REAL CLUBS ..... OR NOT?
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Copying another club's design is something that has been done for many years.
If you'll look at some of the clubs on the Clubs
with the Same Names pages, you will see how many have similar designs. In
the 1950's you could also order a plaque from your local speed shop using a
stock design and adding your club's name and location.
This ad from a 1960 Newhouse Automotive Industries catalog
shows three ways you could order plaques from this company in Los Angeles;
Lettering Only, Lettering And Stock Design or Completely Custom Plaques.
The stock designs included 32 Couple (Coupe?), 34 Sedan, T-Lakester,
Wheel with Wings, Checkered Flags, Skull and Crossbones, Spark Plug, Piston with
Rod, Camshaft and Crankshaft.
A current money making venture has people modifying plaques so
they can be sold at swap meets, and places like Craigslist and eBay on the
Internet. Although I don't consider myself to be an expert on this subject, I do
believe the examples shown below are plaques that are for "made up" clubs.
Some have had locations added to what may have been a plain plaque while others
have had the location removed from the original plaque and a different location
added. They are being shown on this page as examples of what people may be
paying good money for because they believe the items to be rare. My advice is
The L.A. Roadsters are a well known club in Los Angeles, CA
with limited membership, and they have been around for many years. Their
original plaque had L.A. as their location. On a later version they had made, "Los
Angeles - Since 1957" was added in place of L.A.
The example on the left below appears to be a L.A. Roadsters
plaque with the location removed. Someone went a step farther with the three
plaques in the center by adding Denver, Pomona and So Cal, and selling them on eBay.
Another version being sold on eBay is the plaque on the right and LA was
replaced with Duces Are Wild.
The same guy is still making and selling these plaques on eBay
from time to time and on his latest versions below, he added "57" to the door
of the roadster on the LA plaque and Riverside under the roadster on the other
one. I'm guessing there may be more versions coming.
The Diehards is a San Leandro, CA based club that Gary Minor
started many years ago. The monthly newsletter he publishes is mostly known for the
last page. It's called the "Mauled Merc of the Month," and Gary picks
and features a car to roast. It doesn't have to be a Mercury, just any
poorly designed or executed "custom." Gary is a well known gearhead personality and a
member of a couple of halls of fame. Back in 1992 Gary had the parallelogram
shaped club plaque designed by Steve Stanford. The version of Gary's plaque in
the center, has GMC added
across the bottom and was being sold on eBay. When someone let Gary know about
the knock-off of his plaque, he commented that maybe the GMC was meant to mean
"Gary Minor's Club". Recently another version was for sale on eBay
with SCTA and Hollywood added.
One more example is the Vampires - So Bay plaque in the
middle. The person selling it on eBay took what may have been a Vampires -
Pueblo plaque and ground off Pueblo before adding So. Bay in larger letters to
cover up where Pueblo had been removed. The original Vampires - So. Bay plaque is
on the right and I was a member of this club that disbanded around 1957. The
plaque in the middle is bogus.
After receiving the photo of the Drifters plaque from Surf
noticed it looked a lot like a stock Drifters plaque with large letters added
for the location, like the ones on the Vampires plaque above and they barely fit
across the bottom. A surf board, steam coming from the radiator and three lines
behind the car were also added to
make it appear different. In my opinion it's another plaque for a club that
never was. It was being
auctioned on eBay and had a opening bid of $99.69, because it was "Unique
and Very Different". Unique? Yes. Very Different? Yes. Real Club? You be the judge.
Here is another example of the above plaque that someone added
Bur Bank to. There wasn't enough room under the car to put Burbank together.
Dennis O'Brien (O'Brien Truckers) has the original pattern for
the Port Arthur, TX Highway Prowlers plaque shown below on the left. When
Beverly Craine wrote and sent a photo of the plaque she found in a Galveston, TX thrift
store (2nd from the left),
she wanted to know if we had any info about who, or where, "OV" was.
She said it looked like something else had been across the bottom at one time
but it had the Chicago Metal Craft stamp on the reverse side. Probably another
Later on, someone sent photos of the two plaques on the right that were being
sold on eBay. They appear to be more examples of trying to make a plaque look like it was
for a real club. It looks like the same Port Arthur plaque was used, but with crude
home made looking letters added for the location. These types of plaques are becoming more
common and are often seen for sale on places like eBay or Craigslist.
Dennis also owns the original pattern for the Houston Road
Bandits plaque, shown on the left below. The version in the center has Houston
removed and was being sold on eBay. Then it appeared again on eBay, as shown on
the right with RTA added. Chances are it will appear again with a different
One of my contributors sent me the photo of the Down Shifters -
SCTA plaque on the right below. He said he was in Rialto, CA picking up a transmission and there was a guy there with a bunch of
plaques in his car. He bought the Down Shifters plaque from him because it had
“Chicago Metal Craft - Port Chicago Calif” cast on the back in raised
letters. The buyer contacted Jim Miller, who is a historian for the S.C.T.A.,
and Jim said that he has never
heard of this club belonging to the Southern California Timing Association. It's
another example of a plaque for a club that probably never existed, and it also
has those same crude looking letters added.
Here's another example of adding stuff to this Fanatics plaque.
Not only did they add SCTA, they also added RTA and Slow Pokes and put it on
eBay. I doubt that this club was a member of the SCTA or the RTA.
It appears as though the same person modified this Salt Kings
plaque on the right by adding BONNEVILLE to the car and UT to denote the state
that Ogden is in. It too was for sale on eBay.
The Knight Prowlers plaque has been modified several times.
It's unknown what this club's original plaque looked like.
Below are more examples of plaques that are probably not for
real clubs. Some of these types of plaques have also been "aged" to look old. Take a look at each
of the plaques to the right of what may have been an original plaque, and
make your own decision. More and more of these types of plaques can be seen for
sale on the Internet.