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.

Newhouse Automotive Industries     Newhouse Catalog Page  

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 buyer beware.


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.

Roadsters   Roadsters

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.

Roadsters   Roadsters - Denver   Roadsters - Pomona   Roadsters - So Cal   Roadsters - 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.

B-Roadsters-57_LA.jpg (73377 bytes)   Roadsters - Riverside


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.

Diehards   Diehards - GMC   B-Diehards_Hollywood.jpg (62224 bytes)   


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.

Vampires - Pueblo   Vampires - So Bay   Vampires - So Bay


After receiving the photo of the Drifters plaque from Surf City, I 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.

Drifters   Drifters - Surf City

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.

Drifters - Burbank


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 unsolved mystery.

Highway Prowlers - Port Arthur, TX   Highway Prowlers - OV   Highway Prowlers - So Ca   Highway Prowlers - California

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 location.

Road Bandits - Houston   Road Bandits   Road Bandits - RTA


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.

Down Shifters   Down Shifters - SCTA

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.

Fanatics   Fanatics

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.

Salt Kings Rod & Custom    Salt Kings


The Knight Prowlers plaque has been modified several times. It's unknown what this club's original plaque looked like.

Knight Prowlers - So Cal   Knight Prowlers - So Cal - LB - SB   Knight Prowlers  Knight Prowlers


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.

Acclesians - Valley   Acclesians - S.G. Valley

Binders - No. Hollywood   Binders - No. Hollywood, CA

Creepers - Fresno   Creepers - LA - Fresno - SF

Emissaries - N.H.   Emissaries - Mht N.H.

Gamblers   Gamblers TA - LV

The Grave Shifters CC - East Coast   The Grave Shifters CC - Salem, MA

Islanders - Santa Catalina   Islanders MC - Santa Catalina

Jokers   B-Jokers_Burbank.jpg (53201 bytes)   Jokers - Nor Cal

Majestics - Atascadero   Majestics - So Cal

Monarchs - Evansdale   Monarchs - Chino   Monarchs - Pomona, CA

Road Agents   Road Agents - Hollister



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