In the early
1980’s, there was a 14 member Fabulous Fifties Ford Club of
Manitoba that was a chapter of the California-based Ford club.
were sporadic and there was minimal member participation in car
shows. It seemed that the Ford lovers of the day were pretty
much consumed with their jobs and families. In time, the club
kind of faded away.
Out of the ashes
of that experience, rose the Phoenix now beloved of our club
members - the Fabulous 50s Ford Club of Manitoba.
this is how it happened. On July 9, 1994, Larry D’Argis attended
the All Fords Sunday car show hosted by the Galaxie Club of
Manitoba which was in its second year of operation.
As he wandered
around, Larry couldn’t help but notice a number of 1950’s Fords
and Mercurys. He began to wonder if there would be sufficient
interest in re-establishing a 50s Ford club.
Larry took down
the names of twelve Ford owners and promised to contact them
shortly to discuss establishing a new Ford car club.
Less than a month
later, the Fabulous 50s Ford Club of Manitoba was established.
The first meeting, held August 3, 1994, was attended by 13
people which included two couples - the Lannoos and Martens.
Two weeks after
their first meeting, the original group of Ford enthusiasts met
again. But by then, the group had expanded by an additional
By the end of
their second meeting, the club name, Fabulous 50s Ford Club of
Manitoba, had been established as a non-profit organization
dedicated to 1949 - 1960 Monarch, Mercury, Meteor, Edsel,
Thunderbird, and Lincoln cars and trucks but with ownership of
such a vehicle not required to become a member. Dues were set at
A Board of
Directors was established with the responsibility to insure that
all business transactions are conducted in accordance with the
purpose and structure of the Club. Directors elected and
continuing to date are:
Linden Johnson, Susan Martens, Betty Lannoo, Albert Lannoo, and
Executive was elected and volunteer positions for Newsletter
Editor, Activities, Publisher, Photographer, Advertising,
Historian, Fundraising and Activities Committee were filled.
Weekly runs were planned for Thursday nights at the Thunderbird
Drive-Inn on McPhillips and club meetings had been established
as being the last Thursday of the month. Membership dues were
set and members discussed what they would like to do
activity-wise and to obtain in terms of merchandise. They also
decided to maintain a club photo album.
At the third
meeting, held September 29, 1994, Maryann Zabolotny presented
the club logo for approval and Albert Lannoo and Rick Wilk from
Star Sportswear presented the club jacket design. Both were
approved by the members. Larry D’Argis presented the 1st club
Roster and the newsletter title of “The Customline” was
approved with Larry D’Argis as its first editor and Ed Wlock as
the publisher. A new member, Don Turner, offered to host the 1st
Annual Pumpkin Run.
By the time the
fourth meeting came round on October 27th, a bank ac- count had
been opened and was bursting with $584.50. By now membership had
grown to 25 members and 31 vehicles. They decided to hold the
club’s 1st Christmas Party on November 24th.
By the time the
Fall 1995 issue of The Customline was printed, membership had
reached seventy and included members from BC, Quebec, and the
North West Territories.
charter members have remained within the club from day one of
its inception: Albert & Betty Lannoo, Gordon Boles, Larry
D’Argis, Bob and Pat Keller, Henry and Susan Martens, Cliff and
Carol Relf, and Ed and Pat Wlock. Gerry Wilson and Roy Zelinsky
were both charter members who dropped out of the club for a
period of time and later rejoined.
membership approaches 200, Larry’s early estimate of a potential
membership of 30 Manitoban Ford lovers seems a tad low.
As you read
through the on-line club newsletters, you can’t help but be
struck by the fact that the attributes that we hear that members
most appreciate about this club were evident very early on in
the club’s history - friendliness of members, frequent
activities, road trips, regular meetings, support from the
business community, and the willingness of the members to pitch
in to do whatever is required to operate the club and make its
various activities a big success.
From the very
beginning, the stories in The Customline confirm the “big heart”
of the membership and the extraordinary contributions of some of
In a newsletter
story titled “A Fond Farewell”, we learn how a casual
conversation between a club member and a nurse at a hospital
resulted in club members pitching in to help restore a 1958
Edsel for a complete stranger whose terminal illness was
preventing his finishing his car before his passing. Because
club members cared, the Edsel’s restoration did occur in time.
His car was driven to Health Sciences Centre so that he could be
brought outside in his wheelchair and enjoy a brief time sitting
in the driver’s seat of his beloved Edsel. Only true car folk
fully understand how much that must have meant to him.
And then there’s
the time that Albert supplemented the club’s funds with a
substantial sum of money so that it could take on an activity
that club finances would not support.
adventurous spirit was very much in play. Club travels included
Findlater, SK, Ashern, Carman, Winkler, Steinbach, Beausejour,
and Poplarfield and that was just in the first year. And, of
course only one year after establishing the club, members came
together to launch the Flashback Weekend that is the largest,
free car show in Manitoba.
In describing the
volunteer effort that pulled off that first highly successful
Fifties Flashback car show at the Thunderbird, Reid Dewbury said
“A year ago, we didn’t even know each other, now we’re like a
family.” And it is a very good thing that all these years later
that sentiment is often repeated amongst today’s membership.
issues, The Customline documents the vibrant life of the club as
it took on the police car as its mascot, implemented the Ford
line and later the website, improved its financial position,
began to support local charities and added other club events
such as World of Wheels and additional member services such as
the annual Events Schedule. And the list goes on and on.
We could never do
justice to all the various events and activities recorded in The
Customline. But hopefully your curiosity is sufficiently engaged
that you will spend a pleasant afternoon or evening skimming
through the life and times of the Fabulous 50s. The website can
be found at: www. fabulous50sford.com If you have forgotten the
password to get into the “Members Only” sections of the web-
site, contact your activities coordinator, or email
It’s been a heck
of a ride so far. And, while our roots are firmly planted in a
shared love of 50’s Fords, today the club spirit embraces all
who love the Fabulous 50s era and the cars we loved to drive
then and now.
Amen to that!