In 1970 Marmon enthusiast Russell Stadt of Grand Rapids, Michigan was looking for some company and organized the Marmon Owners Club, sending out a newsletter to the few fellow Marmon-owners he knew of. Within two years, Russ had 186 members, but business pressures forced him to do other things, and the club languished.
In 1977 Leona Belote in Dunedin, Florida, decided that someone should get things going again, sent out a newsletter and organized a meet at Thomasville, Georgia. There were only four Marmons at this meet, (one of them the Belote’s famous 1932 8-125), but it was a beginning. Leona and Bruce R. Williams were the first two editors of the Marmon News and the annual directory. In the 1990s, former AACA president Ron Barnett took over as editor and won numerous awards for his work. After Ron passed away in 2008, Jeff Stumb assumed that role, and has ably filled it.
Duke Marston, one of the great students of Marmon Sixteens, took over as president from Leona Belote. As president, and later as secretary of the club, Duke undertook the task of locating all existing Sixteens, and began a registry that has been recently updated and expanded by Dyke Ridgley. George Bradley has taken on a similar project to help document all surviving Marmon-made cars, of which we now know of more than 650 (of the 110,000 made). The results appear annually in the registry portion of the membership directory.
Arlene Kleptz was instrumental in keeping the club going in the 1990s, first as president, and then as publicity chair and web mistress. Her husband, the late Chic Kleptz, with Arlene, are the owners of the largest collection of Marmon cars anywhere, and Chic was a fountain of knowledge on all models made by the company, which he freely shared with anyone who wanted to ask. Lou Iaccino, probably the world’s foremost expert on Marmon six-cylinder cars, has now assumed the role of our chief technical contact. Russ Rogers kept the club going and healthy as president in the early 2000s.
Starting in 1979, Marmon enthusiast Bruce R. Williams hosted a breakfast each year for Marmon people at the fall AACA Hershey meet. From this came the start of our annual muster. Bruce assumed the responsibility of organizing a large annual meet that would serve to encourage members to bring and drive their Marmons. (“Marmons are made for driving!”) The first such meeting of the club, which we call “Musters”, was held in Indianapolis in 1982, and attracted more than forty cars, in which members toured the area and were allowed to take a few laps of the Speedway. Bruce R. continued as “Muster Czar” for thirty years.
Only once since 1982 have we failed to hold the muster. We try to move them around so everyone has a chance to get to one every so often, but because most Marmons seem to be owned by residents of the mid-west, we often have the musters there. We held the best-attended muster ever in Indianapolis in 2011, in conjunction with the festivities for the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. Nearly 50 Marmon and Roosevelt cars were on hand.
Since this is a club by and for people who enjoy Marmon-made cars, the musters provide a regular venue for people of like minds to tour in their cars, and form close, long-term relationships with other owners. Haven’t seen one in your area? Offer to host one!