the meeting and announced that he wanted to start a local Region. He
also came up with the idea of having CLC meets at Turkey Run Park in McLean,
Virginia in the Summer and Fall of 1969. The
first shows were a lot of fun and some 12 or so cars were shown. Soon
after, a Region planning meeting was held and after some discussion, it was
decided that the Region would be called Potomac and Steven Sisson would be
its first Director. They soon applied to the
National CLC for provisional
After helping to form the Potomac Region, Ron Van Gelderen later
served as National President of the CLC
Although Ron left the area and lived in different parts of the country, he
kept in touch with the Potomac Region. In 2007, he returned to attend
Legacy of LaSalle
car show at Capitol Cadillac (pictured right) where he spoke on the history of LaSalles
(along with Matt Larson, he co-authored the most comprehensive book ever
written on LaSalles). Ron passed away in 2016 but will always be
remembered for his contributions to the hobby,
the CLC and to the Potomac Region!
infant organization was very informal in a number of ways, including not
requiring dues for the first couple of years. The hat was passed around at
the various get-togethers and this brought in enough money to buy paper
supplies and to pay for postage. Steven ran the club more or less from his
office across the street from The Washington Post on 15th Street.
Bryce Frey was the secretary and the keeper of monies, while Steven served
as newsletter writer/editor. Different people came up with ideas for
gatherings, meetings and so forth. Eventually dues were put in effect when
it became necessary to buy trophies to give out at the CLC national
the beginning, the Potomac Region kept growing. Its members in the early
years of the 1970s include a number of members who remain active members
today such as Juan Aranda, Bryce Frey and Richard Sisson, as well as others.
show how a car club can be run on a low budget, the June 1971 Potomac
Region News reports that, at an upcoming concours, it “… is currently
planned that a CLC car emblem will be given as a first-place prize and one
of the new patches will be awarded for second-place winners in the three
Besides the DC area enthusiasts, Cadillac and LaSalle owners from
Pennsylvania and New Jersey made the journey south to attend Potomac Region
events during the '70s. These included Gary Anderson, Lew Howells, Bill
Lanning and Gus Drake. Steven Sisson, who by then, was the CLC's Eastern
Vice President of Regions, felt that there was a need for a CLC Region in
Pennsylvania because, "we have a large number of members residing there, but
no Region for them." Steven published an open letter to CLC members
residing in Pennsylvania in the February 1975 issue of the CLC’s
publication, The Self-Starter, promising that if a CLC Region could
get started in Pennsylvania, “The New York, Potomac, and New England Region
people will assist you in getting started and I assure you that I will give
you all of the guidelines necessary.” From this appeal came the Valley
Forge Region which has not only flourished but has become one of the most
active Regions in the CLC.
the years, Potomac Region members too numerous to mention kept the momentum
going. Steven Sisson served as Director
of the Region from 1969 until 1976. The successive Directors have been
Charlie Lightbown (1977-1982),
Ralph Bennett (1983-1984),
Bill Thomas (1985-1992),
A. Keith Peirce (1992-1996), Nick Wilson
Bill Sessler (2002-2004) and
Vince Taliano (2005-present).
a time during the 1980s, the Potomac Region became less active, and there
were concerns about its continued viability. But, in an interesting irony,
the Valley Forge Region -- which had begun with an enthusiasm sparked by the
Potomac Region -- provided welcome support to its neighbor to the south.
Several Valley Forge Region members joined the Potomac Region when it was
trying to build its membership back up, and a considerable number of cars
with Pennsylvania and New Jersey license plates regularly attended the
Potomac Region’s meets and shows.
Region's most recent resurgence started in 2003 and was led by Bill Sessler,
the Region's immediate past Director, Richard Sills, Past CLC National
President and Henry & Diane Ruby, Car Show Coordinators (pictured right). Bill
understood the importance of having regular meetings; a monthly newsletter;
and increased activities. Richard provided the National CLC perspective
needed to take the Potomac Region to the next level. He has been invaluable
to the Region offering timely input on a wide range of CLC and the
automobile hobby topics. Starting in 2005, the Region began holding
annual fall theme-car shows, which became some of the most successful events
in CLC region history.
