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AACA Western Fall Meet
Aug. 31-Sep. 2, 2006

Dash plaque awarded to all participants at the Sunnyvale Meet.

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A Special Invitation From Frank Snyder

In a quest to locate parts for Bugsby, Lynn attends the HCCA (Horseless Carriage Club of America) swap meet in Bakersfield, CA on April 21, 2006. While Lynn doesn't score any good parts, he does see some great old cars and has a chance meeting with Frank Snyder III, an active member of the Foothills Region of the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America). Lynn tells Frank of his 1924 Kissel Speedster and his plan to participate in classic car shows. Frank encourages Lynn to consider the upcoming AACA National Meet to be held in Sunnyvale. They exchange contact information and Frank subsequently sends Lynn information on the AACA and the Sunnyvale Meet.

In April, Lynn was certain that the body will be reunited with the chassis of Bugsby in time for the Sunnyvale Meet on the Labor Day weekend four months hence. But as fate will have it, there is considerable scope creep in the body work and Bugsby's body is still bare metal at the end of August.

Before his participation in the 100 year celebration of the Kissel Motor Car Company, Lynn would never have dreamed that entering an incomplete car in a major car show would be greated with enthusiasm by others. Encouraged by the warm reception that he received showing Bugsby's chassis in Hartford, Lynn screws up his courage and applies to participate in the Western Fall Meet of the AACA in Sunnyvale.

So Many Beautiful Cars That Your Head Just Swims

Here are just a few of the beautiful cars that are on display.

About 70 extraordinary automobiles from the 1910's through about 1980 are entered in the Sunnyvale Meet. In fact although he sets out to snap an image of each and every vehicle, there are so many cars that Lynn cannot photograph them all because of the press of the other responsibilities he has this day. Lynn did not see a single "dog" in the bunch.

The 1931 American Austin roadster owned by Lynn and Jan James, Tracey, CA.

Lynn has the pleasure of renewing his acquaintance with Lynn James and his wife Jan. The Lynns had met a year earlier at the 16th Annual LLESA Vintage Vehicle Show. This time, Lynn has the added pleasure of meeting Jan, his wife, and his 1931 American Austin. Lynn J., Jan, Lynn K. and Jeanne share a table at the Friday and Saturday evening meals during the show. Jan, an avid ancestory buff, offers to help Lynn K. research his possible connection with the Hartford Kissels.

This is the first time that Lynn K. remembers seeing Lynn J.'s American Austin roadster. The thing is a perfect little jewel and shows real craftmanship and attention to detail. Lynn K. hopes that his final efforts with Bugsby come close to those that Lynn J. achieved on his car.

Mikey Likes It!

Lynn and Andrew pose before Bugsby's bare chassis.

At first Lynn suspects that they are only being polite. After all, you must have been in an ackward social situation sometime in your life where you choose to say something nice to someone who you felt didn't quite measure up to the moment. Lynn feels that he actually gets quite a different reaction. People appear to be genuinely interested in seeing an incomplete restoration, a work in progress.

Lynn thinks of a TV commercial where the other kids give the fussy kid, Mikey, the questionable breakfast cereal to eat. To their surprise, Mikey likes the cereal so they eat it, too.

As at Hartford, Lynn receives unexpectedly warm and interested engagement by spectators, other car owners, AACA judges and national board members. Lynn's told that the exposed chassis gives many people an unusual and interesting perspective on the construction of older cars. Jeff Locke, the chief judge of the meet, pauses during the presentation of trophies at the awards banquet to publicly thank Lynn for bringing his chassis and asks for a ride when the car is complete. Lynn is more than satisfied with the experience.

A significant side benefit is that Lynn is given many hints for further improvement on his work. More than one AACA judge spends time with Lynn going over the details of his restoration efforts, using constructive criticism to point out items that can be made better. One individual offers to machine more appropriate castle nuts for Bugsby's motor mounts.

Lynn thinks he recognizes a pattern that is similar to a software development technique called rapid prototyping. Instead of waiting until the final product is ready, after investing a lot of effort and time with the possible result of creating something that is off target, the strategy of rapid prototyping gets an early version of the product before the customer. As a result the customer can react to the development at an early stage, helping to direct the developer to create something that more closely aligns with their desires. Lynn receives numerous comments that will sharpen his focus on how to better refinish his car.

Lynn now thinks that more owners would benefit from getting feedback on their early restoration efforts. Lynn wonders if the AACA should create some new competition class that would encourage this behavior, getting owners to exhibit cars in the middle of restoration.

Lynn Becomes An AACA Judge — Heaven Help Us, All!

Lynn is awarded three judging credits for: attending judges training; continuing judging education (chassis); and apprentice judging class. He is awarded these three chips attesting to his participation.

As Lynn reviews the schedule of events, he notes that a judging seminar is being offered. Thinking that this will help him better understand what AACA judges will be looking for in Bugsby, Lynn considers signing up for the class.

As the day of the event approaches, Lynn's enthusiasm begins to wain and it is likely that Lynn might have skipped the class if it were not for Joanna Cooper, AACA Vice President National Activities. When Jeanne and Lynn visit the AACA hospitality suite in the hotel, they run into Joanna. This is a remarkable woman that is incrediably vivacous and outgoing — a perfect representative for the AACA. In the hospitality suite, Joanna engages Lynn in conversation. Lynn confides that he has been thinking of attending the judging seminar the next day, Lynn's undoing. Joanna encourages Lynn to attend.

Largely as a result of his conversation with Joanna the night before, Lynn shows up at the judging seminar. Joanna is present and grabs Lynn by the arm and marches him to the front of the room, introducing him to Fred Young, AACA Chairman for Judges Training. Joanna tells Fred of Lynn's interest in judging and sets the hook. Lynn proceeds to complete the judging class, the continuing judges education seminar on chassis, and the apprentice judging class. Before Lynn knows it he's a qualified (or unqualified) AACA judge. Lord have mercy on us!

In truth, this is a very productive experience for Lynn. Now he better understands the system used by AACA in judging cars, first for authenticity, second for workmanship. Through these classes Lynn has the opportunity to closely inspect several cars and compare his impressions with the other apprentices and two experienced judges.

It's a real eye opener. Lynn is sure that this experience has kicked his efforts with Bugsby to a new level. As Lynn confides to Jeanne when they return home, he feels like he should disassemble Bugsby and start again.

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Last updated: May 24, 2009