The history of the Royal Automobile Club of Jordan over the last 60 years almost parallels Jordan’s glorious development journey.
Ever since his accession to the throne in 1952, His Majesty the late King Hussein I had a great vision, which he believed in so passionately, that Jordan would be at the forefront of all developing countries. The Royal Automobile Club of Jordan was one of the many manifestations of His Majesty's vision becoming a reality through a group of young dedicated Jordanians who undertook the task of fulfilling that vision.
The Club came into existence in 1953 and soon was able to align itself with famous international automobile, tourism and transport federations such as FIA, AIT, FIVA and IRU.
Shortly thereafter, the Club was also able to hold some limited motor sports and social activities. In 1955 His Majesty the late King Hussein I honored the Club with his royal patronage, which gave it the strong backing and progressive outlook it rightfully deserved. Amongst those members who had the honor of participating in establishing the Club and who played a role in its administration right from its start in 1953 and until 1963 are: Anwar Nuseibeh; Farid Al-Sa’ad; Tawfiq Kattan; Patrick Koghil; Zakaria Al-Taher; Abdul-Mu’ti Al-Qutub; Michel Nazzal; Saba Akasheh; Emil Qubeisi; Hisham Nuseibeh; Jawdat Sha’sha'h; Tawfiq Tabbaa; Rifa’t Asfour; Charles Hakeem; Adnan Sha'lan; Ma'moun Toukan; Zuhair Asfour; Mazhar Nabulsi; Bander Tabbaa'; Kamal Asfour; Hani Hakki; Abdul-Ghani Abu-Qurah; Adel Nouri; Hamdi Tabbaa; and myself, Walid Asfour.
In 1961, I had the honor of serving on the Board of Directors of the Club. At the time, the Club was located in a small house in Jabal Al-Weibdeh. It was run by one employee, who worked on a part-time basis and one assistant. The Club was suffering from a difficult financial situation because of the small number of members and the consequent limited sources of income. Yet, I was convinced that the Club had great potential and that it would be a very special establishment if managed efficiently.
The year 1965 was a turning point in the history of the Club. It witnessed the dramatic race against time to portray the Club in its new image in readiness for its promising future. A challenging plan was put in place to achieve the vision of His Majesty King Hussein I. Under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdalla II, now the RACJ is a glorious long way away from its humble beginnings and continues on its march of excellence to fulfill the vision and dream of its founders and successive boards of trustees and directors.
The first stage of the current premises was finished by the year 1969 and had been financed by bank loans with personal guarantees from members of the Board of Directors who had made a solemn promise that the Club would be worthy of the royal care and attention it had been given. His Majesty the late King Hussein I made me personally responsible for the Club in 1980 and urged me, as president, to present it in the best light. His Majesty emphasized that I was representing him in all that concerns the well being of the Club and asked me to serve as custodian of the Club's land and to make sure that no part of it should be sold or dispensed with and that I could always go back to him for any support needed. That confidence was such an enormous responsibility and was to become so deeply rooted in my heart and mind as well in the hearts and minds of all members of the board of trustees and directors.
When he was a youngster His Majesty King Abdullah II used to visit the Club and enjoy its activities and later as an adult he participated in motor sports. His Majesty had a particular interest in encouraging motor sports events and fans. He continues to be extremely eager to have the Club succeed and prosper. I was honored to have had an audience with His Majesty, receiving his gracious guidance and blessing. His Majesty continues to extend his patronage, care and attention to the Club, and as a result of its motor sporting activities, Jordan was added to the list of the World Rally Championship in 2008. His Majesty assigned the responsibility of promoting Jordan motor sports to world standards to his brother, His Royal Highness Prince Faisal.
Now that more than 60 years have passed since the Royal Automobile Club of Jordan was established, I would like to record with gratitude the achievements of those members who gave unfaltering support to the club. Amongst those are:
Ma'an Abu-Nuwar; Ma’moun Toukan; Bandar Tabbaa’; Hani Hakki; Walter Gardner; Ghaleb Barakat; Mohammad Sa’ed Nabulsi; Adnan Mufti; Hamdi Tabbaa’; Mohammad Asfour; Ziyad Enab; Sa’ad Tal; Vahi Ghiziryan; Nu’man Asfour; Shahan Panosian; Jack Khayyat; Isam Budier; Mithal Al-Amin; Dauod Hanania and others who are not mentioned here.
The Royal Automobile Club of Jordan is now a prominent landmark amongst other similar clubs basking in the continuous royal patronage it is privileged to receive and the dedication and loyalty of its members.
I would also like to thank all members of the Club, members of the boards of trustees and directors, management, staff and all employees who contributed over the years to make the Club what it is now.Walid Asfour