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 250 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.
(This history initially written by Tom MacArthur, updated by Tom Schultz, October 2011)
BUGATTI TYPE 57 (click on image to enlarge)
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