Vintage auto enthusiasts from across the nation converged in Westmoreland County on June 2 for the annual Antique Automobile Club of America’s Grand National Meet. More than 500 vehicles, ranging from a 1903 Cadillac to 1960s and 1970s muscle cars to a 1991 Chrysler Grand Wagoneer, were registered for the event.
Worldwide, the AACA has more than 60,000 members, and many were on hand for the show. Among the many on hand, the ICTA was well represented by member Christian Hutter. Most of our ICTA Facebook participants are well aware of the hard work required to prepare for the show. Chris, has regularly posted on the prep efforts on his 1976 Checker A11.
Like many Checker owners Chris is constantly making incremental changes on his A11. To get ready for this years show Chris posted in March “Seats done with vintage vinyl. Saw them in person and they look great. Should have them home next week. Oh the price I pay.” followed by another post “Seats are in! Still need to fine tune a little but, finally have headrests and the right materials.”
Beyond the mandatory cleaning and polishing, Chris also insured that the Checker was in top order. In May he posted “Getting a slightly overdue inspection and a set of rear brakes. All for the AACA Grand Nationals next weekend.”
Keep in mind, Chris has been preparing for this event for several years. The beauty of the Facebook search features allows all members to search on all posts. Back in 2015 Chris posted “Spent many hours today removing the power steering pump, brackets and AC compressor to clean and repaint. My reward was a broken low pressure return hose on the steering pump. I’ll tackle that tomorrow as I don’t think I can sweat anymore today”, just one example of the many posts created by Chris.
Here’s a full list of upgrades made since last year in prep for the Grand National;
1. Replaced cracked steering wheel with identical, vintage wheel. Also refurbished horn pad.
2. Replaced discolored speedometer with NOS speedometer.
3. Installed missing weatherstripping on all 4 doors.
4. Replaced “Air” sticker on dashboard.
5. Touched up dashboard paint.
6. Recolored air conditioner control knobs and text.
7. Refurbished /Reupholstered donor seats with vintage vinyl.
8. Touched up exterior paint as needed.
9. Replaced rear brakes.
10. Replaced damaged hub cap.
As Chris made his way to the show trailering his A11, he posted on Facebook “I can’t shake this Checker tailgater. Made it to Greensburg, PA though for the AACA Grand Nationals. Now for the rain….. of course.” Indicating he was ready to show, Chris posted “Cleaned and prepped waiting for the games to begin”.
All Christian’s hard work paid off, the 1976 Checker A11 earned a 1st place trophy and on hand for the presentation, some special friends. Speaking of special friends Chris met up with a very special old friend, Don McHenry, the founder of the Checker Car Club of America. Chris posted “Got to meet a legend today, Don McHenry”. Don’s no longer active in the CCCofA but its great to see him participating in this prestrigious AACA event.
For more information about Chris and his long history with Checker, check out his fantastic blog documenting his historical roots to Checker.