History of the
Southside A’s

The origin of the club: 
The national Model A Restorer’s Club (MARC) divides its membership around the country into geographic areas they name “Regions.” The Model A Ford Club of America (MAFCA) uses the designation "Chapters."  

The Griffin Georgia Region of MARC, which was the predecessor of the Southside A’s, was chartered in 1989.  The originating Director was Marshall Pape, an avid collector and owner of a large Model A parts supply company in Griffin, GA.  For the first years he was the driving force behind the club’s formation with a basically inactive board of directors.  The group’s former club alliance was centered on the north and east side of Atlanta which made access difficult for the more southerly members.  Due to the aging membership which had dwindled to around a dozen, by the early 2000’s many no longer had Model A’s and club activities became limited only to monthly dinners at one of the local Griffin-area restaurants.   Still, the club was kept alive by Marshall Pape.  

Near the end of 2005 the more active members met at the Golden Corral Restaurant in Newnan to discuss the future direction for the club. Those present included Marshall Pape, Dick and Jason Carne, Ray Besch, Eugene Willingham, Merle Bennett, Bud Shelton, former National President of MARC, and Jim Johnston.  The energetic band elected new board members. Marshall Pape remained as Director for the following year and Ray Besch volunteered to become vice-Director.  The following year, Ray assumed the Director position infusing the club with new energy.

The new Southside A’s:
Under the new leadership, new target goals and objectives were established.  The first goal was that by now more members had completed their restorations or had good touring cars and they wanted to put them to use.  A second goal was committing to a new annual calendar of events that did not repeat previous events and outings.  But the third and most important goal was to relocate the center of the membership.  A new name was decided upon which would make it more inclusive to the southern Atlanta regional area.  This new title would not have the name of Griffin or any specific city but would relate to the entire area south of Atlanta.  On April 6, 2006 the region was renamed the SOUTHSIDE A’S.  A new Charter was created and presented by the Model A Restorers Club (MARC) Director of Regions.

While enlarging the membership was desired by the new board, the focus of the organization was to emphasize the enjoyment of the cars and each other’s company.  Growth, they figured, would come if they remained loyal to this philosophy.  Under the talented leadership of Ray Besch, and the succeeding committed directors, the club did grow. Ray took on the responsibility of creating a formalized newsletter which further helped the club to become better organized.  By 2007, the Southside A’s was gaining by one or two more families every quarter.  Today, the membership list stands at over 50 families and is still growing.

Our active monthly newsletter is being circulated widely and our website and enthusiastic members are attracting even more new families into the fold.  We are well represented in community affairs, parades, local period movies, local school and church exhibitions, and car shows.