N. Lake Drive
Origin & History
ORIGINS & HISTORY
The ancient origins of our Club can be traced to an event that occurred on an early Summer evening in 1953 where a chance encounter at Buddy Beek’s bar on Milwaukee’s east side between Bugatti collector Dave Uihlein and Packard restorer Bob Klaus led to a discussion regarding Dave’s Type 57 Bugatti.The discussion then led to an agreement to take the Bugatti which was garaged a short distance away at Dave’s mother’s home on N. Lake Drive for a “ride”.
What followed was hardly a “ride.”
It was instead an epic high-speed run north along Lake Drive as the straight-eight supercharged Bugatti with open exhausts shattered the evening calm as it hurtled northward toward Bayside at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Soon other sounds were heard – anemic siren sounds emanating from several Shorewood Police cars (‘48 Studebakers), as they took up the chase in a futile effort to curb the speeding racer.
As word of the Uihlein-Klaus escapade spread, a group of High School students at the old Milwaukee Country Day School were so inspired by the event that to honor and immortalize it they formed the North Lake Drive 100 MPH Club - open to anyone, who in the presence of another member could reach a speed of 100 MPH on North Lake Drive without being arrested. The downhill stretch of the Drive between School Road and Montclaire Avenue with its absence of access streets, soon became the preferred and safest section of the road for those who sought to qualify for Club membership.
Early qualifying and founding members included George Brumder, Doug Anderson, Tom Mac Arthur, Fred Madison and Weasel McClay. Others soon joined and Club membership reached 12. During the early 1960’s meetings were held periodically at Beek’s east side bar but regrettably interest in the Club waned and in 1963 it was folded in to the Lower Lake Drive Athletic Association - a popular Lake Park touch football and tennis organization that had been recently formed by Lee Durand.
When the Lower Lake Drive Athletic Association was disbanded in the mid seventies, due to declining membership and lack of interest, the NLD100MPH Club entered a long period of dormancy.
Happily this dark age for our Club ended in 1989 when the organization was resurrected at a meeting at the University Club of Milwaukee attended by a group of enthusiasts that included: Bill Porter, Ron Schneider, Ron Scoma, Harold Zimdars, Tom Mac Arthur, Michael Macintosh, Bill Schley, Bob Birmingham, and Dick Eisenmann. At that meeting Bill Schley was selected as “Presider” (the Club has no officers) and David Uihlein was named Honorary Chairman.
The intervening years have seen phenomenal growth – far beyond what the founders envisioned – with current membership now in excess of 320 and growing steadily.
Today meetings are held twice a year, in spring and fall. Membership is open to anyone who has raced, races currently, has a connection with auto racing, owns, collects or simply enjoys racing cars.
In 1992 meetings were held twice, in April and November, at the Hartland Inn. Ordering was off the menu, and the entire attendance of 12 was seated at a large table. March, 1995. It was held at Bartlett’s in New Berlin, and marked a turning point of sorts as over 40 enthusiasts turned out for a buffet dinner following a happy hour and bench racing. After dinner each member in turn introduced himself and told all about his introduction and participation in racing.
the ‘97 meeting took place in November, and 1998’s in October, both times at Bartlett’s with the member “show and tell” as the format.
October, 1999, saw a new venue. Members Gary Hawk and Bob Flemming, proprietors of the Delafield Brew Haus, opened their downstairs banquet room and bar to the Club. Member Tom Schultz provided the entertainment as he gave a presentation on the history of Road America, based on his recently published book on the same subject.
After a visit to Bartlett’s in October, 2000, the meeting returned to the Delafield Brew Haus in April, 2001. The spring format became a movie night, as racing films and videos, many home made, were screened after dinner, lasting until ?? A fall meeting at Bartlett’s established the current pattern of two meetings per year.
2002 had movie night at the Delafield Brew Haus in spring, but for the fall we met at the Brew City BBQ in downtown Milwaukee, This was an answer to the many east side and north shore members who requested a meeting in their neck of the woods in order to even out the distances driven. This did not pan out very well, as the room was only semi-private and the parking was atrocious.
April 2003 was movie night in Delafield, while in November another east side location was tried. This was at Joey’s a tavern with an upstairs room. Unfortunately, parking still was abysmal, and the room itself proved to be too small.
2004 provided a satisfactory pattern that lasted for several years. Our spring meeting continued to be movie night at the Delafield Brew Pub. However the fall meeting was held at the Alpine Village in Thiensville, where a large private room with bar and a large parking lot solved the problem. We now had regular meeting spots on both ends of town.
A movie night at the Delafield Brew Pub was our spring meeting in 2005, while in the fall, at the Alpine Village, we had a treat. Members Paul Roller and Dick Eisenmann had traveled to England the month before to take in the fabulous Goodwood Revival Meeting. After dinner they regaled us with tales of their adventures and the sights that they had seen.
April, 2006, was a memorable night at the Delafield Brew Haus. The Club had its first Members’ Car Show, which has become the spring feature. Every year a portion of the parking lot is roped off, and 30 or 40 cars are displayed. Over the years these have ranged from elderly MG and Jaguar cars to various Porsches and Alfas, Ford GT s, dirt track cars, Dick Eisenmann’s Cooper F-Jr, Bill Peter’s Ford Mk IV Le Mans racer, to --wait for it-- a 1960 Rambler, the property of Mike Kalashian. The entrants have varied year to year for this popular event. We also had a speaker after dinner, as award winning author Michael Argetsinger talked about his biography of the great Walt Hansgen.
In the fall, at the Alpine Village, another author, local historian Fred Egloff, gave us the history of the checkered flag.
The car show with movie night returned for the spring of 2007, while in the fall Paul Roller and Bob Flemming showed us a slide program about their visit to the Goodwood Revival Meeting.
May, 2008, was another car show and movie night at the Delafield Brew Haus. George Bruggenthies, President of Road America, talked to us about the latest improvements at the track, plus the schedule for 2008. At the Alpine Village in the fall, we had a presentation about motor oil, its variations and properties.
June, 2009, saw another popular members’ car show at the Brew Haus, while our featured speaker in the fall at the Alpine Village was Tom Stephani, of the Stephani family which owned Nickey Chevrolet in Chicago from the ‘50s through the early ‘80s. Tom told us all about the racing history of Nickey, which not only was extensive, but also very familiar to a good number of our members.
Both our meetings in 2010 were at the Delafield Brew Haus. The spring meeting once again was the members’ car show. But in the fall our Presider, Bill Schley, took the organization a big step forward with the importing of a paid speaker. Bill arranged the appearance of Robin Miller, noted race expert and reporter for Speed TV and Versus. Robin gave us his off the record, no holds barred opinions for a good 45 minutes, thoroughly entertaining the over 125 members present. True, the price of admission had to go up to cover the arrangements with Mr. Miller, but all agreed it was well worth it.
2011 is the same format. The spring Member’s Car Show, while somewhat down on numbers, nonetheless again featured a number of interesting vehicles. For our fall meeting, scheduled for October, will feature Bobby Rahal. No introduction necessary, and the meeting is a sell out.
(This history initially written by Tom MacArthur, updated by Tom Schultz, October 2011)
BUGATTI TYPE 57 (click on to enlarge)
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