The dawn of a new club…
The 1955, 1956 and 1957 Chevrolets are, in the opinion of many, the most sought after mid fifties car for the enthusiast and restorer. At the time of their inception in 1955 they set the standard for automotive design and engineering and became the benchmark for other manufacturers to follow.
Interestingly, when the 1957 first came out it generally wasn’t considered to be the best of the bunch, though it certainly became the favoured car for collectors in the following years and decades. It seems that now the 1955 and 1956 cars have gained some ground on the 1957 and there are fans everywhere around the world who share the passion for each Chevy of the tri five era.
In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the popularity of the tri five Chevs soared and it was about this time that we saw the first Coupes and Sports Sedans imported into Western Australia to provide more choice than the traditional four door sedan that was assembled in Australia new and was hard to find.
The introduction of the different body styles resulted in an even greater interest in these classics and demand for them increased. As a result, a greater number of classics were imported over the following decade and this trend has continued as demand remains and our strong local economy facilitates a capacity to have a ‘toy’.
With so many classics gracing our shores the need for information and advice grew and it was agreed by many enthusiasts that a state based club was needed. There had been a group of guys who had always been interested in these cars and had owned a number of examples. One of the guys had even been importing and restoring the classics for other enthusiasts and he (Bill) was eventually the catalyst for the club to commence.
So it went something like this – It was 1998…
Bill introduced two of the other founding members, Tony and Mike at a Big Al’s Poker Run (one of our State’s premier cruises held each year in February and often including in the order of 600 to 800 vehicles, Ed). Whilst there the guys spoke about the idea of commencing a “Tri-Five Club”.
Bill wanted to keep it low key and quite simple – the KISS format. Basically a group of guys/gals with similar cars meeting at a given place, then from there, going cruising somewhere (to be nominated on the day) and to basically talk and swap information and ideas about their common interest.
In the end the ’55 ’56 ’57 Chevrolet Club of WA Inc was inaugurated under the patio roof of Mike’s house, with some fine food, many drinks and great friends. The first meeting was held on May 17th, 1998.
There was a group of about 10 inaugural members in all. Bill, Tony, Mike, Peter H and Peter S were the key contributors. Some of the guys/girls knew each other and most knew “of” each other as we all had one thing in common – we owned one of the classic tri five Chev’s.
At the first “Steering Committee” meeting we decided on a name for the club as it was required for registration with the Department of Fair Trading (Business/Club Names) we had a few names on the table and decided on the current name. We then put together a Constitution and Club Rules and Regulations.
These documents were read and discussed several times and then submitted along with the name application and our first official job as a club committee was done. We submitted the club name and constitution with money collected from the founding members, so we basically put our hands in our pocket to kick start the financial beginning of the ’55 ’56 ’57 Chevrolet Club of WA Inc.
After some months of getting the basics established, we placed an advert in the newspaper inviting people to our first meeting. That was 5 September 1998. We had a good turnout and from there, accepted membership to the Club. As long as you had an interest in one or all of the tri five’s you could be a member, however to have any voting rights in the Club, you had to own one; the rest as they say, “Is History.”
And history it was, thanks to Tony, Mike and Pete (Ed).
The first big event of the Club was to put a display into ‘GM Day’, held every two years to celebrate the great cars of General Motors. This was November 1998 and the Club was very young. No one knew exactly what to expect and this was the first big gathering of owners and resulted in many new members joining.
We all remember the day well. The Club organised a big marquee with barbeques, drinks and a great social atmosphere. We were all also amazed at the number of cars that turned up and displayed with the Club. There were 28 tri five Chevs, giving the Club the second highest number of vehicles on display, following the Holden Club that was celebrating 50 years of history since the launch of the 48/215 FX in 1948
The majority of the Club’s members didn’t realise at the time that there were so many tri five Chevs in Perth, particularly considering that it is one of the most isolated cities in the world.
Since this time the Club has grown from strength to strength and now boasts in excess of 80 members and a wealth of cars with many members owning more than one, some many more!
The Club now has two of its own established annual events. These are:
The President’s Run – for Club only vehicles (although sometimes other Chevrolet based Clubs are invited to also attend) held in September
We also encourage attendance at the other big events of the car calendar, being:
Big Al’s Poker Run – held normally on the second weekend in February and open to all, with classics, rods and modified cars encouraged in the most part (and generally boasts a turn out of between 600 and 800 cars)
The Ace Ford Run – also held in February (normally the week following Big Al’s) and also open to all cars. This run also attracts more modern cars, particularly Ford vehicles (between about 400 and 600 cars)
Blow out your Cobwebs Cruise – this is held normally in October, though this year is in early December. It is open to all vehicles and is presented by ‘Cool Rides & Classics’, a dealer specialising in classic and muscle cars
The Classic Car Show – held in March at Whiteman Park. This is a ‘Combined Car Club’ event that puts over 1000 vehicles together for the biggest show and shine in Perth. Club membership is a prerequisite of entry and the show has huge attendance from a car enthusiastic public.
The Club meets are generally held at the beginning of the month, but this will be according to the events posting. The venue has changed over the years, from initially being at the Heritage on Charles, Hyde Park Hotel, Bassendean Bowling Club , Bel Air Tavern and now the Kewdale Tavern.
New members are welcome to attend Club Meetings and all other social and Club events but should make contact via the website or facebook page to ensure the club is aware of your intending presence.
The Club Committee:
The Club has a management Committee that serve a one year term (apart from the President who serves a two year term to ensure ongoing stability), elected each Annual General Meeting.The AGM is held in August every year.The Committee meets prior to a Club Meeting, there may also have other meetings and meetings of sub-committees as may be necessary.
The Committee comprises the following positions:
- Vice President
- Property Officer
- Events Director
- Club Historian
- Editor (of our newsletter the ‘Belair Times’)
- Club Host
- Council of Motoring Clubs of WA Member
- Committee Members
- Website Editor