“To drive our cars and have a good time.”
By Nick Fintzelberg, Region Co-Founder, Past President, CCCA and
Bob Steiner, Sr. National CCCA Member and Region Charter Member, both native San Diegans.
The San Diego/Palm Springs Region started in part with unique but challenging geography. A world class bay on the Pacific, forested mountains steeply rising 40 miles to the east, a cultural and political border with Mexico to the south, and a 100 mile separation from the sprawls of Los Angeles and Orange County to the distant north.
This sequestered enclave, the largest small town in America, has attracted many from the great western migration of the 1900’s. San Diego is the western terminus of the transcontinental Lee Highway from Washington D.C. Each of these facts is important: Many migrated here in their only transportation – a “much used car” that survived the years of abuse by excellent manufacturing but little maintenance. In the ‘40’s and 50’s, it is no exaggeration that the locals commuted to work driving Duesenbergs, Packards, Pierces, Lincolns, and the list goes on. (Fred in 1950 parked his ’29 Packard in the Convair parking lot next to Jerry’s J. Duesenberg, along with a ’35 Pierce!) The absence of snow and salt slowed the deterioration and a demand arose in the rust belt for “California Classics.”
Talk of a San Diego Region of CCCA had been around for awhile before Bobbie‘dine Rodda cornered Nick at a concourse in Palm Springs (1990). A member since the 1970’s, he had just returned from his first CARavan and was very enthused about CCCA touring. Bobbie’dine correctly felt that San Diegans needed their own region, since none ever drove to LA for activities. With Bobbie’dine’s guidance, Glen Yeackel and Nick applied to National, called together all of the known CCCA members in San Diego County, and signed a petition to create a provisional region. Nick appeared at the Hershey board meeting that Fall with a list of our officers, members and a schedule of activities. The provisional region was awarded and 12 months later we were a region, with the blessings of the So Cal Board of Managers. Co-founding member Glen Yeackel, now deceased, said it all when he christened the Region with our objective: “To drive our cars and have a good time.”
Appreciation for these classics attracted like thinking local residents who helped each other in keeping their classics running, and in frequenting the wrecking yards that held so many treasures, for such small prices. (When gas was $.18 per gallon, here in 1950, it was $.10 in Tijuana. A weekly trip across the border provided enough gas for a week of driving to work.) In 1990, Nick Fintzelberg and Glenn Yeackel started a touring region to enjoy the many benefits of having a beautiful drive to Palm Springs and the desert in the winter, while touring the sea coast in the summer. What could be better?
Many agree this local region has a membership of active, fun participants, and a catalogue of wonderful classics, that has led Caravans and hosted both Grand Classics and the winter Annual Meeting. We share a friendly camaraderie with regularly scheduled local tours and social events. We share our enthusiasm and expertise, and sometimes our spare parts, with one another.
Come and visit us!