The Antique Auto Club of America is now an organization with a membership of well over 5,000 men and women, scattered over the entire United States, extending into Canada and England. When it was founded in November, 1935, it had but 14 members. Theodore B. Brooks, of Windermere avenue, known to his host of friends everywhere as “Ted,” was one of this group.
Always a familiar figure in and around Wayne, he is little short of a sensation when he drives his 1912 White touring car. Especially is this true when there are any strangers in our midst. To old timers, Ted’s love of antique automobiles is a familiar thing, dating back to his ownership of a 1913 Buick roadster, given him by the late Dr. Charles D. Smedley.
Even as a youngster Ted was always interested in old cars. He tells us that he came into possession of the Smedley car because he looked at it so often and so longingly, after it had gone into retirement, that the doctor gave it to him. At that time, it was on blocks in the stable at the rear of what is now the Township Building, on East Lancaster avenue. This was Doctor Smedley’s second car, the first having been a two-cylinder Autocar in which he sometimes took Ted and his sister for rides “down the Pike” at what was then considered the breathtaking speed of about 25 miles per hour.
The picture of the old Buick roadster was taken some years ago by Ted Brooks, after be had taken two of his neighbors, Mrs. William Gookin and the latter’s son, Bill Gookin, for a ride. At that time the Brooks and Gookin families both lived on Brookside avenue. His recollections in connection with his first car, include the day in 1935 when he won a prize by covering the distance between Coatesville and Convention Hall in Philadelphia in 59 minutes. He was supposed to have had a motor escort, but somehow connections were missed.
The car was in many parades while it was in his possession, among them Hallowe’en celebrations in Wayne, and a Philadelphia parade for Alfred M. Landon, when the Kansan was Republican presidential candidate.
Among other interesting events in which Mr. Brooks took part were three of the well-known “Glidden Tours” for old automobiles, upon their revival in 1946, after a lapse of more than 30 years. This year’s Antique Auto Club of America tour will take its participants into Canada.
Eventually, the Buick roadster was sold by its Wayne owner to a man in Downingtown, who later took it to Virginia. Mr. Brooks then bought a 1912 Haymes car, in Ambler, for $25. His third purchase was a 1909 Buick, which had belonged to Charles H. Stewart, of St. Davids. In 1941 he acquired his present car, “sight unseen,” from another member of the Antique Auto Club, driving it back to Wayne from New York the night of its purchase.
This current antique of Mr. Brooks is a handsome car, always kept at its shining best, although used fairly frequently. It is a 1912, six-cylinder White touring car with four forward speeds and 60 horsepower. It can maintain a speed of 65 to 70 miles per hour in fourth gear. Its original cost was $5,000, with the top and windshield as extras. In the picture shown at the head of this column, this impressive old car is shown, with its owner, at the “Dutch Cupboard” in Downingtown, at one of the meets at the Antique Automobile Club of America around 1941.
(To be continued)
While Mrs. Patterson has pictures of other old automobiles on hand for use in this column she would welcome still more from this locality, especially if they are accompanied by descriptions and stories of the cars.