The Capitol Auto Club was started in 1945 by a group of Sacramento area "Hot Rodders". They held their first meeting in a chicken coop on Fulton Ave. which at that time was not even in the Sacramento city limits. This first meeting was to discuss forming a car club whose members would have a common interest in racing their Model T and Model A Fords at the Lazy "J" Speedway in Sacramento. This first get together was the beginning of their "Official" every two week meetings that have continued without a miss for 65 Plus years.
At the first club meeting, the official club name, "Capitol Auto Club" was decided, however there are 2 and sometimes 3 different stories about how they adopted their nickname, the "THUNDERBOLTS" or just "BOLTS". One story tells us that many of the founding members had just returned from military service in WWII, In fact the very first president had been a fighter pilot. History tells us that there was a military aircraft called the "Thunderbolt" and that name was discussed by the members. The second story deals with the flapping fenders and loose bolts that flew off those cars that raced at the numerous dirt speedways in the Sacramento area and how their disconnected exhaust sounded like thunder. The third story is that the club members could not make up their minds, when at an early meeting one of the members brought a picture of a newly designed and unveiled Detroit "Dream Car" called the "Thunderbolt". According to Norm Milne, the first president, that picture was the deciding factor in choosing the clubs nickname.
No matter how their nickname came about, the National Hot Rod Assoc. has declared the Capitol Auto Club Inc. as the oldest continuousely meeting "Hot Rod" club in the United States
Over the years the club has been involved in many different automotive events, from early racing to charity poker runs and in fact, they Founded and started the Sacramento Autorama.They also held the Grass Valley Rod Run for 26 years. They are currently getting ready to host their 11th annual Thunder in Depot Park car show in Rio Linda and hold their yearly awards banquet, family fun run and bachelor run events, plus attending numerous other events year long!
The club currently limits it's membership to 40. As of 2013, "3" of the current members have over 30 years of service with "2" of them having over 50 years! The membership lives all over the Sacramento Valley area and surrounding Foothills. Currently to be eligible for membership in the TBOLTS, a candidate must own a
1972 or older, Hot Rod, Street Rod, Custom, Street machine, Muscle Car or Altered Classic of AMerican originan or a non-American vehicle that has roots in American Hot Rodding history and is American Powered.
The July 2006 issue of Street Rodder magazine salutes the THUNDERBOLTS as the "Oldest continously meeting Hot Rod club in the Nation" with a 6 page feature article. It features pictures and facts about past and current members that have contributed to the club's 66 plus years of Excellence in Hot Rodding.
"THUNDERBOLTS" just talk to a current member.