Autorama 2005: Spark-Plugs Turned 50!
In 2005 - the Spark-Plugs Hot Rod Club, a member of the Michigan Hot Rod Association, celebrated their 50th Anniversary,
the day and time, during the set up at the Detroit Autorama. They marked the historic event with a feature display on the show floor.
The club was started by a small group of young men at 8:00 pm March 3rd 1955 at the kitchen table of Norm Smiths mother's
home in South Lyon, Michigan. Norm Smith is still an active member and will celebrate "his" 50th Anniversary along with the club.
The club had 12 members in attendance at the first meeting. Their names were:
|1. Dick Thorne
2. Gary Treganowan
3. Bill Wiseman
4. Carl Peeve
|5. Art Budnik
6. Dewey Holland
7. Arnold Byers
8. Jim Walker
|9. Leon Short
10. Norman Smith
11. Bill Newman
12. Doug Foreman
The secretary at the first meeting was none other
than Norm Smith and the "original" minutes that were taken in a
are still on hand in the club archives at the clubhouse. Many names were considered for the club including High Winders,
Road Rangers, Rod and Customs, Flying Wheels, and the Generators. The Spark-Plugs was, as we now know, the decision they reached.
Shortly after the club was formed, they joined the
M.H.R.A. and started conducting their meetings in an "old style" auto
in South Lyon. (Scotty & Fritz's Garage) Joe Scott felt that the young men needed a place to meet and develop their interest for cars.
The First Twenty Years 1955-1975
During the years from 1955 through 1975, the club flourished and participated in many activities including Reliable Runs, Poker Runs, Winter Ice Runs, Car Shows, picnics and Vehicle Safety Inspections. Trophies from these events, dating back to 1956, are kept at the clubhouse and some will be on display at Autorama in the Spark-Plug display.
The club members helped build the M.H.R.R. Drag strip and some members participated in Drag Racing events. Richard Thorne, Gary Treganowan, George Haus, Norm Smith. and Bob Parrot ran cars at various Drag Strips in addition to the M.H.R.A. strip including Ubly, Detroit Dragway, Milan, and Mansfield Ohio.
In April 1970, the club undertook a project to build their own club car. This turned out to be a Hot Rod in the form of a '23 "T" Bucket. This project was working on by many of the members during it's construction and at times was stored in a chicken coup. The car was completed in June 1974 at what was then the clubhouse that was located at 7 Mile and Pontiac Trail. (By this time the club had moved from the original Scotty and Fritz Garage).
The car was a Brown metallic sporting a 289 Ford engine with Tri-power and a "Gary Benway"interior and top. The approximate investment in the car was about $4,500.00. After completion, the maiden voyage was to the NSRA Street Rod Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota. Tom Snell and Jeff Eckert drove the car. Subsequently many members enjoyed touring in this car both locally and out of state to various Rod Runs.
This yellow gem belongs to Norm Smith, who is celebrating
50 years with the club at the upcoming Autorama.
A portion of the Spark-Plugs display at the 50th Autorama
The Next Twenty Years 1975-1995
The next 20 years from 1975 to 1995 saw many of the same activities, described above, continued and some new ones emerge.
The "clubhouse" for meetings and activities was moved to Jack McLeod's shop further north on Pontiac Trial toward 8 mile road.
Other events during that time period included a club rebuild project on member Chuck Rupp's '32 Ford coupe, much community
involvement with events such as the Community Chest Christmas basket deliveries, High School Scholarship fund, Pumpkin Fest
parade, and the South Lyon Car Show. The '32 coupe project brought members closer together and allowed everyone to pitch in
with their particular expertise toward a common goal. The South Lyon Car Show hosted fund raising activities that helped both
the Spark-Plug and the Cowtown Cruisers donate $25,000 to the High School scholarship fund through the years.
The "clubhouse" moved to member Paul Peter's barn located in Lyon Township in 1990 where it remains to this day.
A picture of this clubhouse along with Norm Smith's '48 Ford sedan is shown above.
The Most Recent Ten Years 1995-2005
In 1995 the club celebrated its 40th Anniversary and was thrilled at winning Best Club Display at Autorama. In addition to
winning that award, 10 members won individual awards.
Camping has been enjoyed by many of the members through the years and the club still hosts an annual outing at Haas Lake
Campground in Lyon Township each year.
1998 ended a twenty-year "run" of the South Lyon Car Show, which was sponsored, by the Spark-Plugs and the
Cowtown Cruisers collectively for 19 of the 20 years. As mentioned earlier this show generated funds for many local charities
and the High School scholarship fund.
The club was proud to participate in the 50th M.H.R.A. Autorama in 2002 and took that opportunity to rebuild the club "T".
This was a body off, full tilt, project that included mechanical rebuilding of all aspects of the car, a new paint job, and a new
two-tone interior. The body color selected was a very bright orange with the interior being a light and dark blue. The project was
Many Spark-Plugs have worked along with other M.H.R.A. members to make the Autorama show at Cobo Hall a success through
the years with the greatest effort from the "Plugs" being member Joe McAuliffe. Thanks to Joe for his years of dedication.
The current Membership roster includes Active, Lifetime, and Honorary members.
Bob Callsen, Dave Lukkari, Paul Mancinelli
Respectfully submitted by Paul Peters, Spark-Plugs Secretary.
New Officers for the Sparkplugs of South Lyon, MI 2011
President: Nathan Briggs - 248-867-2048
V President: George Boston - 248-437-1164
Secretary: Harvey Miller
Treasurer: Mike Meyer
MHRA Rep.: Paul Peters
MHRA Rep. Alt.: Keith Tschirret - 248-437-3566
Board of Directors