Cadillac Dream Cars and featured both
of the remaining 1953 Cadillac LeMans concept cars for the first time ever.
Henry & Diane were instrumental in the success of all those shows until his passing
in 2012. Diane passed in 2016 to rest in peace with her beloved Henry.
Membership in the Potomac Region has continued to increase every year. In
2004, the Region received the CLC Mary Lou Evans
Membership Award for its membership activities. And in
2006 membership hit an all-time high, making the Region the second
largest in the entire CLC.
In 2005, the Potomac
Region received the CLC Norm Uhlir Regional Activity
Award for the first time in its long history. The Region was
recognized for its remarkable resurgence and innovative initiatives (e.g.
electronic distribution of newsletters, neighboring Region ambassadorship
program, etc.). The Potomac Region won this award again, just three years
later in 2008, for its excellence in membership, hosting Regional meets and
special activities, providing timely and complete reports to the CLC,
submitting articles to The Self-Starter, and participation by members
in Grand Nationals and other CLC activities.
Similar to its actions to help with the founding of the Valley Forge Region,
the Potomac Region assisted with the formation of the Hampton Roads Region
in the Tidewater area of Virginia and the Potomac Region assisted the
Central Virginia Region in Richmond, Virginia with the development of their
any organization that has lasted over 40 years, the Potomac Region has had
high points and low points, but the one constant since 1992 has been
the unbelievable support received from Daniel Jobe and
an historic dealership established in Washington, DC in 1934 by Daniel's
grandfather, Floyd Akers. For many years, the dealership was located at
22nd and M Streets, in what is now a busy commercial area with shops and
restaurants. In 1979, the dealership moved to its present facility in
Greenbelt, near the intersection of the I-495 Beltway and the
Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The two annual car shows that Capitol
Cadillac sponsors rival any in the country
and the awards that are given to the winners demonstrate Capitol Cadillac’s
amazing generosity. Daniel Jobe (picture above holding left side of painting) was awarded the CLC
Cadillac Herald Award in 2009. Daniel was recognized for his
“promotion and generation of conspicuous recognition for the Cadillac
marque and important activities of the Cadillac & LaSalle Club.”
In addition to the CLC Norm Uhlir
Regional Activity Award, Newsletter Editor, Vince Taliano, and the
Region also received the
CLC Newsletter Excellence Award in 2005 (and
again in 2016) for the
Caddie Chronicle. The Caddie Chronicle was awarded the 2006
Old Cars Weekly Golden Quill Award and has repeated these honors in
2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The Caddie Chronicle newsletter is the
Region's crowning achievement and has played a major role in its resurgence.
Complementing the Region's newsletter is the Region's website, which was awarded the
CLC Website Excellence Award in 2012 and
the CLC Website Merit Award in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. To
date, over 3,000 pictures of cars, club events and club members are
available on the website.
Besides the contributions of Region members to our newsletter,
several members have submitted articles to the The Self-Starter. In fact, Potomac Region member Chris Cummings
(pictured left) was
the honored recipient of the CLC Maurice Hendry Award
in 2008 for his “journalistic contributions in furtherance of the purposes
of the Cadillac & LaSalle Club,” for his submissions to The Self-Starter
and for his authorship of the book,
The Cadillac That Followed Me Home.
Chris' latest book,
Cadillac V-16s Lost and Found,
was published in 2014. It traces the history of the 1930s classics.
the years, Steven Sisson (pictured right with microphone) continued to serve
as a leader in the Region. And in 2008, the National CLC
recognized his 40 years of service
by presenting him with the CLC’s most prestigious award, the
CLC Henry M. Leland
Award. The Leland Award is presented to an outstanding CLC member who has
performed acts of great merit. Steven performed acts of great merit for the CLC
until his passing in 2011.
Thanks to the Potomac Region, and all of the support it receives from its
members and from the CLC, the Cadillac and LaSalle hobby remains alive and
well in our Nation's Capital!