Four-Wheeled Veterans Welcomed Home With New Roles in Our Hobby
When it comes to the collector-vehicle market, military vehicles are not what first comes to mind. The notion of owning rides originally mass-produced to aid our armed forces becoming collector’s items may seem rather strange. Thinking for a moment about motorized equipment outside of the tracked tank, military vehicle styles include Jeeps, ambulances and emergency rescue vehicles as well as the beloved “Deuce and a Half” (2½-ton truck). Countless examples were manufactured by popular automakers such as the “Big 3,” whose iconic offerings are coveted to this day by brand loyalists.
Automobiles decommissioned by the U.S. government have captivated generations. Upon retirement from service, their ability to evoke national pride and serve as living history is undeniably powerful. These machines have been defined by most jurisdictions as vehicles manufactured by or under the direction of the U.S. Armed Forces for off-road use and later authorized for sale to civilians.
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Steve Moskowitz enjoys competing in vintage racing events each summer with his historic 1941 Olds Special. The shortened racer was built over a half century ago by Wes Foote. Second owner Nick Rizzo eventually replaced the tired original 6-cylinder engine and three-speed transmission with a 303 c.i. V8 from a 1952 Olds 98 backed by a 1963 Corvette 4-speed. He drove this unique machine to numerous hill climb wins, including the fastest time on the Keene Hill in 1964.
Antique aficionado Steve Moskowitz began his lifelong love affair with the automobile as a 13-year-old. Work in local body shops was found during his high school and college years. He studied at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, with the goal to become a teacher in auto mechanics. In the early 1970s, the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors hired him away to work as a district service manager in Chicago, Illinois. It was there that one of his dealer contacts introduced him to the world of antique cars. However, Steve eventually left the corporate world to go to work for one of his dealers. This led him to assume ownership of this same dealership which was an Oldsmobile-Honda franchise in Merrillville, Indiana. During his 30 years in Merrillville, he was president or chairman of a multitude of committees, charitable organizations and dealer ad groups for most of his career. Perhaps most notably, he was selected to the GM-Dealer Policy Board—the highest honor a dealer could receive.
Steve was tasked with the restoration of many cars owned by Oldsmobile Division. He’s subsequently shown them at automotive events throughout the country. Included among them are the restoration of the company’s 1911 Limited and a recreation of the Olds Pirate Race Car. At the same time, Steve began his personal restorations—all Oldsmobiles and heavily geared to brass-era and pre-war cars. His cars have won numerous national Awards with Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) and concours events in the Midwest. In his personal garage still sit cars from 1903 to 1975, including the 1941 Olds Special race car (pictured above) he actively campaigns in the summer at vintage races.
Upon the closing of the Oldsmobile Division, Steve was hired to be executive director of the 60,000-member AACA. It is a position that he has now held for almost 15 years. This new job also tasked his involvement with the AACA Library & Research Center which is very dear to his heart. During this time, he became a Senior Master Judge in AACA, was appointed to the National Awards Team and has appeared as a guest on national television shows related to the hobby. He has also championed the importance of the SEMA Action Network’s (SAN) cause. By including SAN-related articles and announcements in the AACA’s publications, the antique portion of the auto hobby continues to become more engaged with advocacy efforts nationwide.
Steve is a founding member of The Elegance at Hershey, a past judge at the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance, the Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance and he judges at the 8-10 AACA events across the country. He says he is deeply humbled to have been asked to be the honorary Chief Judge at the 2018 Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance.
The SAN forces everywhere are truly appreciative of your support for our mission, Steve. May you and the entire AACA family continue to find victory lane!
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