It all began in March of 1962! A group of young men who were “hanging out” at The Pole Drive In. They all had a passion for cars and drag racing. They met at the Enco Service Station on West 16th street in Indianapolis, IN with the purpose of forming a car club.
Before the official club name “The Indy High-Winders” was selected, several names were considered. The names included “The Pacers”, which many years later would ironically become the name of Indiana’s American Basketball Associations (ABA) basketball team. Eventually the ABA merged with the NBA and the Pacers are still part of the Indiana basketball lore.
Common with most car clubs started in the 60’s the Indy Hi-Winders focused on drag racing. The club attended and participated in drag races at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP), Muncie Drag-way, Bunker Hill and Edgewater, Ohio drag strips. Attending “The Nationals” at IRP was one of the year’s highlights. For many years the Hi-Winders ran the Bunker Hill drag races approximately once a month during the racing season. This enabled the clubs treasury to grow.
By the late 60’s members had matured and priorities had changed. Marriage and children ensued and the club was undergoing transition. The club was wavering with only five or six members remaining active. The remaining active members met whenever and wherever they could, attempting to hold the club together.
On September 19, 1974 the car club strengthened and formed a not-for-profit corporation, The Indy Hi-Winders, Inc., in the state of Indiana.
In 1975 the Indy Hi-Winders became the host club for the “500 World of Wheels” Car Show. The club managed the show for thirty five years. All of the hard work and time that members donated allowed the club to grow financially. It was during this time that club membership grew and the clubs involvement in various other car shows was a part of their growing exposure.
The club organized the “National’s Poker Run” for 27 straight years through 2002. The event was scheduled to coincide with “The National’s Drag Races” that were held on Labor Day weekend at Indianapolis Raceway Park. The club was involved for many years with the “Super Chevy Show”, “Mopar Nationals”, “Good Guys at IRP” , NASCAR events at the “Brickyard 400” and various swap meets. The Indy Hi-Winders sponsored the “Bonneville World of Speed” 130 M.P.H. Club, from 2004 through 2006. The club was also involved with the “Newport Antique Auto Hill Climb” from 2004 through 2006. The Indy Hi-Winders finished second in class for the 2006 race.
The Indy Hi-Winders have also been involved with and assisted many community projects. The club contributed anatomically correct dolls to the Indianapolis & Speedway Police Departments to assist them in child abuse and molestation cases. Over the years the club has contributed time and money to Gleaners, Riley Children’s Hospital, The Indiana Diabetic Youth Foundation, The Soap Box Derby, Coburn Place and many other charities.
In the 80’s another of the club’s dreams became reality. A dramatic change occurred when property was acquired and a permanent clubhouse was built a few blocks from the famous Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Track. Over the years the clubhouse has become the home for weekly club meetings, entertainment and the ability to host other car clubs. The clubhouse is complete with central heating and air conditioning, men’s and ladies rest rooms and refrigeration. The clubhouse is also an Indy Hi-Winder museum. Over 50 years of memorabilia collected is on display for new and old members, along with guests.
The Indy Hi-Winders at one time limited its membership to thirty three members. This was done to coincide with the starting field of the Indianapolis 500 race. This rule was waived due to interest of potential new members and a growing number of second generation requests for membership.
We recognized our 50th year of being a viable car club during March of 2012. We celebrated with an open house on June 30th. We were proud to host a large number of hot rod enthusiast and their families throughout the day. It is our sincere wish that 50 years from now our younger members and others will be celebrating our 100 year centennial!
The year of 2017 is our 55th year as a car club. We started the year in February with a four car club display at the World of Wheels Car Show at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds. All four member cars won awards and many members enjoyed seeing old friends. One of our charter members, John Bacher, received a trophy from another car club. A Celebration of 55 Years is being planned for mid-summer. Hope to see you there.
Happy Hot Rodding From The Indy Hi-Winders!