FALLBROOK – Carroll and Cecelia Njust, 90 and 85 years old respectively, are the oldest, active members of the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club and reflected recently on how the club has grown over the years.
Originally formed over 50 years ago as the Ford Model “A” Club, by a small group of men who met at the home of one of the members, the group’s only scheduled activity was its annual Memorial Day Car Show. The show was produced mainly for the purpose of raising funds for the needy in the rural Fallbrook community.
The Fallbrook Historical Society museum houses several references to the car club’s early days, including displays and artifacts. The museum’s Ford Room contains three vintage vehicles – a 1923 Model T Ford donated by founder Paul Stiles; a 1930 Model ‘A’ roadster donated by Arlyne Ingold; and 1930 Model ‘A’ donated by Chuck Thomas (driven every year by Jack Story in the Fallbrook Christmas Parade). In 1961, spearheaded by Bob White and Paul Stiles, the group made the decision to formally become the Fallbrook Car Club.
In 1974, Carroll Njust, a retired Air Force Colonel, drove his 1930 Ford Model ‘A’ pickup from Randolph Air Base in San Antonio to Fallbrook where he and Cecelia had purchased a large parcel of undeveloped property. Besides developing this property and building their dream home, the couple found time to join the Fallbrook Car Club.
There were only 14 members at the time, but membership began to increase and in 1975, the club was renamed the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club. The club then joined the Antique Automobile Club of America and in 1976 became a Chapter of the San Diego Region. The members’ wives, realizing that the car collector’s hobby could be lots of fun, started their own series of fundraising events in parallel with the men’s group and eventually formally became members of the car club. Now, in 2013, there are 200 active male and female members in the club.
Carroll and Cecelia kept their beloved 1930 Model A pickup that brought them to Fallbrook and it was one of the featured vehicles in the both the 1995 and 2003 editions of the Fallbrook Vintage Car Show poster.
The Njusts have also owned some very exotic vintage vehicles including a special 1939 Hudson Super 6 convertible coupe as well as a number of vintage Citroens. The poster for the Fallbrook Vintage Car Show of 2004 featured the Njust’s 1972 Citroen Station Wagon among other featured cars.
Today, the car club’s primary annual event remains the Fallbrook Vintage Car Show, held over Memorial Day weekend.
“It is the longest, continuous running annual car show on the West Coast,” said Chuck Tillotson, publicity chairman for the club. “This year, the 48th annual Fallbrook Vintage Car Show will feature Lincoln cars of the 50’s and 60’s and feature over 300 vintage vehicles of all makes and models in the show.
“Model ‘A’s’ and ‘T’s’ will also have a place of honor in this extravaganza,” said Tillotson.
Proceeds from the annual event are donated to local deserving groups, clubs, and schools.
For more information on the car club, its regular meetings, and more, visit www.fallbrookvintagecarclub.org or call (760) 723-1181.