LEC started as a result of Jack Tolson and the writer going to a car meet in Wicliffe, Ohio east of Cleveland on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in June 1975. At the meet we met and talked with a real character in the best sence or the word. This guy, who turned out to later become our first President was Paul Geltch. Paul, already in his sixties, was astride a blue 42 HD with a sidecar decorated as only Paul could decorate. You old guys know what I mean. Paul ran a body shop on Lake Shore Blvd. and E. 140th St in Cleveland, Sprayed paintwithout a mask, cleared his throat between coats at Al's next door, and shut down to go to thistledown or Randall whenever the spirit moved him. Paul also had a basement full of old motorcycles and a body shop full of 60's T-Birds and old motorcycles. In reality the body shop was a sideline and was kept going as it did not interfere with Pauls first loves.
Paul indicated his interest in forming an old bike club, and since Jack and I were looking for a club closer to home, we agreed to meet at Paul's house later in the month. At that meeting Paul was appointed President, Bill Gullo VP, George Holzheimer CorresSecretary and Newsletter Editor, Bill Wolfe Recording Secretary, and Jack Tolson Treasurer. Next we had to decide to go independent or try to join an existing club. We finally decided to join the AMCA since they had the strongest organization, a schedule of meets, a printed roster, a magazine, and an existing group of chapters. This proved to be a wise move, in spite of the fact that "conservative" did not even begin to describe the AMCA outlook in the 70's.
In addition to going to Medina at Dr. Clevelands farm, we made several car meets in the area. Some of the places we went were the antique race car meets at the Burton Fairgrounds and Carrolton Fairgrounds, Madison, Ohio Old Time Days, Randolph, Tiffin, Tony Oden's Chagrin Falls Armory Swap Meet and Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio. Not bad for a group that started life in June of that year. The ?Toledo affair was sponsored by the AAIMC and was held in conjunction with the AMA expert half mile races. Kenny Roberts won that night, the Indians got to ride around the track at intermission, and the promoter charged us each five bucks to put on the half time show. What a prince.
What I remember most about Toledo was that as Jack Tolson and I were going thru the pit gate, some idiot on the gate controls closed the power gate as my bike trailer was half way thru the gate, bending my H-beam trailer axle at a 45 degree angle. We spent the next half hour backing the trailer axle into the corner of a fairgrounds building getting it straight enough to go back down the turnpike to Warren. One the ride back home we took turns watching out the back window of the Suburban checking to see if the wheel was going to fall off. There is always an up sside to any downers and at Toledo a person came up to me in the display area and asked me if I bought Indians. I said yes and that led to buying out a small shop in western Indiana that was being closed out by the widow. Bob Bancroft and Jack Tolson each made one trip over there with me. We had so much stuff we left the HD side car, and all the early jap stuff.
Our first real flop was the Fall Meet scheduled for Mohican State Park south of Mansfield. Exactly three people showed up. The meet chairman, Bill Kuhlman of Toledo, and Jack and I were the only ones who came out in the rain.
One dollar a year covered the dues and by the end of 1975 we had fifty paid members. A list follows of our first roster using last names only:
Allen, Blundell, Byrne, Becker, Bidlack, Bancroft, Crain, Comey, Cook, Enders, Emlong, Fessenden, Geltch, Gullo, Grove, Holzheimer, Horvath, Jones, Kenworthy, Kuhlman, Kell, Krank, Kissel, Kline, Love, Martin, Mauer, McWilliams, Morsher, Newhouse, Offenbacher, Pinyozy, Oden, Provin, Piero, Rees, Rausch, Richcreek, Sababos, Schanz, Simon, Tinsler, Tolson, Turek, Vaughn, Wickham, Warrington, Washburn, Wolfe.
Getting this many members in only six months operation may seem like a difficult task but it was really easy. All we did was use the Existing AMCA roster and mail applications to every name in northern Ohio and PA, upstate western New York, northern Indiana and Lower Michigan.
The LEC Newsletter was printed on an old ditto machine in purple ink on borrowed paper. The start of an LEC tradition was mentioned in the Nov-Dec issue with the announcement that the first meeting of 1976 wold be held in January at Bil and Yvonne Newhouse's home in Stow.
Ads the first year included this item: For Sale, Indian 1936 Pony /scout with extra engine and heads. Machine is in excellent shape for easy restoration and has good compression. $600 firm. Wally Enders.
And so it went. We were on our way.
BY : George Holzheimer (From LEC Newsletter February 1993)
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