The Association consists of 24 affiliated clubs dedicated to providing their members with a way of enjoying the most from the use of their vehicles and a chance to meet with other like-minded people.
The Association of Old Vehicle Clubs in Northern Ireland Limited was formed in 1973. The first event organised was the Belfast to Portrush Run which was an outstanding success with 70 pre-1939 vehicles taking part. Following on from this success was the Kirker Cavalcade in 1975 later renamed The Apple Blossom Run. In 1978 a third run was added known as The Mourne Run.
While quite a few people had "old" vehicles there was little or no opportunity to use these on the public roads and hence the reason for the AOVC being formed. Initially individuals joined as members but then as the popularity of these old vehicle events grew, numerous one marque and local clubs were formed each organising their own events. This in turn brought about an increase in the number of people owning old vehicles. Each Club now organises various events throughout the year and now it is the Club that is the member of the Association. Today there are 25 clubs in the Association catering for old motor cars, motor cycles, tractors and commercial vehicles. Each of these Clubs can nominate 3 of their members to attend AOVC meetings and they are the two way link between the Association and their Club. Some of the first Clubs to join the Association were MG Owners’ Club, Ulster Pre-War Austin Club, Newry & Mourne Classic Vehicle Club and Thirty Motor Cycle Club of Ulster.
Our role today in addition to continuing to organise the Spring, Summer and Autumn Runs each year is to give help and practical support and assistance to the member clubs to promote and run their own events many of which contribute to local charities. Vehicles registered on or before 31st D are eligible to enter AOVC Runs while each affiliated Clubs are free to decide on what age of vehicles are eligible for their individual Club events. Currently the Annual Fee all member Clubs pay to the AOVC covers just 60% of the running costs of the Association and thanks to the generous support from sponsors and members purchasing Raffle Tickets at our events we are able to make up the shortfall.
In 1997 we added an extra event with a trip to the Isle of Man. This was so successful we returned for a further two years and for a break went to The Doune Classic in Scotland in August 2000.
In 1999 we had discussions with our counterparts in the Republic, The Irish Veteran & Vintage Car Club (IVVCC) regarding a joint venture. These lead to the first joint event that year, run by the IVVCC at Cabra Castle in Country Cavan. This was a tremendous success and congratulations go to the IVVCC on the high standards set for this new event on our Calendar. In 2000 it was the turn of the AOVC to host this event which was held at the newly opened Holiday Inn in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal over the May Day week-end. This event was a great success with the event being held in Tullamore in 2001 and Armagh in 2002.
A major issue is the Public Liability Insurance required to organise an event. This can cost as much as £350 for a one day event, the Association has a block policy covering all our Clubs 365 days a year. This covers member Clubs for £10 Million Public Liability and loss or damage to Club Trophies, Awards etc. Many of our smaller clubs just simply could not exist today if they had to obtain a separate policy for each of their events. Today more and more Councils and public bodies will refuse permission for a club to hold or just start an event from their property without first furnishing an insurance policy for at least £10 Million of public liability cover.Where possible we highlight events held on the same date with the aim of avoiding clashes but with the old vehicle movement on the up and up some dates in the summer could see as many as seven different old vehicle events. These calendars are circulated freely to all AOVC Clubs and the motoring press as well as local councils etc.
Over the years we have been able to negotiate discounts for the members of our clubs from several firms.
Over the years our role has been recognised by various councils when organising their own events where old vehicles are required. This included help and advice to Newry & Mourne District Council for their Kilbroney 2000 Show which was the biggest old vehicle event in Ireland attracting over 1,300 old vehicles each year from as far away as Cork, England & Scotland. In 2006 £15,500 was distributed from this event to local charities. We also help and assist various other bodies and charities to run local events and generally put them in touch with the Secretary of one of our member Clubs.
We have backed the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) in their campaign to obtain and keep free road tax for old vehicles. With more and more restrictions being planned for old vehicles by the bureaucrats in Brussels it is reassuring to know that the FBHVC have full time officials based in Brussels to learn of impending legislation at the earliest stage and take appropriate action. We all have to realise that we no longer can take for granted our right to bring our old vehicles out on the public roads as and when we wish.
Today it is absolutely vital that we as a body stick together and help to ensure we continue with the Association’s aim - "the restoration and use of all old vehicles"
The Association is a Limited Company with Directors all providing their services voluntarily. These Directors are elected by all the Delegates from the member Clubs and they themselves are a Delegate for one of these Clubs.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason at all. Give us your comments and suggestions on this site; ask for assistance on how you or your club can become a part of our growing community or for further details of any upcoming events.
Some of the many clubs that make up our Association