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Beginnings
The old boys of the Manila Sports Car Club like to say that the club was founded in 1967 under the acacia trees of the University of the Philippines in Diliman.  They will tell you that the founders were Amado Castro, then Dean of the School of Economics of the University, Rolf Kleindienst, a Professor of Economics at the neighboring Ateneo University, and Andy Sta. Maria, a student whose academic future was generally considered dim due to the constant attention required by his Triumph TR4. Supposedly, they elected Castro first President of the Club, a responsibility he took so seriously that he has remained unmarried.   
  

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Bart Silayan and Rolf Kleindienst in the 1960s
  
There is, of course, some truth to that tale. Castro, Kleindienst , and Sta. Maria did meet with their sports cars at U.P. from about 1967, sometimes joined by student Pedro Syqui in his TR2 (Syquia's family used to assemble the sports car in the Philippines).  Their gatherings under the umbrella of the old trees of the campus set the tradition for meetings that were to follow many years later. 

Apart from MSCC, an enthusiastic MG T-series club also existed in the 1960s.  That club, of which Kleindienst was also a member, eventually contributed to MSCC such stalwarts as Bart Silayan and Ben Silvestre, whose MG TCs continue to attend club meets.  Due to, among other things, the departure of Castro, Kleindienst, and Sta. Maria for abroad, the sports car group at U.P., as well as the MG club, became inactive and remained dormant until the early 1980s. 
  

Reincarnation
The first meet of the club in its present reincarnation was held in 1982 at the home of Sta. Maria, who, contrary to popular expectation, did manage to get an education (and brought back a Lotus Elan to boot). Castro and Kleindienst were there, of course, together with their sports cars (TR4 and MG TD), as well as Ted Evora (Lotus Europa), Chuchi Iriarte (Honda S800), Nene Syquia and Anding Roces (both Michel TCs), Serge Naguiat (Jaguar XKE), and the late Jack Verano (Alfa  Romeo Duetto).  The club formally took on the name "Manila Sports Car Club" and the motto "Nil Desperandum." 
  

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Ramon Torres in his Morgan +8 at  a meeting on University of the Philippins grounds.
 
In the early years, MSCC met about three to four times a year, often at the homes of members, sometimes at restaurants such as the now gone Casa Marcos and Harry’s Grille, and occasionally farther afield at place, such as the Ayala Alabang polo grounds or the Pook Ligaya Horse Farms.  More often though, MSCC convened at its traditional haunts at the Ateneo and U.P. campuses in Diliman, where picnic baskets with wine, cheese, rice cakes, and home-baked goodies completed the picture. 

There were no real meetings in those days, simply shop talk and the constant scrutiny of sports cars.  Wary of the politics that pervaded and ruined Philippine auto clubs, MSCC adopted a rule that it would have no elections, no officers, and definitely no presidents.

MSCC's official club seal was designed by member Sonny Liwanag (Jaguar XKE).  It is based on the seal of the City of Manila and features the city's intramural walls, a sea-serpent lion holding a broken sword, and the club motto.

Based on the seal of the City of Manila, the MSCC official club seal features the city’s intramural walls, a sea-serpent lion holding a broken sword, and the consoling message in Latin, “ Do not despair.”   
  
PK Runs and Bow-tie Dinners
The club's two favorite events are the PK Runs and the Annual  Bow-Tie Dinner.  The PK Runs, which are out-of-Manila trips, are named after Penny Kleindienst, who in 1969 blithely agreed to her husband's suggestion to drive their MG TD from Manila to Munich, Germany.  Penny Kleindienst survived the trip and is of course still very much around, but the club's long-distance runs have been named after her to commemorate her spirit of adventure.  The PK Runs have taken sports cars to Angeles City, Pampanga, Tagaytay and, in 2003, to the northern-most tip of Luzon in an epic 1,000-km. run. One of MSCC's most memorable run was a two-day trip in 1996 to the seaside resorts of Puerto Azul and Caylabne Bay.  "It cannot get any better than this," Kleindienst commented during that run, which wound through scenic forest roads.  
  

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Lotus Elan, Lotus Eleven, Lancia Zagato at the Ateneo campus in the 1980s.
 
The Club's Annual Bow-Tie Dinner used to be held every year at the Nielsen Tower, a restaurant housed in a building that in prewar Manila served as the only airport.  Visitors would search for a skyscraper, only to find the historic building, with its two-storey control tower, dwarfed by the office buildings that have sprung up around it.  Nielsen Tower turned out for the event, serving cocktails at its inner lot, which was reserved strictly for sports cars.  Rolls Royces and Bentleys had to park outside.  Nielson Tower prepared a special menu for each dinner; they featured such delights as "Chapman Chowder," "Pollo Pinninfarina," and "Crepes Corvette."  Sports cars, bow-tie and jacket, and cocktail dresses for the ladies were de riguer.  

Sadly, Nielsen Tower closed in 1993.  The Bow-Tie Dinners are now held at Le Souffle at the Fort and, whenever there is a concours d' elegance, at the bayside gardens of The Westin Philippine Plaza.

MSCC meets regularly for breakfast on the first Sunday of each month at the Via Mare Cafe at the new Rockwell Center.  The Center closes one street to allow club parking, of course, for sports cars only.
 

The Club also organizes the only vintage racing series in the country and also hillclimbs, tarmac rallies, and other events geared specially for the sports car enthusiast.  It maintains the Vintage Sports Car Register, which catalogues the ownership and other details of vintage and historic sports cars in the Philippines.
 
Into the Future, Slowly...
The currency and import controls and high duties that were in place in the Philippines for a very long time ensured that only a few sports cars would trickle into  the country.  It is a wonder that MSCC has survived at all.  Since the 1990's, however, the environment in the Philippines has changed dramatically.  Currency and import controls were lifted, and industry protection schemes diminished.  At the 1996 Trans Sport Show, a historic event occurred.  Mazda introduced to the Philippine market the Miata.  For the first time since the 1950s, one could go to a showroom to buy a new sports car.  BMW followed suit immediately with the Z3, then Jaguar with the XK8, and now Porsches, Ferraris and Maseratis are available on dealer's floors.  
 
This has changed the complexion of the club.  More than half of attending cars at Club meets are now new models.  To keep up with over 150 members and a register that now includes more than 400 sports cars, ranging from a Morgan 3-wheeler to a Lamborghini Diablo, MSCC appointed a professional club secretariat in 1994.  Trade Show International's  Sophie delos Santos, the Club Secretary, now oversees the club's administration and finances.    
  

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MG T series sports cars at a breakfast meet Racks, Ortigas Center.
 
Grudgingly, MSCC has had to appoint officers to oversee the Club's many activities, but in keeping with tradition, all positions are temporary and revocable at any time.  When out-going MSCC head Andy Sta. Maria handed over a copper-faced knock-off hammer - the club's symbol of authority - to Nene Syquia at the 1998 Bow-Tie Dinner, Nene Syquia assumed the position for the standard 14-year term.  However, as with his predecessors, his title will be simply "Acting Chair."  

   
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