WE ARE THE PHILADELPHIA REGION
OF THE SPORTS CAR CLUB OF AMERICA
On February 26, 1944, a group of seven sports car owners met at the home of Chapin Wallour in Boston, MA, and formed a club to “foster the preservation of sports cars.” This was the beginning of the Sports Car Club of America, SCCA. During the Spring they had get-togethers where pictures and stories were exchanged. On a hot July Sunday, they held their first meet to which members drove their “respective sportswagens” – a Duesenberg, a Jaguar, a Mercer, a Phantom I, and two Lancia Lambdas. By then, some Pennsylvanians had become members of the club, but did not make the trek to Boston because of the heat, the distance, and the rationing of gasoline due to WWII.
The October meet was held in Connecticut. Eleven club cars lined up on the triangular grass plot fronting the historic home of one member. Quoting from the Sportswagen, “Assembled for the purpose of taking photographs, the cars soon became an ‘exhibit,’ and upwards of 100 people stopped to inspect them in the course of the afternoon.” George Caswell, the first Philadelphia Regional Executive, was among them with his “very fast French le Mans job, a B.N.C. with a racing Ford 60 under the hood, replacing the original Ruby engine.” Caswell was honored for having made the longest run – all the way from Philadelphia! In fact, his open 2-seater made it back to Philadelphia in under 6 hours, including several stops (remember, no Interstates).
The January-February 1945 issue of the Sportswagen refers to the “Philadelphia Scuderia.” A group of “region” members had obtained a garage containing workshop facilities as well as storage space. For $3.00/month, members could use the facility for storage and for working on their cars. hey had 17 cars in the “scuderia” and had room for 10 more.
George Caswell and another Philadelphian, Otto Linton, participated in The Spring Meet, May 19 and 20, 1945. According to the newsletter, “the only unforseen event was the rain on Saturday which made driving the more open cars something of a yachting expedition. The Petite Bone Tavern at Weatogue, Conn. was an ideal setting being well equipped with food, drink, and a parking space... the most arduous trip was undoubtedly that of the B.N.C. (Caswell and Linton) coming from Philadelphia and shipping water in sufficient quantity so that a bilge pump is being considered as additional touring equipment.”
In January 1946, George Caswell, Otto Linton, and three other Philadelphia area members attended the second annual SCCA meeting at which time Caswell was selected to be the first Regional Executive of the Philadelphia Region. Thomas McKean, a member since April 1944 became the second RE in 1947, followed by Otto Linton in 1948.
Officially incorporated on May 2, 1953, Philadelphia Region SCCA, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)(4) Pennsylvania corporation representing the members of the Sports Car Club of America located in the greater Philadelphia area and all of Delaware. The Philly Region includes the Pennsylvania counties of: Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, Lehigh, and Northampton. We also represent all of Delaware including Kent, New Castle, and Sussex Counties.
We promote interest and expertise in the safe and skillful operation of sports cars and other automobiles. The Region provides community service through the encouragement of and training in competent, safe and legal operation of automobiles. We create learning opportunities for people to obtain automotive driving and event operations skills. The Region puts these skills into practice by creating and arranging driving events governed by the regulations of the Sports Car Club of America.
The Philadelphia Region SCCA learned of the passing of Marc Gerstein on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Marc was a 2007 inductee to the SCCA Hall of Fame. A member of the Club since 1968, Marc was a longtime fixture in the Philadelphia Region.
One of the early influencers of the SCCA's current Solo program, Marc was at the forefront of safety programs for both Solo II (autocross) and what is now known as the Time Trials program. Throughout the years, he had been an active participant in Solo, Hillclimbs and Road Racing, holding official licenses in all three programs. For his service, Marc was honored with the Solo Cup in 1978 and was the 2004 recipient of the Woolf Barnato Award.
Howard Duncan, SCCA’s Senior Director of Rally/Solo, said, “Marc was such an important and influential part of the Solo program and a fixture at National Conventions for decades. He was very often the one to have the opening question at Board of Directors Town Hall meetings, and it was usually the most probing question of the day. He also had a very funny, self-depreciating sense of humor.”
It’s indeed a sad day for the SCCA, and the Club wishes to sincerely thank Marc for all he has done. While his presence will be sorely missed, his impact will still be felt each weekend as racing participants across the country head out to have a safe and fun experience playing with cars.
Region Executive: Jeff Jacobs
Assistant R.E.: Rachel Leach
Treasurer: Steven Rosenberg
Secretary: Jon Love
Solo Chair: Rachel Leach
RallyCross Chair: open
Road Racing Chair: George Bloeser
Road Rally Chair: open
Merchandise Chair: Bev Schaible
Webmaster / Web Designer: [volunteer wanted]