Pinewood derby delights at AACA Library gathering

Gravity-powered competition picks up speed, already being anticipated for 2021 convention

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AACA members check out the more than 40 entries in the pinewood derby event | AACA Speedster photos

The recent AACA annual convention was held in Philadelphia and, for the first time, included a special pinewood derby race staged as a fund-raiser for the AACA Library. 

Some of the cars were crafted in advance, but some were pretty much built on the spot. There were more than 40 entries in a variety of shapes and colors.

Cars were raced down a grooved track

“To say the derby was a success would be an understatement,” the AACA reported in its monthly newsletter, the AACA Speedster.

“It’s already generated interest in the library hosting another race next year, with a number of spectators bent on making their own cars. Another region was also inspired to try this out at one of their own meetings. Given the overwhelmingly positive response, the derby will be back again for sure!”

First place winner on the track

We were so impressed by some of the entries that we’re sharing some of the race- and award-winning efforts here:

Elizabeth Coble not only won first place on the track, but an AACA lifetime membership for her “red needle.” Coble represented the Alamance Region of the AACA and donated the membership to the regional member who did the car’s design.

The runner-up on the track was a Harry Potter-themed wedge by Steve MacNish, who admitted his car was crafted by his grandson. Third went to Jack Harris, who in one round of the racing faced off against his wife, Audrey. 

“Amazingly,” the Speedster pointed out, “that round resulted in a solid tie and the peace was preserved.”

Among the award winners for vehicle styling were:

Most Realistic honors went to Jack Lesher, for this bright orange Volkswagen Beetle based on Lesher’s mother’s car
Best overall was Tracy Lesher’s version of the Ford Quadricycle, complete with a painted pattern on the seat cushion and bicycle-style wheels cleverly carved around the derby wheels so the car could make it down the track



A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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