the First Lady of Automotive History.  Some of us might presumptuously nominate ourselves for the equivalent masculine title, but in comparison we are but drones.

Beverly is survived by her husband of 24 years, Jim Cox and a sister, Sharon Sauer of Star Lake, Wisconsin.